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Monday, June 28, 2010

How does your garden grow?

Gardening is a popular hobby, and personally, it’s one of my favorites. I’m one of those folks who likes to grow a variety of crops because I just love enjoying the fruits of my own labor. So, every March, I plot out what and where I’m going to grow my veggies, and by Mother’s Day, my crops are planted. This year, in mid-May, my family and neighbors were eating arugula and leaf lettuce from my garden. Besides greens, I’m also growing beets, corn, carrots, cucumbers, peppers, beans, potatoes and of course an assortment of tomatoes in my garden this year.

My personal garden

Believe it or not, we have a garden (on our balcony) at our Corporate Support Center in Homestead, and our crops are doing well. Each year, we try to grow things that people in the office can use during lunch. This year we are growing tomatoes, peppers, lettuce, corn and variety of herbs. We planted everything in “Earth Box” containers, which were developed by commercial farmers. This easy-to-use growing system controls soil conditions, eliminates guesswork and more than doubles the yield of a conventional garden…with less fertilizer, less water and virtually no effort, which makes it perfect for our office.

Corn growing on our balcony at the Eat'n Park Corporate Support Center

I love summer because I can enjoy fresh produce right from my garden. But just because summer ends doesn’t mean that my homegrown veggies have to disappear. As the cucumbers come, pickling them is great way to savor them in the fall and winter months. Tomatoes are great for canning, and can be canned whole or made into your favorite sauce. Green beans freeze very well; just blanch them, dry them, then freeze them in zip lock bag. At Eat’n Park, though we aren’t preserving fresh veggies for future use, we are making sure they’re incorporated into our daily offerings as soon as they arrive.

Here at Eat’n Park, a seasonal menu helps us take full advantage of the local produce available at this time of year. I work closely with menu development to make sure we have incorporated dishes that will utilize the bounty from our farms. So when you visit with Eat’n Park this summer, you’ll be able to have homegrown corn on the cob, local tomatoes, zucchini, green beans, and more, and it’s my job to make sure that all the produce is local.

So, enjoy the bounty of the season and remember to buy fresh and support local (businesses of course).
Hope to see you at Eat’n Park!

Jamie Share

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

A Very Special Day in State College, PA

Team Smiley and the Cookie Cruiser spend a lot of time in Pittsburgh and its surrounding areas, so it’s extra exciting when they take Smiley on the road somewhere less traveled. On Friday, June 11th, Smiley and his crew joined thousands of athletes and their families at the 41st Annual Special Olympics Pennsylvania Summer Games at Penn State University.

The Summer Games feature two fun-filled days of celebration and competition, in events such as aquatics, basketball, bowling, equestrian sports, golf, gymnastics, softball, and tennis. A ceremonial torch run kicked off the Games on Thursday night, and by the time the Cookie Cruiser rolled up on Friday, everyone was in full Olympic swing. In between their events, the athletes loved stopping by Olympic village to grab a bite to eat, rehydrate, soak someone in the dunk tank, and of course, decorate their own Smiley Cookie!
The Lehigh County women's basketball team takes a break with Smiley.
It was so amazing to meet all the incredible people there; athletes, cheerleaders, volunteers, and students alike worked to together to make the Games a really special experience. Because they came from all over the state, not everyone was familiar with our giant cookie friend, Smiley, and his delicious treats. Needless to say, now they are! Smiley made some great new friends as did the team. Nathan, from Lycoming County, spent lots of time hanging out with us. He had a cookie, inspected all his fellow athletes’ artistic work, and taught us a thing or two about basketball. I like to think it was the cookie, but the gold medal around his neck was probably the reason he couldn’t stop smiling!

Sarah and our new friend, Nathan

So, a big THANK YOU to all our friends, new and old, and the awesome volunteers from the Special Olympics! We may have brought the cookies, but you definitely brought the spirit and inspiration. It was truly a spectacular day and I know Smiley can’t wait to go back! Share

Monday, June 21, 2010

Eat’n Park’s Summer of Peace.Love.Smiley!

No, we’re not reminiscing about Woodstock (although we were around back in those days, and long before that!). “Peace.Love.Smiley” is our theme for summer and Smiley! You can’t help but to think happy thoughts whenever Smiley comes to mind. Peace.Love.Smiley is also a reminder to take it easy, kick back, and enjoy the summer.

