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Thursday, November 20, 2008

Black Friday at Eat'n Park

For many of you, “Black Friday” probably jump starts your holiday shopping. So, you won’t be surprised to know that that day is really busy for our restaurants. After all, shoppers need fuel in the midst of searching for great deals. Did you know that almost one-third of Black Friday shoppers hit their first shopping destination before 6 am? No wonder people are so hungry for a good breakfast!

To be ready for those of you who are at the mall before dawn, we’re opening our doors early, between 4-6 am, at most of locations located in or near shopping centers. We’re also featuring a Shoppers’ Buffet until mid-morning at most of those locations. It’s a great way to get in, get a great meal, and get back to shopping. Just click here to find out if the Shoppers’ Buffet is being offered at a location near you.

And just to show you how hungry people are on the biggest shopping day of the year, here’s a sample of what we served at Eat’n Park last year on Black Friday:
  • More than 70,000 eggs (3 times more than a typical Friday)
  • 16,000 cups of coffee and 2,500 lattes
  • More than 14,000 breakfast buffets
In addition, we have another reason to be excited about Black Friday this year: Smiley Merchandise. All of our restaurants now carry Smiley-branded gift items like coffee mugs, shoe charms, and Sarris Smiley chocolates. We’ve even stocked some of our locations with apparel, like our new sweatshirts featuring our beloved Christmas Star commercial. The apparel is only available in a few locations right now, but it’s available near many major shopping areas around Pittsburgh, including our locations in Grove City, Cranberry Twp., Robinson Twp., Monroeville, Uniontown, North Huntingdon, Center Twp., and McKnight Rd.
We think these items will make great gifts and stocking stuffers, so hopefully we can save you some time by being a one-stop-shop for not only a good meal, but also for special holiday gifts. We just hope we don’t sell out too quickly! Of course, if that does happen, you can find most of our items in our online store.
Happy Shopping! Share

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Keep Your Thanksgiving From Going Fowl

Family and food have always been the cornerstone of my Thanksgiving celebrations, and I am sure it is the same with you. My family has a great tradition. Each year I plan a themed menu. I put together an entire meal of recipes using the theme in every course. The recipes are divided up amongst my siblings, and on Thanksgiving we gather at my home and share our creations. One year, the theme was apples and another it was root vegetables. This year’s theme is Italian American. This tradition of themed menus has kept my family’s Thanksgivings interesting year after year, so I thought I’d share the idea with you.

However, none of these celebrations would have been much fun if, because of unsafe food handling, we all got sick. So, here are some food safety tips you can follow to help you make the most of this holiday season:

  • Thaw the frozen turkey in the refrigerator. Allow one day for each five pounds of turkey. A twenty-pound turkey will take about four days to thaw. Hint: Remove neck & giblets from inside the bird as soon as possible to hasten thawing.
  • Do not let any juices from the turkey come into contact with any other food.
  • Wash your hands with hot, soapy water before and after handling raw poultry.
  • Wash all knives, cutting boards and utensils also after using for raw poultry.
  • Cook fresh turkeys within two days, thawed ones within four days.
  • Never slow-cook poultry overnight.
  • Use a meat thermometer that is set for an internal temperature of 165°. Remove the turkey from the oven and allow it to “rest” for 20 minutes before slicing.
  • If you are traveling with food, keep hot foods hot and cold foods cold. Wrap hot foods in foil and heavy towels to keep it above 140°. Keep cold food in a cooler with ice packs to maintain 40° or below.
  • Promptly refrigerate leftovers in shallow platters instead of one large container. Remove the turkey from the bone to help it cool quicker.
  • Reheat any leftovers to an internal temperature of 165°. Gravy should be brought to a rolling boil.
  • Be sure to use up your leftovers within four days.
If you have any questions about food safety or need more details about my tips, just leave a note on the blog and I’ll get back to you.

I would like to wish you all a Happy Thanksgiving and remind you that Eat’n Park is closed Thanksgiving Day. But, all of our locations will be open bright and early Friday morning so we can all grab breakfast before hitting those sales!

Until next time,


Monday, November 10, 2008

Caring for Kids Campaign – Impacting lives close to home

‘Tis the season for our annual Caring for Kids Campaign. This is our 30th year raising money for children’s hospitals, and with the help of our team members and guests, we want to make it the best yet! Since the inception of the campaign, we’ve raised almost $7 million - that’s pretty amazing. This fundraising campaign benefits 13 children’s hospitals in the neighborhoods around our restaurants, but I wanted to share one story that hits particularly close to home for two of our own team members.

