Saturday, January 1, 2011

Eat’n Park Restaurants and the history of the Smiley Cookie

On June 6, 1949, we opened our first restaurant - a tiny, two-tone yellow, 13-seat building in Pittsburgh’s suburban South Hills - and sent 10 smiling carhops to serve customers right in their cars. In the sixty years since then, we’ve grown to more than 70 full-service locations in Pennsylvania, Ohio, and West Virginia. Along the way, we’ve become known as “The Place for Smiles.” Why? Well, there’s a story behind that. And that story starts with a little boy in Titusville, Pennsylvania.

Growing up, Jim Broadhurst (now the Chairman here at Eat’n Park) would pass a small local bakery every day on his way to and from school. And every day, Jim would purchase a cookie – iced with a happy, smiling face – for five cents from that local shop, Warner’s Bakery.

Turns out that those happy memories stuck with Jim, as happy memories often do. When Jim joined Eat’n Park and oversaw the opening of our first bakery in 1986, he wanted a way to share the sweet experience that he remembered from his own childhood. So, with the blessing of Ellsworth Warner at Warner’s Bakery, Eat’n Park began baking Smiley Cookies to give to every child for free after their meal.

The story doesn’t end there. Smiley Cookies were so loved by children of ALL ages that we eventually began offering them for sale by the dozen – though of course, they’re still free for every child who dines at Eat’n Park!

The Smiley Cookie has come to be our company’s most recognizable brand icon – a sweet, smiling treat that takes us all back to the simpler days of childhood. Though we now have Smiley Cookies in virtually every shape and color combination, one thing that remains the same is the cookie’s signature smile.


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