New student center dedication to feature old recipe, free burgers

Thursday, October 21, 2010 | 6:12 p.m. CDT; updated 10:49 p.m. CDT, Thursday, October 21, 2010
Juniors Joe Ruggieri, 22, and Adrian Rodgers, 21, check out the new section of the student center on Thursday.

COLUMBIA – Shackburgers are back.

MU's new student center will serve up these once-popular sliders with the original Shack sauce on Friday as part of the student center dedication.

The Shack was an old campus bar and burger joint that used to be a favorite hangout for MU students, including Mort Walker, the creator of the comic strip "Beetle Bailey." It inspired Mort's Grill, an eatery opening at the student center. 

Mort's Grill and an attached lounge were open for students to view for the first time Thursday. Students trickled in throughout the afternoon, including senior Kevin O'Connor, who said he thought it would be a popular hangout when the pool tables are brought in.

Behind the scenes, everyone was bustling for the big day. 

Michelle Froese, spokeswoman for Student Auxiliary Services, fielded students' questions as she put the final touches on displays of "Beetle Bailey" memorabilia. In the kitchen, a batch of Shack sauce waited in cold storage for its prime time, as workers tested a steak recipe and made other preparations for Friday's festivities.

On Friday, the first 1,600 students who drop by between 11:30 a.m. and 1 p.m. will be able to grab a free Shackburger or pulled pork sandwich. The accompanying Shack sauce will be based on an old recipe.

Shack sauce was created by Mary Blakemore, a manager of the old Shack, said longtime Shack owner Joe Franke. It was a tomato-based sauce similar to ketchup  but with celery seed, dry mustard and a few other ingredients that gave it kick.

Blakemore passed the recipe onto Franke, and he in turn gave it to the university.

Now it's in the hands of Alan Petersen, MU student center dining manager, whose chefs whipped up a batch on Wednesday for the Friday barbecue.

"It's a little sweet, a little salty," Petersen said. "You really just have to taste it."

After the Shackburgers are served, the festivities will continue with a lounge dedication at 1:30 p.m., time capsule dedication at 2:30 p.m. and student center dedication at 3 p.m. 

Mort Walker will hold a book signing at 5 p.m.

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