Cafe at the Point to Open at Point State Park

Sep 13, 2011, 14:55 ET from Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources

Visitors now able to enjoy refreshments, learn about park history at green facility

PITTSBURGH, Sept. 13, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Point State Park's first-ever cafe and dining patio is ready for operation with a Grand Opening celebration scheduled for Sept. 16 at 11:30 a.m., Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Secretary Richard J. Allan today announced.

The new Cafe at the Point is made possible with a generous gift by the employees of PNC Financial Services Group and The PNC Foundation, with additional support from DCNR, Laurel Foundation and Riverlife.

"It's exciting that, for the first time, downtown workers, families and out of town visitors to Point State Park will have refreshments available to them as part of their park experience," Allan said.  "The addition of a cafe that also teaches people about the history of the park and demonstrates green building practices is one more step in the overall facelift at Point to make the park an even greater symbol of Pittsburgh's history and rebirth, and a quality experience for our many visitors."

Cafe at the Point sits along the southern edge of the city-side lawn in Point State Park.  It is expected to attract and serve thousands of weekly visitors. The Cafe is owned by DCNR and operated by concessionaire Chahine Boulos, owner of Boulos Concessions.

PNC employees and The PNC Foundation supported the cafe construction as part of the company's participation in Pittsburgh's 250th anniversary celebration.

At the celebratory event, PNC employees will be serving free refreshments provided by the concessionaire to visitors in the park.  The public is invited to join PNC and DCNR for the celebration.

"The Cafe provides yet another reason for residents and visitors to take a walk through Point State Park, one of our region's finest attractions," said Jim Rohr, chairman and chief executive officer of PNC. "This new amenity features the best in sustainability, food and convenience. It also serves as another great attribute for our downtown core, which is why The PNC Foundation and PNC employees are pleased to support it."

PNC has more newly constructed LEED-certified green buildings (102) than any company on earth.

The Cafe at Point compliments the company's green building accomplishments with features including a living roof and walls; recycled steel and masonry; natural interior lighting; high efficiency external LED light fixtures; and a stormwater control system.  DCNR is seeking a Silver LEED rating for the Cafe.

Cafe at the Point sits on an expanded terrazzo patio, allowing generous space for tables and chairs and unobstructed access to the path around the city-side lawn. Interpretive elements highlighting the historical location's role in the French and Indian War are included in the exterior design and on-site amenities.

The Cafe menu is family-friendly and affordable and includes salads, sandwiches and items with a Mediterranean flair, as well as drinks and ice cream. Walk-up cafe service will be available seasonally.

The Cafe was designed by Pittsburgh-based Pfaffmann + Associates, with construction handled by DiMarco Construction Co., Inc. The cost was about $670,000.

Since its dedication in 1974, Point State Park has seen annual visitor totals climb to more than 2.6 million. To provide a more aesthetic and educational experience and better accommodate visitors, DCNR, Riverlife, and Allegheny Conference on Community Development in 2006 embarked on a major renovation project at the park.

Thirty-five million dollars in capital budget money is committed to the project, with an additional $8 million from other partners and citizen donations.

"Cafe at the Point represents the very best in public-private partnerships," said Riverlife President and CEO Lisa Schroeder. "By providing capital funding for this terrific new amenity for parkgoers, PNC and DCNR have shown once again that they are good neighbors to downtown Pittsburgh and our riverfront parks."

This summer renovations to the Mon and Allegheny wharfs along the Point were completed and the areas reopened.  The next phase of improvements at the park will include a renovation of the iconic fountain, with a kickoff for that project expected in late fall.

Point State Park sits on 36 acres where the Monongahela and Allegheny rivers meet to form the Ohio River in downtown Pittsburgh. The Point has served as a trading post facilitating westward expansion; a military fortification which became a focal point in the fight for nationhood; and, later, an industrial hub leading the nation in steel and glass production.

Steeped in history, the park is home to the Fort Pitt Block House, which was built in 1764 and is the only surviving remains of Fort Pitt -- the most extensive British fortification in the American colonies. A major attraction in the park is the Fort Pitt Museum, built on the site of the Monongahela Bastion, one of the five bastions of Fort Pitt.

For more information on Point State Park and Pennsylvania's Gold Medal State Park system, call 1-888-PA-PARKS between 7 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday; or visit (choose Find a Park).

Media contact: Christina Novak, DCNR, 717-772-9101

SOURCE Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources