Eat'n Park

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Eat'n Park
Type Private
Industry Restaurants
Founded Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, United States June 6, 1949 (1949-06-06)
Founders 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)
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]

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.

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.

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.

References[edit]

  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. 

External links[edit]