Friday, March 30, 2012

Eat’n Park gives out free Smiley Cookies to TPlus commuters

Here at Eat’n Park we are always trying to put a smile on someone’s face...which is why we were super excited to be a part of the new TPlus opening in Gateway Center on Monday!

Team Smiley was there bright and early to help kick off the first day of rush hour traffic on the TPlus by handing out free coffee and black & gold mini Smiley Cookies! What a great way to start the day. Seriously – have you ever dunked an Eat’n Park Smiley Cookie in coffee? It’s heaven!

Here are a few photos of the newest addition to Pittsburgh's public transit system:

A mural by Romare Bearden livens up the station walls

The new TPlus on its maiden voyage
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Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Farm Tour 2012: Spring Visit to Yarnick's

Here comes spring…

It’s that time of year in which I venture out to meet with our farmers to talk about the upcoming growing season. This is one of my favorite parts of my job, and I so apprieciate these conversations. And trust me, I learn something new each and every visit.

These visits are vital to the farmers as well as the success of our FarmSource program. In addition to discussing how much we need these farmers to produce, we also talk about new items they can grow for us.

It’s amazing how far these farmers have taken us. We’ve nearly doubled our local purchases in the last few years, from $13 million in local foods in 2008 to nearly $23 million in 2011. Our farmers are the ones to credit for the increase; these guys are always looking for ways to better their operations. This is a fact that was highlighted during my recent visit to Yarnick’s Farm in Indiana, PA.

Yarnick's Farm in Indiana, PA

Dan Yarnick has been examining the efficiency of his packing process, and he believes that he can save time by reconsidering the type of box he’s been using to pack his produce. The box he used last year required someone to construct the box. The new box he’s considering is a time saver because it’s already folded; someone just needs to hold it by the corners and voila! – you have a box. Sometimes the smallest of changes can make a big difference in efficiency.

When I got to the Yarnick’s I was greeted by Dan; Lynette, his wife; and Joey, his son. To my delight, just outside of their office is a small kitchen where Dan’s sister Betty was manning the stove. She was making a traditional Polish lunch; homemade pierogies, pork chops, creamed corn, and for dessert, white cake with coconut icing. As I was eating the pierogies I knew something was familiar. I got to talking to Betty and she uses the same secret ingredient in her dough, which is sour cream. The only difference is that they serve their pierogies with light whipping cream, which is actually not bad. Thanks Betty for a great lunch!

After lunch we toured the Yarnick’s greenhouses. Our first stop was the seedling greenhouse. These seedlings will be transplanted to the fields next month. This particular greenhouse had sweet onions and cabbage. The Yarnicks also grow some of their tomatoes in the greenhouse so they can be first to market, but the majority of them are grown outside.

Dan shows me the seedling greenhouse
Joey at work

As we walked through the last greenhouse, I chatted with Joey about the proper spacing of the plants. Some of the greenhouses have very short sides, and Joey explained that you’ll never see tomatoes along the sides; due to their height, they need go down the center. Instead, radishes and beans are planted along the sides since they have a shorter growth habit. And that’s how you make use of all available space in a greenhouse! Like I said, every visit I end up learning something.

Those tomatoes are looking good!

Before I left, Dan handed me box filled with his greenhouse tomatoes and polka CD. Yes - local tomatoes on the 29th of February - and they were delicious. Obviously we would love to have these locally raised tomatoes at Eat’n Park throughout the year, but it’s just not quite feasible to make it happen. At least not yet! We will, however, have them available this summer as soon as the outdoor crop ripens up.

Like I said, he gave me a polka CD as well, I really don’t listen to polka, but since he was one of the accordion players I felt I should at least give it a listen and believe it or not, it’s actually pretty good. Dan never ceases to surprise me.

Greenhouse tomatoes from Dan

Spring is a favorite time for me; not only do I enjoy my farmer visits, but I also look forward to the planting of my own garden. How about you? Have you broken out the gardening gloves already?

