Perkins Serves Up Both Cookies and Community
By JOSELYN KING
WHEELING — The smell of chocolate pies and cookies greets customers at local Perkins Restaurant and Bakery stores, but the business is most happy to offer slices of community to the public.
“Dine to Donate” events to help school organizations are commonplace at the restaurant, as is the 10 percent off for all veterans eating at Perkins.
And the annual Perkins Restaurant and Bakery Fantasy In Lights parade now kicks off the holiday season in downtown Wheeling.
“At Perkins, we really like to help the community, and we enjoy being part of the community,” said Tim Presseller, vice president of operations for Carolla Ventures Inc., which operates the Perkins Restaurants in Wheeling and Moundsville. “All of our customers that want to help us… we want to help them.
“And we have great offers here all the time … a great bakery… and pleasant smiling faces. But we really like helping the schools.”
For General Manager Erin Cunningham, helping school organizations is a personal issue. She is the mother of six children — five of whom are school age.
“My passion is the schools. I do a lot for the schools,” she said. “We donate a lot of gift cards for raffles and baskets. We donate a lot of food.”
During the “Dine to Donate” events to benefit the Wheeling Park High School orchestra, strings orchestra members set up and play in the restaurant lobby. The WPHS chorus has come in to sing, and the Triadelphia Middle School cheerleaders have performed, according to Cunningham.
It’s not that the restaurant has to rev up its environment to bring in customers, though. An average of 4,500 and 8,000 patrons are served each week at Perkins, Presseller and Cunningham said.
“And some of them come in twice a day,” Cunningham said. “We do have people who come in for both breakfast and dinner.”
Much of the excitement and enjoyment of Perkins food is now happening outside the restaurant. Perkins offers catering options, and in recent months a delivery service went online to customers.
Coleman’s fish is available at Perkins through Easter and is a popular choice among customers this time of year. A new muffin on the menu — a chocolate peanut-butter muffin — is the featured desert.
Perkins’ famed chocolate French silk pie is the biggest selling desert during most of the year. Pumpkin pie is popular at Thanksgiving, and lemon at Christmas time.
The chicken, bacon and broccoli pasta scores highest with customers among the entrees, according to Presseller.
A total of 93 people are employed between the two Perkins locations in Wheeling and Moundsville. There are open interviews at the restaurant from 2-4 p.m. every Tuesday.