Seven alumni-owned food and beverage businesses taking taste buds to the next level
Some people say music is the one true universal language. But, let’s be honest, the one true universal language is food. Nobody knows this better than these Fox School alumni who have launched exciting businesses in the food space. From healthy stir-fries to mouthwatering donuts, fancy cocktails to salads-in-jars, learn more about these seven food and drink businesses owned and founded by Fox foodies.
After studying finance at the Fox School, David Restituto, BBA ’96, ran Rita’s Italian Ice and Meineke franchises in the Philadelphia area. In 2017, the self-confessed “sweet tooth” opened Factory Donuts in Northeast Philly. The shop, which boasts a hip, industrial aesthetic, sells coffee and about two dozen different types of donuts, including the Maple Bacon Explosion and the Blueberry Bake. The business has already moved into its next phase: franchising. “We have so much positive interest from people,” Restituto says. “We’re ready to launch the franchise end of the business and we’re planning for future growth. It’s a very exciting time.”
Justin Rosenberg, MBA ’09, is no stranger to the pages of Fox Focus—when we caught up with him in the last issue, he told us all about how honeygrow uses virtual reality to onboard new employees. Rosenberg designed the business plan for honeygrow, the fast- casual salad and stir-fry restaurant, while working on his MBA at
the Fox School. Since opening the rst location in 2012, honeygrow has grown quite a bit. Now there are more than 24 locations in eight states and Washington, D.C. Not to mention three minigrow locations, honeygrow’s new build-your-own dish carryout concept.
Dylan Baird, BBA ’13, worked with Urban Tree Connection, an urban farm in West Philadelphia, while studying entrepreneurship at the Fox School. His passion for the intersection of food and community development morphed into Philly Foodworks, which he co-founded in 2014. The mission? To create a platform for small, non-mainstream food producers—including local farmers, coffee roasters, chocolatiers, tofu makers, and bakeries—to deliver healthy, fresh foods to people. Thanks to Baird and Philly Foodworks, the farmers market now comes directly to your front door.
Do you love pizza? Of course you do, everybody loves pizza. And if you’re a Philadelphian, you also likely love tomato pie. Conshohocken Italian Bakery has been serving up tomato pies (including a custom Philadelphia Eagles version following the team’s Super Bowl LII victory), pizzas, breads, desserts, and more since it was co-founded by Domenico Gambone in 1973. The family business is now run by sister and brother Christina Gambone, BBA ’92, and Michael Gambone, BBA ’91—Christina is the director of business operations, and Michael is the vice president.
“Mike and I have been working here since our early teens,” says Christina. “There’s no better way to learn the business than from the ground up. We’ve always been close siblings, so working together is very natural. And our dad is still very active in the business and our goal is to support him and his passion. We keep that in mind with every new avenue we pursue.”
Ever watched an episode of Mad Men and wondered how in the heck they make those delicious looking cocktails? Jungeun Park, BS ’16, knows the secrets and she’s here to
help you craft that perfect old fashioned. After completing her studies in marketing and being named a finalist in the Temple University Innovation and Entrepreneurship Institute’s 2016 Be Your Own Boss Bowl® for the business concept, Park launched Cocktail Culture Co., which offers interactive cocktail and mixology workshops. They also host whiskey and wine tastings so you know what you’re talking about next time you step up to the bar.
Healthy food is oftentimes not the most convenient to find for lunch at work or on-the-go. That’s where Simply Good Jars, founded by Jared Cannon, MS ’16, comes in. Cannon, a chef, came up with the idea as a Fox School grad student studying innovation management and entrepreneurship. Each convenient plastic jar includes a healthy meal made with local ingredients while creating zero waste for the Philadelphia community.
Melissa Wieczorek, BBA ’93, MBA ’02, always loved food, cooking, and entertaining. So, when she left her position as the director of the Fox School’s Executive MBA program in 2005, she knew exactly what to do: Zest Culinary Services, a personal chef and boutique catering company, was born. “There’s always something new to discover in food—a recipe, an ingredient, a technique, a favor combination, or even a new business model,” says Wieczorek when asked why she loves working with food. “The possibilities are endless and the food industry is constantly evolving so it never gets boring. And the ability to make a positive impact on people’s lives on a daily basis through food—whether it’s a meal, an educational talk, or a dining experience—is extremely gratifying.”