Richard Wilson stood outside Eat’n Park in Edgewood Towne Center after eating his final breakfast there.
The restaurant is closing at 5 p.m. Monday after 29 years.
“It was like a shock when I found out about this closing,” said Wilson, 40, of Swissvale, as he dined on a steak and egg bagel.
He has dined at the location for more than 20 years. “It’s not right. It’s sad because this is a place where I would see people I hadn’t seen in a while. People congregated here.”
Wilson said the Eat’n Park is a community staple. He liked that it was close to home and affordable.
“I’m livid,” he said.
Joanne Klimovich Harrop | Tribune-Review
Richard Wilson of Swissvale dined at Eat’n Park in Edgewood for the last time. The restaurant is closing at 5 p.m. on Oct. 5.
Restaurant assistant manager Alexis Thomas said the company was outbid on the building’s lease. She said employees were offered jobs at one of the other restaurants. Eat’n Park Restaurants opened in 1949 and has 60 restaurants in Pennsylvania, Ohio and West Virginia. Owned by Eat’n Park Hospitality Group it employs more than 8,000 people.
“We would still be here if that hadn’t happened,” Thomas said. “This is hard for us, too. This is an amazing community.”
Jessica Short-McClinton and her husband Rick McClinton of Penn Hills have an extra-special memory of the restaurant. It is where he proposed to her in 2015. The couple was working there. She was a waitress and he, a cook—one of the best—she said. He had “Will you Marry Me?” made out of Smiley Cookies.
“A lot of people are devastated about it closing,” Short-McClinton said. “We had such great co-workers and we would go out sometimes after work. It was like a little family for us. I left to go on maternity leave and was sad but I knew I could always come back and see everyone. When we drive by our kids ask about us working there and how we met.”
She said the community was amazing and they had many of the same customers that they knew them by name or what they would order.
Courtesy of Jessica Short-McClinton
Jessica Short-McClinton and her husband Rick McClinton of Penn Hills have an extra-special memory of the restaurant. It is where he proposed in 2015.
It’s unclear who is taking over the space.
There were few customers in the restaurant Monday morning.
“We have been telling people about (the closing),” Thomas said. “We expect to be busy around lunchtime.”
Becky McArdle, Eat’n Park Restaurant spokesperson said via email that the company made the difficult decision to close this “as a result of our lease agreement ending. This decision was not driven by the business impact of the pandemic.”
This is the only restaurant closing, said McArdle, who shared this news with employees a few weeks ago. “All active team members at that location have been offered the opportunity to transfer to other locations within the company without a disruption to their benefits,” she said.
“We have been proud to be a part of the Edgewood community for the last 29 years and are grateful for our guests’ support during that time,” McArdle said.
Joanne Klimovich Harrop | Tribune-Review
A breakfast of French toast, sausage and scrambled eggs at Eat’n Park in Edgewood which is closing at 5 p.m. on Oct. 5.
DeWitt Wiley of Monroeville stopped in Monday morning. He hadn’t heard about the closing.
He enjoyed the Edgewood restaurant, because he grew up nearby in the Rankin/Braddock area and has friends nearby.
“I am upset about this,” Wiley said. “I am going to miss it here. I was surprised when they told me today. It’s a shame because I feel like things (in the economy) are starting to pick up again. This was one of the first restaurants in this plaza.”
The Edgewood Towne Center, just off the Parkway East, houses a Giant Eagle supermarket, Planet Fitness gym, Wendy’s, Scene 75 indoor entertainment center and other tenants.
The Edgewood Eat’n Park has also been enshrined in Pittsburgh literary history. The acclaimed writer Stewart O’Nan, who lives in Edgewood, set the opening of his 2011 novel “Emily, Alone” at that Eat’n Park. The two main characters, senior citizens Emily and Arlene, go there every Tuesday for the “two-for-one breakfast buffet … the deal was too good to pass up.” The opening chapter closes with Arlene suffering a stroke-like collapse at the buffet, setting in motion the low-key action of the Pittsburgh-set novel.
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