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Lycoming College has selected Parkhurst Dining Services of Pittsburgh as its new hospitality partner, according to an announcement by Dr. Sue Gaylor, Lycoming's vice president for administration and planning. Parkhurst will provide a fresh, healthy and personalized culinary approach to dining in addition to supporting the campus through a joint commitment that addresses environmental issues, sustainability and local agriculture.
"Lycoming's decision to select Parkhurst was driven by our preference to partner with an organization that is relationship-oriented, responds to the unique needs of our campus character and culture, and is committed to enriching the lives of our students with food that is prepared fresh every day," said Gaylor.
During the next few months, Parkhurst will implement a comprehensive renovation of the College's Wertz Student Center dining hall. Once completed, the facility will offer four different food stations, a salad bar and a full-service deli, featuring panini sandwiches. Other dining highlights include Hemisflavors, a concept that features more than 1,000 fresh global cuisine recipes, prepared authentically with raw ingredients indigenous to Brazil, Greece, India, Lebanon, Mexico, Morocco, Thailand, Vietnam and Cuba.
"We provide fresh food that is prepared daily in front of our customers," said Nick Zolak, Parkhurst general manager of dining services at Lycoming. "Our soups are made from stocks, not bases. We make fresh dough pizza and our burgers are fresh, never frozen. We work extensively with local farmers and vendors. Our local purchasing from the Williamsport area will be around 37 to 40 percent. Lycoming's campus community can expect a very fresh and new dining program with many different options to choose from each day."
Parkhurst specializes in small to mid-size schools and has accounts at institutions such as Allegheny College, Bucknell University and Washington & Jefferson College, among many others. In addition to its higher education branch, Parkhurst's parent company owns and operates the Eat'n Park restaurants.
"We are looking forward to the partnership with Parkhurst," said Gaylor. "We are excited about the innovative concepts Parkhurst brings to Lycoming, as well as redesigning our dining facilities to reflect our desire to better serve our students."
Zolak has more than 20 years in higher education food service and retail operations. He was most recently general manager for retail dining at Parkhurst-serviced Bucknell University, where he was responsible for several cafes and retail venues that generated $4.2 million in sales annually. Zolak started as a manager in training at Edinboro University and also served in supervisory roles at the State University of New York at New Paltz and Lock Haven University, where he was responsible for operations support including marketing initiatives and new business development.
A graduate of California University of Pennsylvania with a bachelor's degree in marketing and finance, Zolak resides in Lock Haven.
Eric Shade will serve as executive chef at Lycoming. In his new role, Shade will support Lycoming's dining goals and objectives with a variety of healthy and fresh foods that appeal to the varied tastes of the College's student body preferences. Shade has more than 10 years of onsite food service and restaurant expertise. He most recently served as executive sous chef at Bucknell, where he monitored production for the main dining room and catering department. He also assisted with menu development, catering menus and special events.
A graduate of Johnson & Wales University with an associate degree in culinary arts, Shade is pursuing a bachelor's in food service management. He resides in Northumberland.
Lycoming College is a national liberal arts and sciences school dedicated to the undergraduate education of 1,400 students. It is recognized as a Tier 1 institution by U.S. News and World Report. Founded in 1812 in Williamsport, Pa., Lycoming is one of the 50 oldest colleges in the nation. For more information, visit www.lycoming.edu.
Parkhurst Dining Services provides exceptional culinary experiences and dining services to guests at the finest educational institutions, corporations and cultural destinations in its marketing region. Its foundation is built on personal relationships and exceeding the expectations of guests and associates every day. For more information, visit www.parkhurstdining.com.