When the organic restaurant Pure Fare comes to Penn in the spring, students on dining plans will have another place to eat out.
But despite the recent surge of new on-campus eateries such as Pure Fare and Tortas Frontera, which arrived at Penn last semester, one on-campus restaurant is still waiting for its chance to get on the dining plan.
The Pari La Petit Café Creperie has been a staple on Penn’s campus for the past 14 years, and ever since, owner Chris Falpistidis says he has been petitioning the University to allow his restaurant to accept Dining Dollars. But that’s not likely to happen.
“I have tried every year,” Falpistidis said. “If I could find a way, or some loophole to get on the dining plan, I would gladly do it.”
Though the Creperie currently accepts PennCash, when asked why he thought his restaurant could not obtain Dining Dollars, Falpistidis proposed a simple explanation: “They would lose money.”
A representative from Business Services — which oversees Penn Dining — said that it has not spoken to the Creperie about obtaining Dining Dollars in recent years. Falpistidis, meanwhile, claims he has been in a 14-year struggle with the University.
“They have pretty much told me it will never happen,” he said.
The Creperie isn’t the only restaurant seeking a spot on the University’s dining plan. HipCityVeg has also been petitioning the University to allow it to accept Dining Dollars. For the past few weeks, the restaurant — which, unlike the Creperie, cannot accept PennCash — displayed a sign that read: “We had hoped to welcome you back by accepting your dining plan but are unfortunately still in the process of making that a reality.” The sign is no longer present at the store.
Jamie Gaffrey, HipCityVeg’s University City store manager, said that her store is not currently trying to join Penn’s dining plan. “As of right now it’s up in the air, but it is something we will definitely try to do again,” she said.
Although local restaurant heads believe that increased costs is a reason Penn does not add more restaurants to its dining plan, Barbara Lee Kruger, director of communications for Business Services, cited technology and policy limitations as the reason why these establishments have not been added.
“The Dining Dollars are meant for restaurants operated by Penn Dining — that has always been our policy,” she said. “The processes and resources to support off campus payments are not currently in place.”
Pure Fare and Tortas Frontera are different than the Creperie, as they are both contracted through Bon Appétit and will also be staffed by Bon Appétit employees.
This system is somewhat similar to Drexel University’s dining system, as all Drexel dining plan establishments are operated by the university. However, Drexel allows privately owned on- and off-campus restaurants to obtain Dragon Dollars — the equivalent of PennCash — in contrast to the limited number of stores in University City Penn that accept PennCash.
Director of Retail Management at Drexel Jackelyn Gemenden explained that Dragon Dollars are accepted at numerous establishments, including HipCityVeg, Sabrina’s Cafe, CVS, Southern Tsunami Sushi, Starbucks, Subway and 50 other retail stores within University City.
In addition, Drexel is set to develop a new retail space opening in the fall, which will include six new restaurants all available on the Drexel meal plan.
As for Penn’s meal plan, it’s likely that neither HipCityVeg nor the Creperie will be added anytime soon.
“There are currently no plans to change any of this,” Kruger said.
Correction: A previous verison of this article misspelled the Pari La Petit Café Creperie's owner's names. It is Chris Falpistidis, not Falpifilldis. The DP regrets the error.Comments powered by Disqus
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