New restaurants, shops add value to campus community
Fresh faces aren’t the only new delights on Penn’s campus this fall. A handful of eateries and shops have opened, and are making a mark in their University City home.
There is Jose Andres’ Beefsteak in Houston Hall, with its fast-casual healthy salads and grain bowls, and Spread Bagelry in the former Pizza Rustica spot at 36th and Chestnut streets, serving up Montreal-style, wood-oven bagels, as well as other goodies like sandwiches, coffee, and special brunch beverages.
The office building at 3901 Walnut Street welcomed a Starbucks on its first floor, offering an always-bustling space for those studying or simply needing a caffeinated pick-me-up, and the Amazon@Penn on-campus delivery and shipping center in 1920 Commons is up and running with its secure and convenient option to receive packages.
Luxe Nail Bar opened in the retail block on 40th Street between Walnut and Locust streets, also known as the Hamilton Village Shops. Ed Datz, executive director of real estate in the Division of Facilities & Real Estate Services, says the new shop is the first dedicated nail salon on campus.
The nail salon, as well as the new, popular restaurants, Datz says, enhance the various offerings already in place on campus. In recent years, Penn has leased space to boutiques and restaurants like Piper, Hello World, Honeygrow, Hip City Veg, HubBub, and Federal Donuts.
“Students, faculty, and staff, as well as West Philadelphia residents, spend much of their time on or around campus,” Datz says. “We want to make sure we are providing the goods and services to make it a quality experience.”
That belief stretches to the Pennovation Works site, where the new Pennovation Center recently opened. Heathland Hospitality Group, a café based out of Bethlehem, Pa., is now serving coffee and other beverages, sandwiches, and snacks from the first floor of the Center.
Datz says the way campus has evolved over the years correlates with the city’s development as a whole.
“The food and beverage segment in Philadelphia has grown to be much more significant,” he says. “We, in turn, want to continue to expand those offerings, and provide varied experiences that satisfy the interests of our diverse population.”
Datz adds that Penn “always has and will continue to be committed to local, entrepreneurial businesses,” while mixing in regional and national players such as Wawa and CVS.
Penn has 340,000 square feet of space in its retail portfolio. Twenty years ago, the campus’ main retail—all 150,000 square feet of it—consisted of copy centers, dry cleaners, and convenience stores, Datz says.
“Now, to have services such as Luxe and enhanced food offerings for all parts of the day—breakfast, lunch, dinner, and after hours for socialization—it’s all part of our strategy to continue improving and adding value,” Datz says.