For a limited time, you can take a little of that attitude home with you with our new Peace.Love.Smiley Cookies! Each dozen contains four each of Original Smileys, Heart Smileys, and our new Peace Cookies in assorted colors.

Bring home a dozen and share the love!

You can also pick up new Peace.Love.Smiley gear at select locations. These cool new tees for adults ($14.99) and kids ($9.99) are available at the following Eat'n Park restaurants: Ross Park Mall, Whitehall, South Park, South Hills Village, Uniontown, Monroeville, Robinson, Cranberry, Latrobe, Beaver Valley Mall, Grove City, North Huntingdon, and Belle Vernon.

With these groovy new designs, these shirts are sure to sell out quickly, so stop in to pick yours up today!

See you at Eat’n Park! Share

Friday, June 18, 2010

Team Smiley Rocks the Carnegie Library Summer Reading Extravaganza

Team Smiley and the Cookie Cruiser have officially kicked off the season of smiles! On June 6, we attended our first BIG event of the summer: the Carnegie Library Summer Reading Extravaganza. The Extravaganza is a fun event that encourages summer reading and helps the library deliver learning opportunities to people throughout Pittsburgh all year round. Everyone had a blast! Kids and adults alike got creative and decorated almost 1,000 Smiley Cookies! Our team distributed an additional 3,000 Smiley cookies to guests all day long. Now THAT'S a lot of smiles!

Smiley himself stopped by, and he made lots of new friends! He gave out plenty of hugs and had a great time dancing to the band that played tropical music for the large crowd of kids and their families. Smiley had some pretty impressive dance moves...who knew he was such a talented cookie?? Smiley also posed for lots of pictures - he LOVES being in photos!

We would love for you to come visit us at some of our other upcoming events this summer, so check out our schedule at http://www.findsmiley.com/.

Team Smiley Share

Father's Day Memories at Eat'n Park

In honor of Father's Day this Sunday, we wanted to share some special memories that our guests have made with their dads at Eat'n Park. Enjoy, and Happy Father's Day!

My Eat’n Park experience took place with my dad. We would visit the restaurant to grab a lunch or dinner and desert of course. When we walked into the place, his thoughts of the past ran wild. His voice would change to that of his younger days, when he would go cruising in his or his buddies’ old hot rods or classic cars. I loved it!!! He went on to tell about how they would meet here and grab a shake, talk, and move on. They would leave Eat’n Park with nothing but smoke in their eyes and sweet memories. My dad now lives in York, PA and I maybe see him once or twice a year, but when he visits, we still like to stop in for meal, shake, and talk.
- Tom L., Pittsburgh, PA
In 1994, I became a single dad with three sons ages 12, 11, and 9. It was a struggle to raise them and work full time, but thanks to Eat'n Park's Saturday and Sunday breakfast and brunch buffets, we were able to spend a lot of quality time together eating quality food at a great price close to home. We would go there pretty much every Sunday after church and no one ever went home hungry. The food was always great and even though it was sometimes very busy, the service was always good and it was always worth it. Thanks for making my job a little easier!
- Tim W., Hummelstown, PA

I first went to Eat’n Park in Monongahela as a little girl with my dad and his friend. I really enjoyed the atmosphere and the food, but what really got me was when I noticed the Smiley Cookies. They made me feel happy, and they brightened up my day. I also enjoyed being with my dad and spending time with him. I now go to another Eat’n Park with my honey, and I still enjoy that same feeling and I still love the Smiley Cookies. Keep up the good work and the Smiley Cookies.
- Jodi L., Monesson, PA