Have a happy spring, and be sure to stop back to check out my next farm visit to Brenckle’s in Pittsburgh.


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Partner Spotlight of the Month: Big Brothers Big Sisters

Every month here on our blog, we'll be highlighting one of our non-profit partnerships. This month, learn a little more about Big Brothers Big Sisters.


For more than 100 years, Big Brothers Big Sisters has been impacting the lives of children by teaching kids that they can achieve success in life, regardless of the adversity they face. In 1904, founder Ernest Coulter realized that there are many caring adults who could help guide kids and keep them out of trouble, as well as provide the attention and mentorship they needed.

This is still the foundation of the Big Brothers Big Sisters program today. Thousands of volunteers dedicate their time and energy every year to being a positive influence for a child in their area. Children achieve educational success, learn to avoid risky behaviors, and feel greater confidence to reach their aspirations. These impactful relationships between child and mentor have proven to be life-changing for both people.

Eat’n Park is proud to support our local chapters of Big Brothers Big Sisters through in-kind donations and event sponsorships every year. Every child deserves a chance to be successful and we are grateful for those that volunteer to mentor and guide a child to their fullest potential.

If you’d like more information on Big Brothers Big Sisters or would like to volunteer, check out their website: http://www.bbbs.org/.

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Monday, March 26, 2012

Burton Morris Smiley Merchandise Sale!

Have you heard? All Burton Morris Smiley Merchandise is now 50% off.
Plus, here’s a $2 off coupon!

Coupon valid through April 14, 2012. Must be printed to be redeemed.

Burton Morris Smiley Merchandise was part of Smiley’s 25th birthday when world renowned artist, Burton Morris, created his own version of our famous Smiley Cookie. Now that Smiley is almost 26, it’s time to make room for new merchandise.

Choose from Burton Morris Smiley travel mugs, magnets, stickers and ceramic mugs. Go ahead, stock up for Easter Baskets, or dare we say stocking stuffers?! But act fast – these items won’t stay on shelves for long!

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Friday, March 16, 2012

Winner of our "Pets Make Us Smile" Contest

Hail Caesar! The winner of our "Pets Make Us Smile" contest is Caesar, barely edging out Linus and our other finalists for the victory. Congratulations to Caesar and his human, Shirley S. of Terra Alta, WV!

Many thanks to all of our participants. You and your pets truly did make us smile!


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Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Eat'n Park "Pets Make Us Smile" Finalists


Molly, the playful pooch in our latest takeout commercials, has been stealing the show here at Eat'n Park.  So, we asked, "Who's stealing the show in your household?"  We were overwhelmed by adorable pets of all shapes and sizes, but out of all of those submissions, we narrowed the field down to a dozen. 

Now it's your turn - help us crown a winner! Take a look at our finalists below, then go here to vote on your favorite: http://bit.ly/ENPpets.  We'll announce the winner on Friday, March 16.

Warning: Massive cuteness ahead!


Bentley


From his human: "Bentley always tries to steal the show in our house! Whenever we're getting ready to go in the car, including when we're going to get Eat'n Park for dinner, he thinks he should come too & waits expectantly at the door. In this picture, he thought he was going with us and just happened to step right into my husband's shoes, as if he were one of the humans! 
 
Izzy


From her human: "Izzy is a two year old basenji. I rescued her when she was six weeks old. She loves chewing anything and everything. She also enjoys smiley cookies!" 
 
Zeke

From his human: "I couldn't believe Zeke stayed in place while I ran to get my camera for this shot. He remained perfectly balanced on the antique milk jug filled with antique Christmas ornaments while I snapped away. What a pretty boy!"

Mushka

From her human: "We adopted Mushka from the Humane Society 2 years ago. We went to the Home Show and she was there with the Humane Society. She entered our hearts and we couldn't walk away without adopting her. She is the most easy going and cuddly dog I have ever owned and gets along with our other dog Lola Bean (who is in the background of the photo). She likes to lay on the pool deck when we are swimming and as you can see thinks she is a star!"

