News Release
root and sprig
Photo credit: Kiku Obata & Company

PHILADELPHIA—Visitors and staff at Penn Medicine’s new Pavilion, opening this October, will have food and drink options that include national celebrity chef Tom Colicchio’s Root & Sprig and Philadelphia coffee guru Thane Wright’s Bower Cafe. In addition, the hospital’s cafeteria will offer a wide range of nutritious choices to help Penn Medicine raise the bar on food offerings and hospitality for patients, staff, and visitors alike as part of the health care transformation the new facility ushers in.

Colicchio, the winner of eight James Beard Awards and Head Judge/Executive Producer of Bravo TV’s Top Chef, and his team created Root & Sprig, a fast-casual concept that elevates the role that food, hospitality, and improved experiences have in health care. Menu items align with healthy dietary recommendations and feature sandwiches, salads, soups, and breakfast items that include vegan, vegetarian, and gluten-free options. This will be Colicchio’s second Root & Sprig concept; the first launched at the Children’s National Research and Innovation Campus in Washington, D.C., in July.

“Our goal is to provide thoughtfully prepared nutritious options to employees during busy shifts,” Colicchio said. “We also know that food should be easy and healthy for people visiting loved ones in the hospital. Root & Sprig will do both.”

With one location already in Philadelphia’s Washington Square West, Bower Cafe boasts coffee crafted with high-quality beans and plans to serve an assortment of pastries and sandwiches with a focus on natural ingredients.

“We know the power of a good cup of coffee, especially when it is served with compassion and a smile, can have on someone trying to manage one of life’s most stressful experiences,” Wright said. “We want to play a role in making a positive difference in the lives of the people who walk through the doors of the Pavilion.”

The Pavilion’s cafeteria, run by food service vendor AVIFoodSystems, will incorporate a menu built off the Good Food, Healthy Hospitals Platinum Standard criteria. This means that the hospital will offer a wide variety of seasonal fruits and vegetables, prioritize unprocessed meat, and make soups from scratch, among other requirements in the platinum-standard criteria.

bower cafe
Photo credit: Kiku Obata & Company

Pavilion patients will have the ability to personalize and order their meals at the bedside with the help of hospital ambassadors assigned to each room. These ambassadors will take breakfast, lunch, and dinner orders on tablets that interface with dietary management systems, ensuring that more than 25 nationally standardized therapeutic diets are followed. For example, a patient on a Cardiac Diet can only consume entrees that contain less than 600mg of sodium. When an ambassador is taking the order for a patient who requires this type of diet, any food entrée that exceeds 600mg of sodium will appear in red on the screen and will not be offered as an option for that patient. The same goes for food allergies. If a patient’s medical record states they are allergic to seafood, the food service software will ensure that no seafood will be part of the menu offerings. This is the result of the close collaboration that is already occurring between the food services and clinical nutrition teams at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania.

“We know that being hospitalized can bring a lot of uncertainty and stress for patients and their families, so we have sought ways to make elements of their experience feel like they are in a hotel, not a hospital,” said Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania CEO Regina Cunningham, PhD, RN. “Our comprehensive food selections will help ensure that adequate nutrition is one less thing people have to think about when they’re working, receiving care, or visiting a loved one. All aspects of health are a priority, and we’re taking that commitment all the way to what’s on the menu for snack breaks.”

The dining partnerships with Root & Sprig and Bower Cafe were formed through Penn Medicine’s relationship with Health Hospitality Partners (HHP), a real estate development and hospitality company working solely in health care, creating modern retail offerings and amenities in hospitals and other healthcare facilities.

Penn Medicine is one of the world’s leading academic medical centers, dedicated to the related missions of medical education, biomedical research, excellence in patient care, and community service. The organization consists of the University of Pennsylvania Health System and Penn’s Raymond and Ruth Perelman School of Medicine, founded in 1765 as the nation’s first medical school.

The Perelman School of Medicine is consistently among the nation's top recipients of funding from the National Institutes of Health, with $550 million awarded in the 2022 fiscal year. Home to a proud history of “firsts” in medicine, Penn Medicine teams have pioneered discoveries and innovations that have shaped modern medicine, including recent breakthroughs such as CAR T cell therapy for cancer and the mRNA technology used in COVID-19 vaccines.

The University of Pennsylvania Health System’s patient care facilities stretch from the Susquehanna River in Pennsylvania to the New Jersey shore. These include the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, Penn Presbyterian Medical Center, Chester County Hospital, Lancaster General Health, Penn Medicine Princeton Health, and Pennsylvania Hospital—the nation’s first hospital, founded in 1751. Additional facilities and enterprises include Good Shepherd Penn Partners, Penn Medicine at Home, Lancaster Behavioral Health Hospital, and Princeton House Behavioral Health, among others.

Penn Medicine is an $11.1 billion enterprise powered by more than 49,000 talented faculty and staff.

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