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Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Pittsburgh’s goin’ to the Super Bowl!

As a company founded and based in Pittsburgh, we can’t hide our hometown pride that the Steelers are headed to the Super Bowl next Sunday. In our Pittsburgh-area restaurants, we have had a long standing tradition of icing our famous Smiley cookies in black and gold for the Steelers season. Our guests seem to like our “Steelers Smiley Cookies,” especially when Super Bowl fever hits Pittsburgh. During the Steelers last Super Bowl run in January 2006, the Steelers Smiley Cookie was part of the official bet of both the mayor of Pittsburgh and the governor of PA – a great tribute to the Smiley Cookie’s place in the hearts of Pittsburghers.

Pittsburghers are a very loyal bunch, and even if they move out of the area, they don’t soon forget the team they rooted for growing up. We’re reminded of that every day when we see orders of Steelers Smiley Cookies sent from our online store to California, Washington, Texas, South Carolina, and every other state in the country! We try to do our part to as well – during the AFC Championship week, we offered free shipping to the state of Maryland so that Steelers fans trapped in Ravens territory could enjoy a taste of home. We even shipped Steelers Smiley Cookies to Ray Lewis to ease what was sure to be a tough Sunday for him. We haven’t heard back from him if he liked them or not.

For the Super Bowl, we wanted to help Steeler Nation show their support, so we decided to go big: we created new gift packs that combined two Pittsburgh icons: Steelers Smiley Cookies and special Super Bowl XLIII edition Terrible Towels. Since Steeler Nation extends further than just Western PA, we offered to ship the gift packs free to anywhere in the country. These were so popular, we sold out in less than a week!!

And, because the Steelers have a pretty large fan base among our Eat’n Park team members, we’ve decided to give them a gift of their own: we’re closing our restaurants at 3:00 pm the day of the big game, so that they can enjoy it at home. We’ll reopen at 6:00 am on Monday morning – hopefully in a celebratory mood after a record sixth Super Bowl win!

Go Steelers! Your loyal fans at Eat’n Park are behind you! Share

Thursday, January 15, 2009

New items on our menu!

Those of you who are frequent guests know that we have many classic items on our menu. Our Breakfast Smiles, Nantucket Cod, and of course, the Superburger are perennial favorites among guests. However, we try to add fresh, new selections to our menu at least a few times a year.

So, allow me to introduce you to a few items that we’ve just added. First, our Chicken Fiesta Omelette. We’ve stuffed this 3-egg omelette with grilled fajita-seasoned chicken, Pepper Jack cheese and onions, and we’ve topped it with spicy queso sauce and tortilla strips. You might ask, “Who eats chicken for breakfast - and how did you come up with this one?” Well, just last year, John Frick and I took a trip to San Diego where we tasted a similar item. We returned home, shared it with our menu development committee, and after a few tweaks to make it our own, the Chicken Fiesta Omelette was born.

The next two additions are guest favorites from our fall specials menu. You ordered, we listened! The Mile-High Meatloaf and the Gourmet Grilled Cheese are two comfort foods that are now here to stay. The meatloaf is stacked with mashed potatoes, gravy, and onion rings – all atop grilled Italian bread. Ever wondered how meatloaf came to be? Check out my earlier post on this American institution. The Gourmet Grilled Cheese is a fresh take on a classic sandwich, with melted American, Swiss, and Pepper Jack cheeses and bacon on grilled six-grain bread. It makes my mouth water just writing about it.

Keep an eye out for new specials and menu items throughout the year. And, when we have a special that you really like, let us know by posting your comments here. We may just decide to put it on the regular menu!

Until next time,
Regis Share

2008’s Lucky Winners

The holidays passed us by all too quickly, but we thought we’d share some photos from a couple of our luckiest guests who received very special gifts last month.

First, Karra W. of Medina, Ohio took home a brand new Mercury Mariner, courtesy of our partners, the Pittsburgh Lincoln Mercury Dealers’ Association. Karra’s ticket was pulled from more than 60,000 raffle tickets entered in the drawing. All proceeds benefitted local children’s hospitals as part of our Caring for Kids campaign.