Happy

From his human: "Happy is just that - always Happy! Particularly when he's enjoying the outdoors or playing with little ones. Happy also has a refined taste in food - no potatoes for this dog! The intelligent canine that he is, he knows better! He prefers eggs with cheese, pasta sauce, and restaurant-breaded chicken."

B.B.

From her human: "Silly BB is always doing something to make me laugh! In this photo, she has discovered that she can reach her tail around the railing. She's quite an athlete, catching toy mice in midair with her claws, & racing like a wildcat up & down the hallway."

Max

From his human: "Along with his smiley cookie, Max enjoys drinking some coffee! Every morning, he repeatedly dunks his paw into my cup of black coffee and licks it clean!"

Linus

From his human: "It was fate when my husband and I went to the Western PA Humane Society on April 22, 2010. We went there to possibly bring home one dog we had seen on their website, but Linus captured our hearts....the rest is history! Since we adopted Linus, he has become a certified therapy dog and makes bimonthly visits to the Cedars of Monroeville Senior Living facility. Don't let his therapy dog status fool you! Linus has found himself in quite a bit of trouble on numerous occasions, usually involving letting his nose for people food leading him there. Linus was able to independently figure out how to use the bar stools under our kitchen counter as a way to get to food on the counter as well as on top of the fridge....yes, Linus even figured out how to get food down from the top of our fridge! Linus has brought so much joy and laughter into our lives. Sometimes I think it was Linus who rescued us and not vice versa!"

Rags

From his human: "Our cat, Rags, definitely lives on his own terms. As you can see, we can't even enjoy a cup of coffee and read the Sunday paper! He never ceases to make us laugh...if he's not trying to read the paper himself, he's darting out from behind a door in order to scare our two large dogs! And he usually does!"

Scrappy

From his human: "This is a picture of my 3 year old Pomeranian in a child's swing. It seemed like a good idea to see if he wanted to swing, and it turns out that he loved it! But that isn't the only thing that makes Scrappy happy, contrary to his name, he always seems to have a permeant smile on his face. He is just one happy dog! Scrappy makes me Smile!"

 Addie & Bella

From their human: "Miss Addie and Bella Bunny always got along so well and it made it smile, especially since everyone told me not to adopt a bunny with such a large dog."

Caesar

From his human: "My husband was a volunteer fireman for 50 years. Here Caesar wanted to carry on the family tradition!"

Don't forget to go here to vote for your favorite! http://bit.ly/ENPpets

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Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Coupon for 20% off takeout at Eat'n Park!

No time to cook? Eat'n Park is great for takeout! Print this coupon for 20% off your next takeout order.


Expires March 18, 2012. Must be printed to be redeemed.

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Friday, March 2, 2012

Meet Molly – the star of our newest takeout commercial!

Have you seen our new takeout commercial? It seems as though Molly, the dog, is stealing the spotlight!


So, we thought it was only fitting for you to meet Molly, who’s quickly becoming our newest star!


Molly is a two-year-old beagle/collie mix. Her human parents, Amanda and Joe, adopted her from Action for Animals in Latrobe. Molly was destined for stardom, with her puppy dog eyes and adorable spots.

She spends her days snuggling under blankets and watching TV with her parents, as well as taunting (or playing!) with her best friend, Mosby, the cat. She also loves going for car rides – to Eat’n Park of course! She’ll even bark for a Smiley Cookie – we’ve seen her do it!

But enough about Molly…we want to know what four-legged star steals the spotlight in your household! Send us a photo of your furry (or not-so-furry) pal for a chance to win a $250 Eat’n Park gift card.

You can submit your photos for our Pets Make Us Smile contest from now through March 13, 2012. We’ll announce our finalists that week, then our fans will vote on a winner. Click here to enter now!

And if your canine pal is riding along the next time you're picking up takeout from one of our pickup windows, don't forget to ask for a free doggie biscuit!

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