Penn State Berks pop-up restaurant holding first dinner on Nov. 9

Berks Pop-up restaurant
Credit: Penn State

READING, Pa. — The Lion’s Gate at Penn State Berks, the college’s first pop-up fine-dining restaurant, is currently taking reservations for its premier dinner event, set for 6 to 9 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 9, in Room 246 of the Gaige Technology and Business Innovation Building.

Students in the college’s hospitality management baccalaureate degree program, under the direct supervision of Michael Schaeffer, executive chef from Dan’s at Green Hills, will present a five-course meal and a night to remember. The event is open to the general public, and the cost is $35. Seating is limited and reservations are required by calling 610-396-6314 or 610-396-6056, or emailing [email protected].

The pop-up restaurant is the result of the capstone course titled Advanced Food Production and Service Management, part of the college’s hospitality management program. The concept was developed by Pauline Milwood, assistant professor of hospitality management at Penn State Berks. She explains that students were tasked with planning, developing and running a pop-up restaurant. Students chose the theme “Twist on a Tailgate” for the menu.

“The Lion's Gate will combine elegance and fun for an exceptional dining experience," said Milwood.

The five-course dinner includes choice of grass-fed filet mignon or boneless chicken breast with mushroom-garlic cream sauce. The menu also includes a chef’s amuse bouche — a seared tuna surprise — and beef and three-bean chili served with cornbread and a house salad. Patrons also have a choice of sides, including wild rice cake sliders, asparagus stems, twice-baked potatoes, stuffed acorn squash, roasted root vegetables, lentils, and roasted tomato coulis. Dessert includes choice of decadent chocolate cake, crème brulee cheesecake, fresh fruit salad, or Penn State’s new "White Out" ice cream, a buttered popcorn flavored ice cream with mini white chocolate chips.

Milwood explains that the seven students in the course are working in partnership with local chefs, restaurant owners, and décor providers who serve on the college’s Hospitality Management Advisory Board. Three external examiners will provide feedback to the students for their final grade: They include Craig Poole, general manager of the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Reading; Chad Schultenover, general manager of the Berkshire Country Club; and William Woolworth, co-owner of Dan’s at Green Hills.

The students in the course are all seniors and all majoring in hospitality management, with one exception. They include Tessa Caltagirone, Sinking Spring; Brittney Eckert, Laureldale; Travis Gilbert, Shillington; Bryan Gold, junior in division of undergraduate studies, Shillington; Miranda Reedy, Wernersville; Elizabeth Sitko, Pottstown; and Austin Tyson, Fredericksburg, Virginia.

The fine-dining experience also will include a jazz performance by Berks Big Band Club, a Penn State Berks student organization. The event was made possible by funding from the Elsa L. and John W. Bowman Curriculum Endowment.

For more information, contact Milwood at 610-396-6314 or [email protected].

About the Penn State Berks Hospitality Management Degree Program

The hospitality industry is a major economic driver in the Berks County area, and the hospitality management degree program is offered in response to demand for graduates with degrees in the hospitality industry. Penn State Berks is the only campus outside University Park to offer the degree program with the entrepreneurship option.

The hospitality management degree program helps to prepare students for management positions in hotels, restaurants, resorts and other hospitality organizations. It also provides a sound background for students who plan to pursue graduate studies.

Prior to the program being offered at Penn State Berks, the college had offered an associate degree in hotel, restaurant, and institutional management for nearly 45 years in collaboration with Penn State's School of Hospitality Management. During that time, the college has formed relationships with local hotels and restaurants, providing students with internships and "live" laboratory experiences.

The college's Gaige Technology and Business Innovation Building has a production kitchen to support the required laboratory for the bachelor of science in hospitality management degree, as well as an adjacent dining room to simulate restaurant operations.