Let me introduce you to Davis Rees - he’s the son of Krista, who is a manager at our Robinson restaurant, and Jim, who is a cook at our Moon Township restaurant. Davis was born with a rare condition called Prune Belly Syndrome. The result of his condition caused him to have stage 5 kidney failure, and he is currently awaiting a kidney transplant.

It’s been a challenging journey for the Rees family, but the team at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh has been there every step of the way. Krista says, “I cannot say enough about the doctors, nurses and overall staff at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh. Everyone is so caring and compassionate. When Davis first arrived there, it was the scariest time of our lives. We had never been to Children’s Hospital. We didn't at the time know what was wrong with our son, but the staff was incredible, explaining everything to us. Children’s does so much for patients' families that I am sure most people are not even aware of. Because of the work they do, we’re able to concentrate on what’s really important: our son.”

We hope that you’ll visit one of our restaurants this holiday season and help us support Davis and all of the other kids that benefit from this campaign! For more information, just click here or stop by your neighborhood Eat’n Park Restaurant for details. Share

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Recipe: Boston Brown Bread

Our beloved Boston Brown Bread….when we removed it from the menu, we found out just how much some of you liked it. Well, now you can have it any time you like! It’s baked a little differently than most breads, but I think you’ll like the results.

Boston Brown Bread

  • 1 1/4 c. water
  • 1 1/2 c. raisins
  • 1 cup walnuts
  • 1 c. sugar
  • 1 tbsp. shortening or butter
  • 3 tbsp. molasses
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 2 3/4 c. flour
  • 2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 tbsp. vegetable oil
  • Generously grease 2 (1 pound) coffee cans or 3 (1 lb.) vegetable or fruit cans; set aside. (The cans should only have one end removed.)
  • In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking soda and salt. Add raisins and walnuts, if desired. Toss to evenly coat the raisins and nuts with the flour mixture.
  • In a medium bowl, combine the oil, water, egg, vanilla, sugar, and molasses. Mix well.
  • Stir the wet mixture into the flour mixture only until dry ingredients are moistened.
  • Turn into prepared cans, filling evenly. Cover cans tightly with 2 layers of foil; secure with string or rubber band.
  • Cook with one of the two following methods:
    • #1: Place a rack in a large kettle or pot. Place the cans on rack. Place kettle/pot over low heat. Add boiling water until halfway up cans. Cover; bring water to a gentle boil. Steam bread 2 1/2 to 3 hours or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Add more boiling water during steaming, if necessary.
    • #2: Place a rack in a large kettle or pot. Place cans on the rack. Add boiling water to the kettle/pot and cover with a lid. Place the kettle in a 325° oven and steam for 2 hours and 45 minutes, replacing boiling water as needed.
  • Carefully remove bread from cans. Cool on racks at least 30 minutes before slicing. Makes 2 or 3 small loaves.
  • APRICOT BOSTON-BROWN BREAD: Substitute 1 cup finely chopped apricots or 1/2 cup chopped apricots plus 1/2 cup raisins for 1 cup raisins.
  • BAKED BROWN BREAD: Generously grease a 2 quart casserole dish or 9"x5" loaf pan. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Turn batter into prepared pan. Bake 1 hour or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Get out the vote!

Presidential election years are rarely boring, and 2008 has certainly been no exception. November 4 promises to be an exciting day for America, and citizens are expected to turn out in record numbers to cast their votes for our country’s next leaders.

We’re hoping that if you’re reading this, you’re planning to make a stop at your local polling station on Tuesday to cast your own ballot. Because of the expected turnout, polls are likely to be crowded, so make sure you plan accordingly. If you aren’t sure where your polling place is, find it here by entering your address.

Because we think exercising your rights as a voter is one of the most important things you can do as a citizen, we are offering free coffee in our restaurants on November 4 to anyone who presents their voting stub or sticker. If you’re not a coffee drinker, we’ll be happy to substitute tea or a soft drink for you.

Even if you aren’t able to visit us afterward, we still hope you’ll hit the polls on election day. Get out the vote!

Kevin Share