Second, throughout the month of November, we held our “Steelers Make Me Smile” Sweepstakes contest in our Pittsburgh-area stores. 42 winners received prizes ranging from Eat’n Park gift cards to autographed Steelers jerseys. But one lucky winner took home the grand prize: a Steelers VIP experience, complete with tickets to the 12/28 Steelers vs. Browns game, sideline passes, and more. Our big winner was Lynda C. of Butler, PA, who said, “We had an awesome time. What a way to experience my first Steelers game!”

Congratulations to both Karra and Lynda!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Recipe: Stuffed Sole

With so many people making resolutions to eat healthy in 2009, I thought I’d share a popular recipe that’s both healthy and delicious. With only 259 calories per serving, our Stuffed Sole will be good to your taste buds AND your waistline.

Good luck and enjoy - but don’t forget to stop by Eat’n Park to enjoy our Eat’n Smart selections year-round.


Click here to view a printable version of the recipe.

Stuffed Sole
YIELD: 10 servings

10 servings sole 3-4 oz. each

Seafood Stuffing:

  • ½ lbs. Shrimp and scallops
  • 4 oz. Panko bread crumbs
  • 1 oz. Pepper, green, diced
  • 1 oz. Onion, diced
  • 1 oz. Celery, diced
  • ¾ cup Mayonnaise
  • 1 tsp. Worcestershire Sauce
  • ½ tsp. Garlic Salt
  • ¼ tsp. Black Pepper
  • 2 cups Fresh Spinach, washed, julienne

1. Stuffing: Combine all ingredients and mix well.
2. Divide in to 2 oz. portions.
3. Place a 1½” to 2” slit in the center of the valley of the sole fillet.
4. Lay the sole out in front of you with the gray line facing up.
5. Place the stuffing in the center and fold in the two sides to cover the stuffing.
6. Bake at 375 degrees to an internal temperature of 165 degrees.
7. Top with hollandaise sauce.

Nutritional Information:

Note: Nutritional data varies depending on the portion size used. Data below is for a 3 oz. sole portion, without the hollandaise topping.

Calories (kcal) 259
Fat (g) 15
Carbs (g) 11
Protein (g) 20
Cholesterol (mg) 53
Dietary Fiber (g) 1
Sodium (mg) 472


Tuesday, January 13, 2009

New Year's Resolutions - here's to a happy and healthy 2009!

It’s a new year and for many of us that means it’s time for New Year’s Resolutions. I probably don’t need to tell you that some of most popular resolutions involve some form of getting healthier, whether it’s hitting the gym, eating smarter or just eating less. At Eat’n Park, we’ve noticed an interesting phenomenon that occurs every year: for the first three weeks in January, our Salad Bar sales increase. In the fourth week, the sales return to normal. It’s hard to say for certain, but it seems like people- or at least some of our guests- are keeping their resolutions to eat healthy for about three weeks before reverting to their old familiar favorites.

It sure makes it a lot easier to maintain a resolution to eat smart when you have delicious, healthy choices available to you. This is something we’re really proud of at Eat’n Park- we have an entire menu devoted to healthy choices. Our Eat’n Smart menu offers lighter selections with fewer calories, less cholesterol, and lower fat content. The best part is that you don’t have to compromise on flavor to make a smart choice. Believe it or not, our most popular dinner entrée, Nantucket Cod, is actually an Eat’n Smart selection. Another perfect example is our Rosemary Chicken, which is so flavorful. It’s seasoned with rosemary, and then topped with sautéed mushrooms and white wine sauce. Simply put: it’s great food that also happens to be good for you.

There’s an entire Smaller Portions at Smaller Prices section on our menu which features smaller portions of some of our most popular items. You’ll find breakfast, lunch and dinner choices that are a bit lighter on your wallet- and your waistline. It’s a great way to indulge in your familiar favorites with a little less guilt.

