UPMC Presbyterian Kicks Off Wellness Wednesday

On Wednesday, September 13, 2017, UPMC Presbyterian in Oakland held its Wellness Wednesday kick-off event as a fun and informational day full of demos, tips, and a plant-based culinary workshop to promote healthy lifestyles to its busy staff.

“Wellness Wednesday is a great program for everyone at UPMC Presbyterian to promote wellness and to make our cafeteria a hub of health and nutrition… our goal is to expand this into a monthly program,” said Robert Franz, retail manager at the hospital. “This is a huge accomplishment, and it’s great to have such collaborative efforts from different departments within the organization to make this fun and informative event possible.”

The UPMC Presbyterian Cafeteria actually has a Silver Plate designation level through the Sustainable Pittsburgh Restaurant program.

Wellness Wednesday began with a healthy cooking demonstration at the entrance of the UPMC Presbyterian Cafeteria where Chef Ray Wesolowski and Dietitian Gretchen Zehner prepared a Mexican Quinoa for guests. They presented the recipe’s health benefits, answered questions and even served up delicious samples of the finished product! The day also consisted of other meatless food samplings and featured recipes with Kate Watts, Food & Nutrition Coordinator with the Humane Society of the United States, who held a presentation and discussion. UPMC Health Plan also hosted a Health Coach table for guests to have face-to-face conversations with experts, and MyHealth at Work gave employees a chance to learn more about the new UPMC Presbyterian clinic. Other informational tables were present as resources promoting wellness and healthy living.

A Plant Strong Culinary Workshop also took place in the Scaife Conference Center, featuring speakers from the hospital and the Humane Society’s Forward Food program. This workshop hosted a hands-on plant-based culinary and educational training for health professionals.

“We’re very proud of this event and the team that lead the charge: Chef Ray Wesolowski, Dietitians Gretchen Zehner and Elise Wade and Jean Nichloech. We hope to have other UPMC hospitals replicate Wellness Wednesday,” said Franz.

The Garden Grille and Bar – Passion & Creativity In Every Bite

The Garden Grille and Bar at the Hilton Garden Inn Pittsburgh University Place located at 3454 Forbes Avenue in Oakland is your next stop to taste passion and creativity in every bite you take.

Larry Broderick, Director of Sales, and Chef Andrew Thompson know what food service is all about: remarkable hospitality and willingness to go above and beyond to give people an exceptional dining experience. From fresh and local seasonal menus to customized cuisine for events or grilled outdoor fast casual, The Garden Grille and Bar is always prepared to dish out quality.

On top of their everyday menu, The Garden Grille and Bar has seasonal menus that change every three to four months, and you know it’s fresh because its ingredients rely, well, on the season! Selections on the seasonal menus are mainly supplied from local farms, and the specials span over appetizers, sandwiches and salads, entrees, and even desserts.

“Our number one seller on our seasonal menu is our Greek Lamb Burger made with locally sourced lamb from Jameson Farms in Latrobe,” said Chef Thompson.

He said a new menu will debut mid-August.

Every Thursday, from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., you can catch some fun lunch items outside of The Garden Grille and Bar – right at the corner of McKee Place and Forbes Avenue.

“If you’re hungry and you want fast, we can do that here! At our Thursday grill-outs, we offer a grilled protein/vegetable, a side, and a water or soda all for $8. There’s something special about this one-day-a-week cookout,” said Broderick.

When the weather is on point, these Thursday grill-outs have served more than 70 people. 

The quality doesn’t stop there. The Garden Grille and Bar will even create customized foods and drinks for special events. “In my 27 years in the hotel industry, I can say Chef Andrew is one of the most talented chefs I’ve ever worked with,” said Broderick. “We once did an event for the Monroeville Rotary during the Kentucky Derby and Chef Andrew and his team re-created the official Kentucky Derby menu – serving everything from the official entrees, drinks, and even the salad… crawfish and red beets which everyone loved!”

“Our Culinary Supervisor, Mary Oravec, is also very talented and once set up an international-inspired tea station for an event,” said Chef Thompson. “We like sit down with people and say ‘here is our menu, but what do YOU want?”

With an exceptional team, everyone on staff shines both inside and outside of the workplace.

“The little things we do really resonate with customers. Through our Bright Hearted Committee, we like to recognize outstanding staff, said Chef Thompson. “We also love giving back to the community through events like holding ice cream socials at the local Veterans Hospital or having teams for the Pittsburgh Superhero Run in North Park to raise awareness of child abuse and the American Heart Association’s Heart Walk.”

You don’t need to stay at the Hilton Garden Inn to enjoy this phenomenal food and hospitality either.

“When you’re at the intersection of Forbes and McKee, look up! We’d love to have you in for a bite,” said Broderick. “People don’t think that they’re foodies, but we all are! When we eat something it will always remind us of an experience, and The Garden Grille and Bar gets that.”

Nellie’s Sandwiches – 23 Years Of Fresh, Quality Mediterranean Cuisine

If your taste buds are in the mood for some fresh, homemade Mediterranean cuisine, look no further than Nellie’s Sandwiches, located at 3524 Fifth Avenue in Oakland. As a popular Oakland staple, Nellie’s is a place brimming with both history and pride – and not to mention amazing bites!

“Having been in Oakland for 23 years, our customers have always been like family,” said owner, Nellie Abdulnour. “I have a real passion for feeding people fresh handmade, homemade foods. Everything we make is healthy, fresh and gourmet—made from scratch with love.

