When the University Club of Santa Barbara closed its doors on March 16 because of the coronavirus pandemic, one of the first things Sarah Rudd, general manager, and Chef David Rosner did was discuss how they could help members while they sheltered in place.
Two days later, they implemented To-Go Meals to provide takeout lunches and dinners at the club, which is located at 1332 Santa Barbara St. Meals are picked up from noon to 1 p.m. and 5 to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Friday.
Stressing that the service is for club members only, Mrs. Rudd said, “They can drive into our parking lot, and I will place their orders in the trunk of their car or the back seat while I am wearing a mask and gloves. They never have to leave their vehicles.
“This is strictly a pickup for to-go orders only. Members are not allowed to hang out or linger at the club, which is strictly and firmly closed for all in-person interactions or use.”
The meals are prepared by Chef Rosner and sous chef Tomas Hernandez.
Weekly “To-Go Menus” are emailed in advance to the members, who can select from prix fixe dinners or a la carte menus.
The dinners all cost the same price of $12.95. On a recent menu, members were given a choice of Herb Citrus Chicken, Grilled Flat Iron Steak with Truffle Herb Butter, Red Wine Braised Beef and Turkey Lasagna for an entree and a choice of two sides that included Heirloom Carrots, Polenta with Mushrooms, Potatoes au Gratin and Wild Rice.
The a la carte menu includes soups like Minestrone, Roasted Beet, Mushroom and Saffron Cauliflower ($6 small and $11 large); mixed green salad for $5 and fruit for $4; and chocolate cake or strawberry cheesecake for $6.
“Vegetarian (V) and Gluten Free (GF) options are marked after each item,” said Mrs. Rudd. “Select bottles of wine are also available for purchase. Members indicate their preference when they email their orders, and we check our stock and the price.”
In response to requests from members, a new component was recently added to the service. Grocery items like milk, butter, eggs, soups, bread, vegetables and desserts can also be loaded into their vehicles.
“There are more than 60 items on the list,” said Mrs. Rudd. “We’re delighted to do it because it means that they won’t have to do their shopping in a market. We want to do everything we can to promote shelter in place.”
Among those taking advantage of the club’s To-Go Meals and grocery shopping are Scott and Lisa Burns.
“I’m grateful that the University Club has been able to help us and others as we live through this pandemic. It was very creative in coming up with this solution,” said Mr. Burns.
Added his wife, “Scott has a kidney transplant and stressed immune system so we are very cautious about social contact. We just pull up in the club’s driveway, and Sarah, wearing a mask and gloves, brings out a bag and places it in back of our car.”
Lacy L. Taylor said, “Every week our family looks forward to having a delicious dinner prepared by the University Club’s amazing chef while still maintaining safe social distances. It’s also been so wonderful being able to purchase such things as eggs, flour, and bread — items the grocery stores have been routinely out of these past few weeks.”
“Our family appreciates having the great cuisine from the club’s world-class chef. It gives us a sense of continuity with our normal enjoyment of the club,” said Steve Sereboff.
A Santa Barbara Tradition:
History of the University Club of Santa Barbara
In 1919, a group of 11 men, each representing a different alma mater, formed the University Club of Santa Barbara as a place to meet, enjoy a good meal, discuss the news of the day, shoot a game of billiards or play a game of bridge.
They originally rented a small house on Micheltorena Street in downtown Santa Barbara but with a growing membership, quickly found the need for more space.
In 1923, the founders got together and purchased the current location at the corner of Santa Barbara and Sola streets. It cost $30,000 and was then called “Calkin’s Castle,” a private estate built in 1880 for James W. Calkins.
Formal opening of the club took place on March 10, 1923.
Originally for men only, the club offered “bachelor rooms” upstairs (now staff and member offices), which rented for $80 a month, including three meals a day.
Today, the club’s membership, which includes women, carries on the tradition of good food and great company for business and social occasions. Generations of families pass through its doors.