Parkhurst, PNC Partner on Sustainable Café Concept

Eco Bistro treads a light environmental footprint.

Parkhurst Dining services has opened one of Pittsburgh's first green dining venues constructed from eco-friendly products from the ground up for client PNC at the Allegheny Center Mall, a corporate center where PNC is a tenant.

The Eco Bistro is PNC's onsite dining operation, but is also open to other Mall tenants and guests. It is also designed as a sustainable café for all PNC cafes to model after.

Eco Bistro is one of more than a hundred PNC-constructed facilities that follow LEED standards. PNC and Parkhurst are finalizing submissions in the goal to receive LEED Certification for the Eco Bistro (for more on LEED, go to p. 22).

Eco Bistro follows Parkhurst's EcoSteps program with practices such as purchasing rBST-free dairy, using biodegradable service ware, reducing paper waste, recycling fryer oil into bio-fuel, utilizing more energy-efficient light bulbs and composting.

Farm-fresh food is also procured through FarmSource, the local purchasing program of Parkhurst's parent organization, Eat'n Park Hospitality Group.

The fresh selections complement assorted trendy sandwiches, soups, salads and hand-pressed burgers, along with hand-tossed pizza, stromboli, breadsticks and savory flatbreads all made with dough prepared from scratch. Dessert selections include pies, cakes, muffins, strudels, brownies and Eat'n Park's signature Smiley cookies.

“We try to mix it up daily by providing our guests with something different whether it's freshly baked Tuscan breads topped with buffalo chicken or feta, tomato and Kalamata olives, a Tex-Mex bar, or celebrating Oktoberfest with German sausage sandwiches and Bavarian-style soft pretzels,” says Stephanie Knaus, Parkhurst director of dining services.

“We will soon expand retail offerings to include some of our menu items as home-meal replacements packaged in microwavable containers so that guests can purchase to eat later at home,” she adds

Eco Bistro also offers Parkhurst's HIP (Healthy Interruption Points) products, pre-packaged three-ounce to-go snacks that offer a healthy alternative to traditional impulse purchases like cookies and candy.

HIP selections include assorted nuts, granola, dried fruit, tropical trail mix, as well as fat-free sweets such as licorice and gummies which are positioned near the register so guests are more likely to purchase a healthier snack when they need an “interruption” during the day.