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September 24, 2021

'Top Chef' judge bringing Root & Sprig to new Penn Pavilion

Bower Cafe also planned for new hospital in West Philadelphia

Food & Drink Restaurants
Root Sprig Penn Pavilion Courtesy/Penn Medicine

Root & Sprig is a healthy, fast-casual concept from celebrity chef Tom Colicchio, featuring a menu of sandwiches, salads, soups and breakfast items.

The Penn Pavilion hospital is on track to fully open in West Philadelphia in October as a 17-story expansion to the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania.

When the $1.5 billion facility opens, it will have a healthy, fast-casual dining option from "Top Chef" head judge and executive producer Tom Colicchio, whose Root & Sprig concept will operate in addition to the hospital's cafeteria.

The eight-time James Beard Award winner, best known for his Gramercy Tavern in New York City and Craftsteak at MGM Grand Las Vegas, opened his first Root & Sprig restaurant at the Children's National Research and Innovation Campus in Washington in July.

The restaurant features a menu of sandwiches, salads, soups and breakfast items that include vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free options.

"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."

Also, Philadelphia coffee guru Thane Wright will be opening a Bower Cafe at the Pavilion. The cafe has an existing location in Washington Square West.

Patients at the Penn Pavilion will have access to the hospital's cafeteria through ambassadors who use tablets to take customized breakfast, lunch and dinner orders from each room. Tablets will be configured to ensure that the nutritional content of meals does not exceed recommendations from a patient's care team.

"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," Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania CEO Regina Cunningham said. "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."

Last year, in response to the coronavirus pandemic, Penn and its construction partners accelerated work on the Pavilion to open 150 patient rooms that could serve as potential surge space. When the full hospital opens next month, it will include 500 private patient rooms, 47 operating rooms, an emergency room and a hub that connects the building to other parts of the Penn Medicine campus.