New-look Eat’n Park shown off at Waterfront
The new look Eat’n Park at the Waterfront in Homestead brought even more smiles to the faces of diners on Friday.
After eight weeks of a complete remodel, all guests received the restaurant’s signature Smiley cookie during a grand reopening.
It’s been almost 20 years since the company has done such a dramatic remodel, said Kevin O’Connell, chief marketing officer of Eat’n Park Hospitality Group. “It’s a new restaurant experience.”
The restaurant added a larger take-out order area. There’s a section for retail where customers can purchase whole pies, Smiley cookies, gift cards and other merchandise.
There is more flexible seating throughout the restaurant to accommodate varying party sizes, as well as a private dining room for those special occasions. Diners will find several round tables.
The timing was right because the restaurant business is changing, he said, and Eat’n Park wanted to stay current with the evolution of the dining experience. O’Connell said there are three components to the new look – take out, retail and dining, so they divided the restaurant accordingly.
“We adapt to what people want and need,” he said. “We wanted to create a more modern, a more current feel. You have to change with the time. That is why we’ve lasted so long.” The company is celebrating 70 years in business.
On the back wall is a nod to the area with a steel mill design and bright lights that read “Homestead, est. 2001,” when this restaurant opened. The next two restaurants to be remodeled will be New Stanton and Butler, O’Connell said, to begin later this year.
O’Connell said the changes were inspired to embrace the way people live. Many of them shop online and that affects the dining experience, with more takeout orders and more online ordering.
The Homestead location is in the top 15 in sales of all the Eat’n Park restaurants, O’Connell said.
With the remodel, there are more windows that showcase the Monongahela River, including the outdoor seating area. The salad bar is new and has more room to get to both sides easily. The private booth behind the soup area of the salad bar remains.
Dan McBride, general manager Eat’n Park Hospitality Group, said some customers enjoyed watching the transformation happen and commented on how different it looks.
Jean Chomas, of West Mifflin, dined with her husband, Steve at their favorite booth in the front by the counter.
“I like it,” she said. “I like everything about it. I feel comfortable here. Sometimes we are here all day.”
Friends Cheryl Bartko of Homestead Park and Mary Anne Stanley of Pittsburgh had just finished lunch in the dining area overlooking the river.
Stanley noticed big changes. “It is very open,” she said. “I really like the openness. I like the overall design, and the colors they used. They really pop.”
JoAnne Klimovich Harrop is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact JoAnne at 412-320-7889, [email protected] or via Twitter .