Every Wednesday is a night-out with my Dad. Since my Mom passed away, my Dad and I meet every Wednesday for a movie, dinner and shopping. Our favorite movies are the ones with special effects and 3D! Our favorite place to eat is Eat'n Park by the river at the Waterfront in Homestead. We love to eat on the outdoor patio. It's beautiful. The foods we love the most are the club sandwiches, shredded beef, and the Nantucket cod, also breakfast for dinner is the best!!!!!! My Aunt joined us on Wednesday's when she lost her husband 5 years ago. We meet every Wednesday and I look so forward to it! I can't wait for THIS Wednesday and Eat'n Park!
- Mary E., Pittsburgh, PA
One day at Eat’n Park, me and my Dad were ordering our meals. When our waitress left, we noticed that she had duct tape on her shirt. My dad and I always go to the Duct Tape Festival in Avon every year. We had just come back from it. I had a whole bunch of rolls of duct tape. My dad and I made a duct ape purse right there while we were waiting for our meals. Everyone came around our table when we were finished and asked me and my dad how we did it. We both said “It's just natural talent!" That was my memory and it was awesome!
- Emily G., Cleveland, OH

We made it a family affair to go to breakfast at Eat'n Park before we all went bowling. This one particular time, we all got out of the car at the restaurant and it wasn't until we were all getting ready to sit down when my Dad looked at my Mother and said "you brought your bowling ball inside with you." We had a great laugh together.
- Carole E., Hermitage, PA
Almost fifty years ago, while my Dad was stationed in Philadelphia, we made the trip from Level Green to Monroeville twice a month to celebrate his coming home for the weekend. We would pull into Eat’n Park on Rte 22, and you could smell the burgers as you rolled down you windows. There were still waitresses that took your order from the car then; my order, as always, was a burger and chocolate milk! I can still look back and remember that smell, wafting from the kitchen. And I can see in my heart's eye my Mom and Dad (both gone on now) and my little sister, madly waiting to share the really cool French fries they had there! Now and again as I sit down with my GRANDchildren at “our Eat’n Park" in Monaca, and I can smell that aroma, and realize we are making memories for Ava, Ben, Dru And Ty that will carry them through the next fifty years. Thank you for still being our memory maker.
- Judy D., Baden, PA

During my high school years back in the mid-70's I played in the marching band. My father was the band director. Every Friday during football season we would visit the Eat’n Park in Jeannette after the game ended. The routine was such that my younger siblings (a brother and a sister) and I sat in the back of our Caprice Classic while my parents were in the front seat. It was customary to enjoy "curb service." The waitress would deliver a most delicious double decker hamburger, fries and a Coke to all of us on a tray that would hook over my father's driver side window. This is one tradition that I have not been able to pass down to my own daughters since the custom of curb service has fallen by the wayside; however, my memories of this are most fond.
- Terri M., Jeannette, PA

Have an Eat'n Park memory that you'd like to share with us? Submit it here. Share

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Smiley’s Beach Party at Eat’n Park!!

This promotion ended on July 31, 2010.

The party’s back and so are 99-cent kids’ meals!

That’s right, it’s not just back; it’s bigger and better than ever! We’re getting the party started on Monday, June 21. For a solid six weeks (through July 31, 2010!) you and your family can hang loose at Eat’n Park while you enjoy our 99-cent kids’ meals, summer specials, visits from Smiley himself, and more!

Click here to see all of our delicious new summer specials.

Besides being a great value for Mom & Dad (did we mention that kids’ meals are just 99 cents?!), Smiley’s Beach Party is always a hit with kids. Every child 10 and under receives a Smiley Treasure Bag after their meal, in which they’ll discover a bounty of cool Smiley loot including stickers, tattoos, and new collectible Smiley wristbands.

Of course, it wouldn’t be Smiley’s Beach Party without a visit from Smiley himself! Our huggable, fun-loving mascot will be on the road throughout June and July, making stops at more than 50 Eat’n Park locations so that he can mingle with his adoring fans. Check out http://www.findsmiley.com/ to see when he’ll be visiting your neighborhood Eat’n Park. Stop by during Smiley’s visit to meet this V.I.P…..actually, make that V.I.C. – Very Important Cookie…in person. Smiley will bring cookies for decorating, so kids can make their very own Smiley Cookie!

We couldn’t call this a Beach Party without offering some cool and refreshing summer drinks. Our new Blue Raspberry Jolly Rancher cooler and milkshake will transport you to the shore, without the mess of all that sand. Take a sip and drift away! Plus, our summer specials are here, and they are delicious - click here to see them all.

