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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
Headquarters Homestead, Pennsylvania, United States
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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1267 news items

Fri, 10 Apr 2015 12:18:45 -0700

Eat'n Park Restaurants will celebrate the start of the Cleveland Indians season with a free Smiley Cookie for fans showing their Indians pride. Any guest wearing Cleveland Indians attire to Eat'n Park on April 10, the day of the Indians Home Opener ...
South Pittsburgh Reporter
Mon, 04 May 2015 17:56:15 -0700

Applications will be made available for open positions at various Lawrenceville-area restaurants including Eat'n Park, Franktuary, Giant Eagle/GetGo, Gus's Café, Kaleidoscope Café and Pesaro's Pizza. Goodwill SWPA is holding the Food Service Industry ...

The Almanac

The Almanac
Thu, 09 Apr 2015 09:57:09 -0700

Indeed. On the commercial side, Silvestri said Eat 'n Park is working on a 6,514-square-foot restaurant and development on Washington Road that will include office space. The existing Eat 'n Park may be converted to a Dunkin' Donuts. In addition, Taco ...
Sat, 02 May 2015 04:07:38 -0700

Farrell High School class of 1947 gathers for lunch at 12:30 p.m. May 28 at Eat'n Park restaurant, East State Street, Hermitage. Info: 724-962-1665. • Penn High School class of 1957 meets at noon May 7 at Rosie's, Station One for the May class luncheon.
Fri, 01 May 2015 02:09:35 -0700

Twin Rivers council's board unanimously authorized Solicitor Falco Muscante to prepare paperwork for the merger on Oct. 30. Twin Rivers will vote on the agreement at its May 24 meeting in Forward. Steel Valley will vote June 4 at Eat'n Park in Homestead.
Indiana Gazette
Fri, 01 May 2015 07:59:15 -0700

Staffers at the Indiana County Tourist Bureau will be visiting various sites throughout the county next week to promote National Tourism Week (Saturday to May 10). While at each location, officials will distribute visitor guides, brochures, fliers and ...
Wed, 29 Apr 2015 18:07:30 -0700

East Liberty-based Guardian Storage is seeking to build a four-story self-storage complex that would take over the large, vacant building next to the Eat 'n Park on West Liberty Avenue. According to renderings submitted to the board, the facility would ...

Pittsburgh Post Gazette

Pittsburgh Post Gazette
Thu, 26 Feb 2015 21:00:31 -0800

It's no Dean & DeLuca but a division of Eat'n Park will operate a convenience store featuring a limited selection of prepared foods and fresh produce in the new PNC tower Downtown. Gary Saulson, director of corporate real estate for PNC Financial ...

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