Our dining partnership with Aramark has allowed us to improve the quality and nutritional value of our food options and to make more than $40 million in dining facility improvements across the campus over the past two years. We also passed savings along to our students through this partnership, as the average cost of a meal plan went down after initiating the contract with Aramark in July 2014.


Updates for the 2016-2017 Academic Year

Steak and Shake, a counter-serve chain known for steak burgers and milkshakes, as well as a Wildcat Pantry opened in Holmes Hall. An additional Wildcat Pantry Express will open in Patterson Hall.

The Steak and Shake and Wildcat Pantry in Holmes Hall are open late to provide a more flexible campus dining experience. 

Brioche Doree, “the urban bakery built on the simple promise to offer traditional French products of exceptional quality and freshness in a quick-service setting” opened in the Gatton College of Business and Economics.

The new Jacobs Science Building features a Wildcat Pantry Express and Freshii, a health-minded brand, offering freshly prepared salads, soups, burritos and more.  


Local Food

As the University for Kentucky, our work is deeply rooted in a sense of community and in a spirit of partnership. That’s why as a part of 15-year contract with our dining partner; we’ve expanded our commitment to locally sourced food and organizations.  

In the first year of the institution’s dining contract, not including beverages, we have increased local food purchases by approximately 20 percent. We will increase those purchases throughout the life of the contract, and we’ve built the infrastructure to do so. We are the only university in America with global food partner who has made a multimillion-dollar commitment to growing the local food economy.

We will continue to partner with local and Kentucky Proud companies to provide healthy and affordable dining options to all the members of our UK community.



The Food Connection

The UK Food Connection, is an institute funded with a $5 million investment from Aramark to promote the study of Kentucky food in partnership with the College of Agriculture, Food and Environment. The partnership is designed to leverage the innovation and research of UK and the market position of Aramark to substantively grow a vibrant food economy in Kentucky.

Partnering closely with the Kentucky Department of Agriculture, Kentucky farmers, community partners and consumers, the Food Connection at UK aims to enhance the production, distribution and consumption of local and Kentucky Proud food products.

Details of The Food Connection include:

  • A faculty director and executive director to guide and implement programming, such as an annual Kentucky food summit and youth educational programming
  • Funding internships and fellowships in food innovation, dietetics and wellness at the undergraduate and graduate levels
  • Funding food innovation seed grants for faculty research on innovation in food and nutrition efforts as part of larger initiatives to grow a vibrant food economy in the Commonwealth
  • Sustaining and expanding collaborations with the UK Butcher Shop, Lemon Tree Restaurant and Food Systems Innovation Center as well as existing undergraduate majors in food and nutrition

The Food Connection is located in The 90. 

The 90

The 90 is a $32 million academic support and dining facility on south campus, funded by the dining public-private partnership with Aramark.

Every facet of this building was envisioned and planned with students in mind. It is home to innovative classrooms for Living and Learning Programs (LLPs), offices for the LLP’s and many other student support spaces.

The dining component of this new facility further strengthens UK’s promise to provide healthier food at lower cost to students, improve service, and enhance our commitment to locally sourced food. It also strengthens UK’s promise to the community. The 90 provides the best practices in sustainable food service operation, making it a model for sustainability that other facilities can follow.

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A campus tradition since 1961, K-Lair closed its doors in May 2013, as part of the construction of the new Haggin Hall. In fall 2014, the campus favorite returned at nearly three times the size, with 6,000 square feet of dining space and 230 total seats.

A comfortable environment for students to study and eat, the facility also boasts 16 televisions including a nine-TV media wall that can display nine different channels. The facility opens up to a courtyard with exterior seating, while seating variety inside K-Lair includes bar height, booth and traditional soft and hard seats.

The new design of K-Lair reflects its long legacy as a Wildcat eatery. Ties to the past include rustic reclaimed wood from a tobacco barn located in Winchester, Kentucky, and the original K-Lair sign, which has been restored. It incorporates modern aspects as well, with sustainable materials, 14-foot ceilings and a more robust kitchen. The menu also features Kentucky Proud products.

Learn more about UK Dining.