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Looking to transform the campus dining experience, Carthage has chosen Parkhurst Dining as its next food service provider.

Primarily serving private colleges and universities, Parkhurst emphasizes fresh, healthy, and creative meals hand-crafted by expertly trained chefs. In a new partnership that begins June 1, the company will manage The Caf and all other campus food and drink stations, as well as catering for campus events.

Parkhurst Dining will take over Carthage food service on June 1, 2022. President John Swallow says Parkhurst emerged as the “clear favorite” based on the response from the Carthage community. Each of the four finalists gave a presentation on campus in January, leading to the engagement of hundreds of Carthage faculty, staff, students, and parents both in-person and virtually.

The feedback following the presentations was robust and indicated Parkhurst as a leading favorite.

“Ultimately, this was an easy choice. Colleges that already partner with Parkhurst rave about its quality options and personal, customizable approach to campus dining,” said President Swallow. “Most importantly, from the very beginning, its leadership team showed a deep commitment to listen to our community.”

Based in Pittsburgh, Parkhurst Dining prioritizes inclusive dining, an approach that caters to students with food allergies or other special dietary needs, incorporates global flavors, and relies heavily on locally sourced, freshly prepared ingredients.

“We are thrilled about the future of our partnership with Carthage College and can’t wait to begin serving the campus community and shaping a student-centered dining program for the Firebirds,” said Larry Orr, vice president of higher education for Parkhurst. “We’ll be hard at work this summer onboarding the current hourly dining staff, upgrading some of the dining venues, and growing partnerships with local farmers and artisan food purveyors to create new beginnings for Carthage Dining.”

Cooking from scratch on site is a hallmark of Parkhurst, which is known for its hand-tossed pizza dough, fresh soup stock, and hand-breaded chicken and fish. In its presentation, the company offered a tiny glimpse into a menu that will include plenty of leafy greens and fresh-cut vegetables, create-your-own panini sandwiches, and a hydration station with fruit- and herb-infused water.

As President Swallow points out, beginning the transition in summer ensures that Carthage students will return to “an elevated dining experience” this fall. The Parkhurst team is already incorporating suggestions and requests from the campus community.

While the College will continue to monitor the service provided by outgoing vendor Sodexo for the remainder of the spring, watch for details on upcoming events that will whet appetites leading into the transition.