So, stop in on Monday and let the fun begin. And if you feel like breaking out that Hawaiian shirt, we won’t judge!
99-cent kids’ meals not valid on buffets or on takeout. Guest check must include one adult meal. Kids’ treasure bags available while supplies last. Share

Monday, June 14, 2010

Help Eat’n Park Send Kids to Camp!

If you’re familiar with our Caring for Kids campaign with local children’s hospitals (which, by the way, has raised over $7 million in its 31-year history), then you know about our commitment to serving children in our communities. Well, thanks to our partnership with the YMCA, we’ve found another way to help!

The goal with our “Send Kids to Camp” initiative is to raise funds to send Pittsburgh’s at-risk youth to the YMCA’s Camp Kon-O-Kwee this summer. This will be an experience that affords them opportunities to learn and have fun outdoors in a safe environment. Among other activities, campers will explore how food is grown and how to prepare it healthfully, a chance that they would not otherwise have. This and the other programs at Camp Kon-O-Kwee are specially tailored to provide a fun, yet educational experience that teaches kids about health and wellness. For some, this is a life-changing opportunity.

From June 14 through July 4, we are accepting online donations www.eatnpark.com/camp. For every dollar you donate, we’ll match it – up to $10,000! Together, we can make a difference in the lives of Pittsburgh’s youth.

Click here to make a donation today.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

“What I Love About Summer” Contest Winners

Back in April, we asked Eat’n Park fans like you to make a 30-second video telling us what you love about summer at Eat’n Park, for a chance to be in our next commercial.

We got some great submissions, and we’re happy to announce that two fans made the final cut in our new commercials!

In the commercial below, you can catch Amanda P., who is a big fan of our strawberry pie. Next time you visit our Butler restaurant, keep an eye out for this budding star!

And in this commercial, watch for Justin C., who frequents our Center Twp. restaurant because he loves the fresh, local options on our salad bar. Check him out below.

Obviously, there’s a lot to love about summer at Eat’n Park! Next time you’re in, try one of our summer specials – you might just discover a new favorite! Share

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Summer Specials at Eat’n Park

Finally, warm weather and sunshine have arrived, and so have our Summer Specials! With several brand-new items to tempt your taste buds, as well as a few crowd favorites that we’ve decided to bring back, you’re sure to love these summer delights.

Baked Chicken Bruschetta
This brand-new item has us excited – not just because it’s so delicious, but also because it happens to be Eat’n Smart! With only 326 calories, you can enjoy amazing flavor, guilt free!

We hand-bread a tender, boneless chicken breast with Italian-seasoned bread crumbs and bake it to perfection. Then, we top it with our homemade tomato bruschetta, drizzle on a balsamic glaze, and sprinkle with Asiago cheese. Served with your choice of two sides and bakery-fresh rolls. $8.99

Steak Salad
It’s back, and it’s better than ever!

Our steak salad features mixed greens, cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, egg wedges, and French fries, topped with thinly sliced grilled rib-eye steak and shredded cheddar cheese. Enjoy it with our bakery-fresh Boston Brown bread and your choice of dressing. $8.49

Black Angus Texas Jack Burger
Smokin’ hot! We put our Cajun-seasoned, 6 oz. Black Angus burger between grilled Texas-cut bread, and add Pepper Jack cheese, fried jalapeƱo peppers, and RedHot mayonnaise. Yowza! Served with a side of your choice. $6.99

Buffalo Chicken WrapA warm tortilla spread with bleu cheese or ranch dressing, wrapped around juicy all-white chicken fillets tossed in our own special Buffalo sauce, with shredded cheddar cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, and a side of your choice. It’s a wrap! (Sorry, we couldn’t resist the pun). $7.49

Classic Fruit Salad You look forward to it every summer, and now it’s here! Our fruit salad is pretty much the definition of fresh and refreshing. This sweet and juicy medley of six of the season’s finest fruits, with a scoop of sherbet or cottage cheese and our exclusive creamy dipping sauce, is served with Boston Brown bread. $7.99

P.S. If you’re obsessed with strawberries, you’ll be happy to know that you’ll still be able to get our Strawberry Stuffed French Toast and our Grilled Chicken and Strawberry Salad all summer. You’re welcome! Share