Nellie moved to the United States from Lebanon in 1980, owned Chahine’s Bakery in Squirrel Hill for 21 years, and eventually opened Nellie’s Sandwiches in Oakland.

Rania Abdulnour, Nellie’s daughter, stands by Nellie’s Sandwiches’ use of fresh and seasonal ingredients. “Nothing comes from a can here! We don’t skimp on ingredients, and we grow a number of the herbs and foods ourselves – everything from the grape leaves, to tomatoes for sauces – we even have an herb garden,” Rania continued. “With Pittsburgh’s growing foodie culture, Nellie’s Sandwiches really does have the quality you can taste. We’ve always believed in eating clean – even before it got popular!”

Nellie’s Sandwiches has always been a go-to place for Oakland’s many hospital employees and they specialize in catering. On Wednesdays at 4 p.m., you can find Nellie at the Mt. Lebanon Farmer’s Market.

If you have a hankering for some quality falafels, gyros, fresh rolled grape leaves, tabbouleh and other Lebanese cuisine, Nellie’s Sandwiches is your stop right here in the Oakland business district.

Nellie’s Sandwiches
Open Monday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
www.nelliesonline.com

The Palace Bar & Grill

For Marian Edmonson, The Palace isn’t just a food and beverage establishment – it’s an adventure. The Palace Bar and Grill, located at 226 Meyran Avenue (former location of AD’s Pittsburgh Café), opened on May 11, and Marian looks forward to giving Oakland a wonderful place to socialize and relax. “We welcome everyone! …The Palace has a fun atmosphere anyone can enjoy,” said Marian.

Marian has dedicated her time, energy and talents into giving The Palace a fun and modern atmosphere. “We’ve repainted the walls, replaced the kitchen’s lighting system to eco-friendly LED bulbs, installed new floors in the restrooms and even updated the sound system,” she said.

The Palace Bar and Grill offers nightly drink specials and mouth-watering traditional bar foods, from wings to sliders and fries.

“The must-try specialty drink on our menu would be ‘The Palace’ made with clear liqueurs and other secret ingredients,” said Marian. “We also like to offer some fun, spontaneous specials! During the Stanley Cup, we offered $2 shots whenever the Pittsburgh Penguins would score a goal.”

The Palace Bar and Grill also loves to give back to the community and help others. “We want to be a good neighbor to everyone,” said Marian. “We recently held a fundraiser event benefiting the family of a slain woman in the Hill District – it was very special.”

The Palace Bar and Grill is open from 4 p.m. to 2 a.m. Monday to Saturday, and 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. on Sundays. For more information, visit their Facebook Page.

Two Oakland-Based UPMC Hospitals Achieve Sustainability Designation

UPMC Presbyterian and Magee-Womens Hospital of UPMC have achieved Silver Plate and Gold Plate designation, respectively, through the Sustainable Pittsburgh Restaurants program. The hospitals are the 15th and 16th locations to earn designation through the program.

“Becoming designated really gives us a sense of accomplishment. Hospital cafeterias and restaurants do some great things, but don’t always get recognition,” said Robert Franz, retail manager at UPMC Presbyterian.

“It’s nice to partner with organization that will help us reach our goal of helping the environment,” said Sarah Black, retail manager at Magee-Womens Hospital of UPMC.

Franz and Black oversee the retail and food services and manage operations at their respective hospitals.

Both locations do incredible things when it comes to green practices. Magee-Womens incorporates freshly grown items into their menu and uses the flowers they grow for their retail shop.

“Magee-Womens uses the help of Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens to manage our three gardens,” said Black. “We look forward to having two bee hives on our roof in spring of 2018 as well!

“We also like to educate people through our Roots of Wellness program – a hub of information on nutritional, physical, emotional and environmental wellness for staff and visitors.”

The program includes bulletin boards throughout the hospital that display tips and facts to adopt a healthier lifestyle as well as functions in the cafeteria, such as cooking demos and wellness consulting. Magee-Womens Hospital of UPMC’s cafeteria serves around 1,200 to 1,500 people per day.

UPMC Presbyterian’s cafeteria, which serves around 3,000 to 4,000 people per day, is partnering with Freedom Farms to help bring in fresh local products every week – from jarred items like honey to fresh produce and local meats.

“It’s things like this that give the hospital’s staff more of an appreciation of what they’re getting on a daily basis at our cafeterias,” said Franz.

Franz and Black highly recommend that Oakland food establishments get on-board with the Sustainable Pittsburgh Restaurant program to capitalize on the lasting value of functioning in greener and more sustainable ways.

“A lot of the things we were doing were already in the criteria to become designated! We filled out the online application and received our plate level, and Rebecca Bykoski, Program Manager of the Sustainable Pittsburgh Restaurant program, is always there to answer questions,” said Black. “Oakland really is a foodie city.”

OBID is recruiting Oakland restaurants for the Sustainable Pittsburgh Restaurant Program. Designation enables restauranteurs to see the lasting value in operating in socially and environmentally responsible ways, while saving money and increasing business. Interested in joining the program? Contact Jonathan Winkler: jonathan@oaklandbid.org

UPMC Presbyterian’s Summer Farm Markets
Hosted By Freedom Farms

Thursdays starting June 1
11AM – 2PM

Enjoy local produce, jarred products, local meats and baked goods.

Dates held in UPMC Presbyterian’s front entrance green space
along Fifth Avenue: June 22, July 20 & August 24.

All other Thursdays, this will be located outside of the
cafeteria on the 11th floor.