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Tuesday, August 8, 2023

History of Eat’n Park Smiley Cookies

In the nearly 75 years since Eat’n Park opened, some things haven’t changed. We still serve our Superburger, guests still sometimes jokingly refer to us as “Park’n Eat,” and kids know us as the “Smiley face cookie restaurant." Yes, Eat’n Park’s the Place for Smiles. . .literally—with our instantly recognizable Smiley Cookies

But have you wondered about the history of our iconic Eat’n Park cookies? Just as Eat’n Park has a rich history, so does our Smiley Cookie, and the Smiley Cookie history starts in Titusville, Pa.

Growing up in this oil town, Jim Broadhurst (our former CEO and 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 stop at this bakery to purchase a smiling cookie – one hand-iced with a happy face – for five cents from that local shop, Warner’s Bakery. 

As it turns out, those happy memories stuck with Jim, as happy memories often do. So, when Jim joined Eat’n Park and oversaw the opening of our first bakery in 1986, he wanted to share the tender experience he remembered from his own childhood. How could he create the same sweet sensation for kids dining at Eat’n Park? 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. Nearly four decades later, we’re still treating kids to Smiley Cookies every day at our restaurant.  

However, the story doesn’t end there. In addition to becoming Eat’n Park’s mascot, our shining smiling cookie would also become synonymous with Pittsburgh, evolving into an unofficial city ambassador across the region and even the nation. Eat’n Park Smiley Cookies are so loved by children of ALL ages that we eventually began offering them for sale by the dozen and then online at smileycookie.com – though of course, they’re still free for every child who dines at Eat’n Park, or “the Smiley face cookie restaurant”! 


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