The Caf is back!

Parkhurst dining is now offering some yummy food as well as a great service.

Nicolette Noce, Campus Editor

Parkhurst Dining company’s expertise lies in catering for corporations and higher education institutions. On campus since June 2020, the new  primarily serving athletes and resident assistants while preparing for the fall semester. Like many others involved with the university, Parkhurst Dining thought they would be welcoming students back this past fall.

 When the university decided to make the fall semester remote learning only, the company started planning for spring 2021 to cater to students’ needs while also maintaining safety in the face of a lingering pandemic.

The company strives on serving JCU delicious and unique meals.

Founded in 1996, Parkhurst is part of the Eat’n Park Hospitality Group based in Pittsburgh.  The company also serves dozens of other universities and corporations around the country.

 Jason Burst, the general manager on John Carroll’s campus, has been with Parkhurst for 12 years. He believes the transition of students returning to campus has “gone well so far, but our frustration lies in not being able to give [students] our full program.”

 Burst explained that Parkhurst Dining strives to give students as much variety as possible, and they are hoping to offer the full dining program next semester, equipped with a dining station. As of now, the dining hall is trying to prevent unsafe congregating.  

 While the dining hall has been operating for take-out only, Schott Hall opened for limited seating on Feb. 1.

 Upon entrance to the dining hall is a traffic light that indicates capacity levels. Green means ample space is available, yellow signals limited space and red indicates that capacity has been reached. Even at full capacity, students can still pick up food to go.

 Parkhurst Dining emphasizes its ability to offer a variety of options through catering services. “Students can customize at the entree station and pick from a few things,” Burst explained. “The deli is grab-and-go and made fresh in the house, and it is prepackaged for speed.”

 In dealing with the transition back to campus, Burst said, “students have been great! In the beginning, it was a little confusing, especially for returning students, but everyone seems to be adapting for the most part.”

 “As for the food, I thought it was pretty good and thought it was better than what it was last year,” Carson Shipley ’22 told The Carroll News. “The food just seemed like it was of better quality and in my opinion, as well as my housemates’, it tasted better.”

 Many were curious about whether  Parkhurst rehired some of the former staff. Burst explained that they were able to rehire many of the former dining hall employees. When JCU was originally scheduled to return in the fall, the company retained about 60% of the old staff. 

“But then we learned school would be continuing remotely. When we came back this semester, a lot of the staff got new jobs,” he explained. “But some favorites were able to come back.”

 There were a few familiar faces working that would always greet you and say hi, just like Miss. P.” Shipley said. “There were also some new faces behind the masks who were just as nice. I was pretty happy and honestly surprised that the food was better and tasted good. Overall, I found it to be a great experience.”

  Burst encouraged students to use the FoodU app to give Parkhurst Dining feedback, suggestions or concerns Burst said, “Those with allergies or restrictions, please reach out and let us know. We are more than happy to prepare something if you do not see anything that fits your needs.”

In accordance with Parkhurst Dining standards, the company’s website states, “At Parkhurst, we are not only dedicated to providing amazing and fresh meals to our guests, but also to ensure their dietary needs are met on a daily basis.”

 “Look out for new options and different assortments of food choices,” Burst added. “We like to keep our meals and options fresh, and avoid the rotating menu style as much as possible.”