Sweet and savory snack shop coming to University City this November
The storefront, located inside Penn's Translational Research Center, is backed by the owner of campus's Ben and Jerry's
September 28, 2011, 12:37 am · Updated October 27, 2011, 10:51 pm·
Christina Prudencio | DP
University City is about to get a little tastier.
A shop serving up a trifecta of sweet and savory snacks is set to open in early November inside Penn’s Translational Research Center, located on Civic Center Boulevard by the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.
The new store will feature a Ben & Jerry’s, a Philly Soft Pretzel Factory and his own new company, Wholly Cow Chocolates — all behind one counter.
Calling it the “culmination of 12 years of work,” Jason Gordon, the Philadelphia Ben & Jerry’s franchisee — and owner of the Ben & Jerry’s at 216 S. 40th St. — is organizing this new venture. He is also the brains behind Wholly Cow Chocolates.
Gordon expects that his store will appeal to students, faculty, staff and patients at the neighboring hospitals as well as Ben & Jerry’s aficionados who would prefer not to walk all the way to the 40th Street location.
Nursing sophomore Marissa Decesaris explained that there are few food options near the Nursing School, and that Gordon’s new store would be a welcome and “convenient” addition ”when I’m there all day and all night studying” and in need of “a quick sugar boost.”
Ed Datz, Penn’s executive director of Real Estate, wrote in an email that the University worked with the Penn Health System to bring Gordon’s vision to campus. The new dessert shop addresses “the interests and needs of the medical complex as well as the campus community for additional convenient, fast casual food options,” Datz added.
The approach of “one space, three concepts” creates “one stop for every indulgence that you could imagine,” Gordon said. He stressed that there will be an equal “balance” between the three brands featured.
On the salty side, the store will serve up pretzel dogs and “pretzel cheese steaks,” a twist on two classic Philly foods. In addition to a complete selection of ice cream flavors, the franchise will create custom sundaes, frothy milkshakes and ice cream cakes. The Wholly Cow chocolate line will offer chocolate strawberries, an array of truffles, candy apples and other treats.
Gordon hopes his store will be a “great part of the community,” especially as a “resource” to the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania and CHOP, both located close by. He is excited to be able to provide the convenience and comfort of gift baskets that customers can give to loved ones during their stay at the hospital.
The store will also create pretzel trays as well as Ben & Jerry’s catered products for a lively party.
Gordon’s career with Ben & Jerry’s greatly influenced the values he adhered to in the creation of his new chocolate line. He pledged to use fair trade and all natural chocolate whenever possible.
One of Ben & Jerry’s goals besides serving up the best product at a profit is their “social mission” of taking into account both the community buying the product as well as the community responsible for creating the product, he explained.
Gordon plans to purchase fair trade cocoa and vanilla, for instance, to ensure that his suppliers make a proper wage and that “everyone in the food chain is getting treated well” while the “consumers get a good product.” He hopes that “somewhere in middle, we run a good, profitable business.”