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Eat'n Park
Private
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
[1][2][3]
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.

History[edit]

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. The non-renewal of the Big Boy agreement eventually allowed Eat'n Park to expand into Greater Cleveland, which had been initially owned by Frisch's and eventually Elias Brothers. Eat'n Park also expanded into other cities within Northeast Ohio including Akron and Youngstown.

The company launched its signature Smiley Cookie in 1986 to coincide with adding a bakery to its locations.[6] The Smiley Cookie would become so popular that it would eventually be added to its logo and would spawn the "Frownie" brownie from rival Kings Family Restaurants, which would be controversially discontinued in 2015 after Kings was sold to a private equity firm.[7] Eat'n Park has been involved in several lawsuits with companies that do not operate within the company's operating area in order to protect its trademark on the Smiley Cookie.[8][9]

In 2011, Eat'n Park was awarded the Achievement of Excellence award from the American Culinary Federation.[10]

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.

Other concepts[edit]

Hello Bistro sign at the location on Pittsburgh's South Side.

Eat'n Park has been expanding its offerings outside its traditional diners, operating upscale restaurants as well as more casual places.

To date, it's most successful concept is Hello Bistro, a fast casual chain focused on Millennials offering gourmet burgers and salads while keeping its parent company ties to a minimum by offering prepackaged Smiley Cookies and the same brand of ranch dressing as the main Eat'n Park chain, but otherwise making no references to Eat'n Park. Currently with four locations, Eat'n Park plans to expand the Hello Bistro concept throughout the Pittsburgh metropolitan area and potentially into new markets.[11]

Smoking[edit]

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 region 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.[12] 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.[13][14]

References[edit]

External links[edit]


Original courtesy of Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eat'n_Park — Please support Wikipedia.
This page uses Creative Commons Licensed content from Wikipedia. A portion of the proceeds from advertising on Digplanet goes to supporting Wikipedia.
8350 videos foundNext > 

PITTSBURGH DAD: EAT 'N PARK

Dad takes the family to Eat 'n Park! Get a Pittsburgh Dad Smiley Cookie at http://www.smileycookie.com/shop-by-occasion/pittsburgh-dad-cookies-2.html Like ...

Eat 'N Park Christmas Star Commercial

This is the classic Christmas Star commercial for Eat 'N Park that is shown on TV during the holiday season.

PITTSBURGH DAD: EAT 'N PARK CHRISTMAS STAR

"It ain't Christmas until I seen the Eat 'n Park Christmas Star commercial." Like Pittsburgh Dad on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pittsburghdad Follow ...

The History of Smiley at Eat'n Park

The icon of our brand, Smiley has been representing Eat'n Park since 1986! Our famous Smiley Cookies were first made available to our youngest visitors, but ...

Pittsburgh Penguins / Eat'n Park Christmas Tree Parody

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/jagoffs Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/benstonium Pittsburgh Penguins parody of the classic Eat'n Park Christmas Tree ...

Seafood Specials are here at Eat'n Park!

Reel 'em in! Seafood specials are here at Eat'n Park, and you don't want to miss them. New specials like General Tso's Shrimp, Salmon Burger, Tuna Cheddar ...

Eat'n Park 'Place for Smiles' Jingle by Sarah Marince

Pittsburgh-area recording artist, Sarah Marince, records an updated version of the classic Eat n' Park 'Place for Smiles' jingle. The new jingle will make its debut ...

Eat'n Park - Smiley's Birthday Party

Eat'n Park celebrated Smiley's 20th Birthday in June, 2006!

Fresh goodies from the Eat'n Park bakery!

Our bakeries are bursting with fresh-baked goodies! Soft, gooey honeybuns, grilled stickies, fresh baked bread for our sandwiches, and of course, Smiley ...

Fresh, Local Produce Has Arrived at Eat'n Park!

Thanks to the many local farmers who provide fresh produce daily for our restaurants - like the Yarnick, Brenckle, and King families. You'll find their fresh ...

8350 videos foundNext > 

2588 news items

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Wed, 20 Jan 2016 09:05:00 -0800

Mr. Broadhurst remains on the board of directors for Eat'n Park Hospitality Group, which includes the fast-casual staple of the region and four specialty restaurants — The Porch, Six Penn Kitchen, Delicious Raw and Hello Bistro.The company is ...

NEXTpittsburgh

NEXTpittsburgh
Tue, 26 Jan 2016 04:05:30 -0800

Brooks Broadhurst, former senior vice president of food and beverage at Eat'n Park, plans Block 292 as a sustainable food market and restaurant. The meat on the menu will be sourced by Jamison Farm in Latrobe, and will include sustainable beef and pork ...
 
Pittsburgh Business Times
Fri, 12 Feb 2016 10:22:30 -0800

Neither agency was looking to do a deal though they had shared clients like Eat'n Park Hospitality Group. But David Tobin of the Tobin Group, a succession planning and mergers and acquisitions consultancy, suggested they meet. Tobin had advised Millea ...

Observer-Reporter

Observer-Reporter
Thu, 11 Feb 2016 21:11:40 -0800

Chick-fil-A fundraiser for the youth group's mission trip to Daneville, Va., will be held today. Morning's First Light men's group will meet at 7 a.m. Tuesday at Eat 'n Park. Men of high school age and older are invited. Bishop's Day on the Washington ...
 
The Exponent Telegram (press release) (registration)
Sat, 13 Feb 2016 00:48:45 -0800

Harrison County Republican Club: 5:30 p.m., meets, Eat'n Park restaurant. Dutch treat dinner 5:30 p.m., meeting 6:30 p.m. Candidates for circuit judge speaking. Lincoln Day Dinner discussed. All Republicans invited. President Ed “Buddy' Randolph, (304) ...

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Thu, 08 Oct 2015 20:56:15 -0700

The recent sale of the company's Cura Hospitality division for an undisclosed sum has given Eat'n Park enough cash to take more chances at a time when consumers may be feeling a bit better about the economy, said Kevin O'Connell, senior vice president ...
 
Sharonherald
Tue, 09 Feb 2016 04:03:13 -0800

25 in Eat'n Park, Hermitage. All classmates are invited; no reservation is needed. • Mercer County Historical Society presents a program tonight on the Civil War Battle of Gettysburg. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. Bill Philson will moderate the program that ...
 
Tribune-Review
Mon, 09 Nov 2015 19:30:43 -0800

Indeed, Hello Bistro is a key part of Eat'n Park's larger plan to adapt a 66-year-old family restaurant chain for a new era of dining shaped by a busier, younger generation that prefers fresh ingredients to pre-made meals and the ability to customize ...
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