Wicked Pie, PA Taco Co. open at WPU to mixed reception
After a long wait, two new William Pitt Union restaurants replaced the Pizza Hut and Taco Bell locations. They incorporate a vegan and vegetarian style, while keeping the theme of pizza and tacos.
Wicked Pie and PA Taco Co. opened in the WPU’s Schenley Cafe food court on November 2. The restaurants are based on the idea of ââthe “local” concept, according to Mallory Susser, manager of Pitt Eats restaurants. This allows establishments more creativity in their recipes and menu options.
âLocal sourcing and the use of local suppliers gives us more control over supply chain issues. Local suppliers are more flexible and reliable in dealing with our changing needs throughout the semester, âsaid Susser. âWe share the campus calendar and provide regular updates, so our farmers and local partners are able to better prepare themselves and provide an abundance of fresh and delicious ingredients. “
Wicked Pie, a pizzeria, offers guests a variety of specialty fillings and pastas. The pies are baked for 90 seconds in a turbo convection oven, which maintains the convenience of fast food. The pies are individually made and incorporate vegan and vegetarian options including vegan pepperoni, cauliflower paste, and vegan paste.
Susser said one of the top menu vendors among the students so far has been Goat & Herb pizza.
âOne of our most popular signature pizzas is Goat & Herb Pizza at Wicked Pie. It’s made with a base of goat cheese and bursin herbs and topped with our grated Italian blend, arugula, bruschetta and balsamic glaze, âsaid Susser.
First-year biology student Anirudh Nangunoori said he was intrigued by the new dining opportunities at Wicked Pie.
âIt was brand new and I wanted to try it. I ordered plain cheese pizza and water with my meal swap, âNangunoori said. “The size of the pizza was pretty good, it was a thinner crust alternative to other pizzerias.”
Nangunoori said he believed that because Wicked Pie had just opened, they still had some issues to deal with with the quality of their food.
âThe pizza wasn’t bad, it was their first day of opening. I’m a vegetarian and they had standard options and very good vegetarian options for me, âNangunoori said. “However, the dough around the edges was really thick but thin towards the center, it was an uneven and a little soggy chewing experience.”
As a freshman on a meal plan, Nangunoori said he was also disappointed with the meal’s trade-in value.
âThe meal swap only comes with a plain cheese pizza. The toppings are extra and the specialty pizzas are all full-priced and more expensive, âNangunoori said. âAt Perch, you get a pizza with a single topping and a choice of sauces. Also the dough is the best I have ever had.
Nangunoori said he was always optimistic that over time these establishments will continue to improve in terms of service and value as they gain more experience at the Schenley Cafe.
âI would love to go back once they’ve been around longer and more established, to try out some specialty options and get a better opinion. I am optimistic that will change, âsaid Nangunoori.
Next door to Wicked Pie is PA Taco Co. The restaurant’s menu uses homemade sauces and corn tortillas, with certified Halal beef and vegan options, combined with a cultural street taco. With a meal swap, students can get two tacos of any type.
âPA Taco Co offers Jubilee Hilltop proteins, such as barbacoa, which is halal certified, pollo asado, al pastor and a breaded avocado. All the protein is made on a street taco with coleslaw and house sauces, âSusser said. “We will be expanding and adding menus in the next semester, providing even more enticing options to choose from.”
TJ McCloskey, a second-year supply chain and marketing student, said the intricate graffiti decoration on the exterior caught his eye.
âWhat attracted me was the graffiti on the storefront. Really comes out and grabs your attention. I was like, ‘Whoa, that’s cool,’ âMcCloskey said.
McCloskey said he was happy with his order and the portion sizes of the food, and had a pleasant interaction with the workers.
âI had three tacos, two with chicken and one with pork and pineapple. They were all big and filling too, as I like it, âsaid McCloskey. âOverall I really recommend it. The food was good and the employees were nice.
Students who choose to use their meal swap receive two tacos.
The Pitt Eats team and members of the Pitt community developed PA Taco Co. and Wicked Pie in February. According to Susser, the goal of these new, locally-inspired institutions is to better meet the needs and trends of today’s students.
âConcept development began in February 2021 with an in-depth analysis of the pizza and taco market in the region,â Susser said. “Marketing research has identified trends in food categories, such as toppings and ingredients, which are popular among college age students and the Pittsburgh area.”
According to Susser, Pitt Eats is happy with its opening so far and its impact on on-campus dining, offering students meal plans with multiple dining options.
âWhen it comes to the taste, variety, and flexibility of offerings on campus, Wicked Pie and PA Taco Co. help diversify and deliver value to students on a meal plan,â Susser said. âWe are delighted with the initial response to the two new locations and look forward to building on their opening success. “