Whatever your resolution this year, we hope you’re successful. We also hope that we can help you achieve your goals in some way or another. Here’s to a healthy and happy 2009!

Kevin Share

Friday, January 9, 2009

To our loyal guests….Thank You!

2008 was a challenging year for everyone. During a year like 2008, we were especially thankful for all of you…our loyal guests.

We strive to be that place for you to enjoy that everyday meal, that special occasion with family, or just a cookie named Smiley. Our business depends on you spending a few minutes each day, week, or month with us! We, and our over 8,000 dedicated team members, thank you for spending your hard earned money at Eat’n Park.

If there was something we could have done better during your last visit, please let us know here. If you enjoyed your experience, please tell others! We would appreciate your reminding your friends and family about Eat’n Park, and we hope to see you back soon.

I personally want to wish you and your family a Happy, Healthy and Terrific 2009!

President & CEO Share

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Steps toward sustainability at Eat'n Park

Sustainability…what does it mean for your neighborhood Eat’n Park? First off, let’s define sustainability. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, sustainability means “meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.”

Eat’n Park has been in business for almost 60 years, and we’ve come to realize that the natural resources we’ve been relying on all these years may not be around for future generations. So, we’ve been looking closely at how we are using these resources, and we continue to find ways in which we can reduce or change what we are using. In 2008, we formed a green committee that was made up of our CEO, VP of Operations, VP of Purchasing, VP of Marketing, VP of Facilities, and me. We spent a lot of time brainstorming areas of focus, to determine where we could make real and lasting changes.

Over the course of this year, we will be taking the following steps toward sustainability.
  • Light bulbs – the majority of light bulbs used in our restaurants have been switched over to compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFL).
    CFL’s emit the same light as classic incandescent bulbs but use 75% or 80% less electricity. To illustrate the impact of this, if every one of the 110 million American households bought just one CFL for their house and used it in the place of an ordinary 60-watt bulb, the energy saved would be enough to power a city of 1.5 million people.
  • Fryer oil – We use trans-fat-free canola oil in all of our locations, which is the preferred oil to be recycled into biodiesel fuel.  We are working with bio-fuel producers in an effort to convert 100% of our spent oil to biodiesel fuel.
    Biodiesel is a vegetable oil-based fuel that runs in unmodified diesel engines - cars, buses, trucks, construction equipment, boats, generators, and oil home heating units. Biodiesel is usually made from soy or canola oil, and can also be made from recycled fryer oil. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) reports that Bio-diesel can reduce carbon emissions by 50%.
  • Placemats – While being an important tool for marketing, we have eliminated placemats, which will save a tremendous amount of paper as well as the landfill space they occupy once they’ve been used.
    Producing placemats required more than 325,000 pounds of paper every year, the equivalent of more than 250 trees. To make sure our tables are extra clean, we’ve enhanced our cleaning procedures to make our tables are spotless.
  • Paper Towels – We have been testing high-speed hand dryers in our restaurants to reduce the amount of paper towels that are used.
    Paper towels cannot be recycled. Once used, they must go to the landfill; therefore, hand dryers help reduce the need for landfill space, and they reduce the number of trees being cut to process paper towels.
  • Remodeling Materials – During renovations or new construction, we use recycled raw materials, including table laminates, carpet, ceiling tiles and wallpaper.
  • Local Sourcing – We developed our FarmSource program in 2002 to help reduce the miles food travels. Click here to read my other postings about some of the local farms we’ve partnered with.
    In the United States, food now travels between 1,500 and 2,500 miles from farm to table, as much as 25 percent farther than two decades ago.
We are proud of the steps we are taking toward sustainability, and we look forward to doing more in the coming year. So the next time you visit one of our restaurants, we hope that you notice some of these changes. If you have any suggestions for future green initiatives in our restaurants, please feel free to let me know by posting your comments here on the blog.
Until next time,
Update: Thanks to the steps mentioned above, we were just recognized by Pittsburgh Magazine for having the "Best Green Operations". Check it out here: Pittsburgh's Best of Green Share