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Eat'n Park
Industry Restaurants
Founded Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, United States June 6, 1949 (1949-06-06)
Founder Larry Hatch
William D. Peters
Number of locations
75+ stores (2011)
Area served
Ohio, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia
Key people
Jeff Broadhurst (President)
Number of employees
8,000+ (2011)
Parent Eat'n Park Hospitality Group, Inc.
Website www.eatnpark.com
Footnotes / references
A black and gold Smiley Cookie appears at a rally for the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2011.

Eat'n Park is a restaurant chain based in Homestead, Pennsylvania with over 75 locations in Ohio, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia. The chain is known for its Smiley Cookies.


Eat'n Park logo while the chain was affiliated with Big Boy Restaurants.

In the late 1940s Larry Hatch and Bill Peters were supervisors at Isaly's Restaurants in Pittsburgh. On a trip to Cincinnati, Hatch was impressed seeing the Frisch's Big Boy Drive In operation. He and Peters contacted Big Boy founder Bob Wian, reaching a 25-year agreement to operate Big Boy Restaurants in the Pittsburgh area, which would be called Eat'n Park.[4]

Eat'n Park launched on June 5, 1949 when Hatch and Peters opened a 13-stool drive-in restaurant in the South Hills neighborhood of Pittsburgh. The official opening time for the restaurant on Saw Mill Run Boulevard was 2 p.m. Advertised as "Pittsburgh's First Modern Eat-in-your-Car Food Service" the original location was serviced by 10 carhops.[5] Four months later, a second unit opened in Pittsburgh, and within 11 years, there were 27 Eat'n Parks. Since then, the chain has grown to over 75 locations across 3 states.[1]

By 1974 interior dining replaced car hop service and other Big Boy franchises owned all territories surrounding metro Pittsburgh so Eat'n Park chose not to renew their Big Boy franchise agreement. The Big Boy hamburger was renamed the Super Burger.

In 2011, Eat'n Park was awarded the Achievement of Excellence award from the American Culinary Federation.[6]

Despite accepting debit & credit card transactions, Eat'n Park is unusual in the restaurant business by having an ATM at each location. The ATMs were originally owned by SkyBank, and later Huntington Bank after the latter bought SkyBank in 2007. The ATMs are now operated by a third-party company.

Since 2013, Eat'n Park has been a sponsor of the YouTube series Pittsburgh Dad.

Former locations[edit]

An Eat'n Park marquee.

While Eat'n Park serves the western half of Pennsylvania, eastern Ohio and northern West Virginia, the chain used to serve the York, Lancaster, and Harrisburg, Pennsylvania markets from the mid-1990s to 2010. While there were a handful of restaurants in this region in 2000, over the years the number of locations dwindled to 4 by 2010: 1 in New Cumberland, 1 in Harrisburg, 1 in Lancaster, and 1 in York. In March 2010, the New Cumberland and Lancaster locations were bought out and closed; by October 1, 2010 Eat'n Park closed their York and Harrisburg locations due to low sales and therefore left the area for good.


Eat n Park banned smoking throughout its chain on May 30, 2007, 16 months before a statewide smoking ban was enacted in Pennsylvania.

Christmas commercial[edit]

An annual Christmas tradition in the Pittsburgh metropolitan area is the annual airing of an animated Eat'n Park Christmas commercial that shows a Christmas star struggling to reach the top of a Christmas tree until the tree bends over to help the star up.[7] Initially released in 1982 as a one-year-only ad in support of a charity at Children's Hospital, the ad became so popular that Eat'n Park has aired the ad every year since, starting in late November. Eat'n Park now sells merchandise around the holiday season based around the ad. It is believed to be the longest-running Christmas ad in the United States, longer than national ads by Folgers, Hershey's Kisses, and M&M's, as well as a more regional ad by the Pennsylvania Lottery.[8][9]


