PITTSBURGH Eat’n Park Restaurants has broken ground on the family-dining chain’s first unit that will be built according to energy conservation guidelines known as LEED, or Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design.
The chain’s parent company, Eat’n Park Hospitality Group, hopes to open the restaurant, in the Waterworks shopping plaza in the Pittsburgh suburb of Fox Chapel, Pa., in May of next year.
It will feature Energy Star-rated equipment and recycled construction materials. It also has been designed to take advantage of natural light and will be equipped with sensors that will automatically dim electric lights when they are not needed. Educational materials about the construction of the restaurant and other steps taken to make the restaurant more sustainable will be posted on a wall inside the restaurant.
Eat’n Park said this location would be the first LEED-built restaurant in the Pittsburgh area.
Additionally, the Fox Chapel unit will be the fourth of the chain’s 77 restaurants to have a drive-up pickup window.
Eat’n Park Hospitality, which also runs non-commercial operations and has a foodservice division dedicated to hospitals and assisted-living facilities, has long had initiatives focused on health and the environment. It was one of the first companies to remove artificial trans fats from its operations, and it also buys locally grown produce for its restaurants, which are located in Pennsylvania, Ohio and West Virginia.
The company has eliminated paper towels and paper placemats and recycles its used fryer oil into bio-fuel. This year the parent company was awarded the Harvest Award for connecting communities, farmers and food, from The Glynwood Center, an organization that focuses on farming and conservation, and gives awards to companies that showcase innovation and leadership in sustainable agriculture and regional food systems.