University of Pittsburgh

Eat'n Park Chair Named Pitt Legacy Laureate

James Broadhurst (MBA '66), chair of Eat'n Park Hospitality Group, Inc., has been named a University of Pittsburgh Legacy Laureate, an honor that recognizes alumni for their outstanding personal and professional accomplishments.

During the past three decades, Broadhurst has turned Eat'n Park into one of the most popular family restaurants in the tri-state area. The Pittsburgh-based company has grown to also include Parkhurst Dining Services, CURA Hospitality, Six Penn Kitchen, and a soon-to-open restaurant, The Porch, at Schenley Plaza.

The diverse portfolio helps the company meet its annual sales growth goals, despite tough economic times. Parkhurst Dining Services serves colleges, universities, corporations, and museums, and CURA Hospitality serves senior living communities and hospitals.

"Being a Legacy Lauerate is something I'm really proud of. This is a real special day for me," Broadhurst told a group of about 40 students from the Katz School and CBA during a special talk he gave at the Carnegie Museum of Art and Natural History on Oct. 13.

Broadhurst is the man behind the famous Eat'n Park Smiley cookie. His inspiration came from a cookie he purchased as a boy from a bakery next to his school in Titusville, Pennsylvania. More than 100 million Smiley cookies have been sold to date and cookies have been shipped to all 50 states and internationally.

"I never thought the cookie would take off like it did," Broadhurst told the Pitt students.

Broadhurst joined Eat'n Park in 1973 as executive vice president and treasurer. Prior to that, he worked seven years with Pittsburgh National Bank, a predecessor to PNC Bank, in commercial banking.

Broadhurst is a prominent civic leader in Pittsburgh. He serves on numerous boards, including the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute and the UPMC Cancer Centers Council, and is a past chair of the boards of the Pittsburgh Foundation, Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC, and the United Way of Allegheny County. His dedicated contributions have earned him numerous awards, including the Pennsylvania Restaurant Association's Restaurateur of the Year award and the Katz School Distinguished Alumnus Award.

Broadhurst's commitment to higher education is evident through his service on the Board of Trustees of the Pennsylvania State University and the establishment of special scholarship programs that provide educational support to employees of Eat'n Park.

His generosity toward the University of Pittsburgh includes gifts to the School of Nursing and the Katz Graduate School of Business, and gifts to establish the Broadhurst Basketball Excellence Fund and the Broadhurst Science Center at Pitt's Titusville campus.

Broadhurst and his wife Suzy have three sons, all of whom work for Eat'n Park Hospitality Group.

Eat'n Park, founded in 1949, started off as the first Pittsburgh-area drive-in restaurant with car-hops. Though the business has changed over the years, the guiding principle has remained the same.

"We want people to enjoy good food, but most importantly have a great experience," Broadhurst says.