  1. ^ a b Eat'n Park. "Eat'n Park - About Us". Eat'n Park. Retrieved 2011-08-14. 
  2. ^ Eat'n Park. "Eat'n Park - About Us - Contact Us". Eat'n Park. Retrieved 2011-08-14. 
  3. ^ Eat'n Park. "Eat 'n Park - About Us - Eat'n Park Hospitality Group". Eat'n Park. Retrieved 2011-08-14. 
  4. ^ "Obituary: William D. Peters / President of Eat'n Park restaurants". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. August 20, 2000. Retrieved 28 September 2013. 
  5. ^ "Bring Your Family to Eat'n Park (advertisement)". The Pittsburgh Press (Pittsburgh). June 4, 1949. p. 3. Retrieved December 12, 2013. 
  6. ^ Lee, Stacy (20 July 2011). "Eat'n Park to receive national recognition". McKeesport Daily News. Retrieved 14 August 2011. 
  7. ^ Eat 'N Park Christmas Star Commercial
  8. ^ Eat ‘N Park Christmas Commercial Celebrating 30 Years KDKA-TV (11/29/2012)
  9. ^ Eat'n Park's animated Christmas Star ad celebrates 30 years Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (11/14/2012)

External links[edit]

Original courtesy of Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eat'n_Park — Please support Wikipedia.
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4333 news items

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Thu, 21 May 2015 05:32:14 -0700

Eat'n Park this week sued a Chicago company in federal court over its use of a cookie that the Pittsburgh restaurant chain says is too similar to its trademarked Smiley face cookie. The suit filed Tuesday said Chicago American Sweet & Snacks sells ...
Wed, 20 May 2015 12:24:42 -0700

Norma Rutter of Bulger decorates a sheet of Smiley cookies Wednesday, April 29, 2015, in Robinson — some of the 20,000 donated by Eat'n Park for runners in this weekend's Pittsburgh Marathon.

WPXI Pittsburgh

WPXI Pittsburgh
Thu, 21 May 2015 03:37:53 -0700

According to Channel 11's news exchange partners at TribLIVE, Eat'n Park's trademark infringement suit calls on Chicago's American Sweet & Snacks to stop selling its “Smiley” cookie, which the company claims is “confusingly similar” to its trademark ...

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Wed, 27 May 2015 20:56:15 -0700

Mr. LaMantia is an alum of Parkhurst Dining, a regional hospitality company that owns Eat'n Park and serves colleges, universities, corporations, museums and other cultural institutions. It's where he led the kitchens at PNC Firstside Cafeteria among ...

Turn to 10

Turn to 10
Thu, 21 May 2015 09:41:15 -0700

(AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar, File). FILE - In a Wednesday, April 29, 2015 file photo, Norma Rutter, of Bulger, Pa., puts smiley faces on a sheet of cookies, at an Eat'n Park in Robinson Township, Pa. Eat'n Park is suing Chicago American Sweet & Snacks.
Wed, 27 May 2015 17:33:45 -0700

Spirk will present “Healthy Foods for Men” with Stephanie Knaus, 43, of Beaver County, chef and manager of the health mall's café — operated by Cura Hospitality, part of Eat'n Park Hospitality Group. Spirk and Knaus will demonstrate and distribute two ...

The Exponent Telegram (press release) (registration)

The Exponent Telegram (press release) (registration)
Thu, 28 May 2015 01:26:15 -0700

Josh and Cassi Wheeler, who work at Eat'n Park, are excited about two upcoming amusement work trips their family will be taking this summer — to Cedar Point and Kennywood parks. The couple is excited for those trips, but right now they're more ...
The Exponent Telegram (press release) (registration)
Tue, 26 May 2015 20:45:00 -0700

North Central West Virginia: 12-2:30 p.m., Parkinson support group monthly meeting, Eat'n Park restaurant, Bridgeport. Speaker: Josh McGough, physical therapist, discussing LSVt Big program. Tracey Robertson, (304) 363-1028. Authors Martha and Richard ...

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