Rick Bayless and BAMCO to Open Tortas Frontera at Penn

In partnership with food-service pioneer Bon Appétit Management Companythe acclaimed chef will bring fresh, local Mexican flavors to his first on-campus Tortas Frontera location.

Acclaimed chef Rick Bayless

Acclaimed chef Rick Bayless

Philadelphia, PA (October 21, 2013) – One of the biggest names in the Chicago restaurant scene is bringing his signature flavors to University of Pennsylvania.

Acclaimed Chicago chef Rick Bayless is opening a Tortas Frontera location at the recently renovated ARCH Café, the chain’s first establishment on a college campus. The quick-service Mexican restaurant is now under construction and projected to open in early January.

Since opening Frontera Grill in Chicago 25 years ago, Bayless has recently expanded his restaurant offerings to include quick-service Tortas Frontera locations in airports and corporate centers. Spreading to a college campus was the next logical step, and Penn was a perfect fit, said Stacy Dixon, Frontera’s director of development and marketing. “The University of Pennsylvania is a prestigious university with a sophisticated, vibrant, diverse student population who appreciate food made with high-quality ingredients from local farms and dairies. The university environment is a great way for us to expand our restaurant concepts and share our spirited hand-crafted Mexican fare.”

Bayless, who has cooked for President Barack Obama at a state dinner, was recently named by the U.S. State Department as one of more than 20 chefs as culinary ambassadors around the world. Instead of relying on larger food distributors, Bayless is committed to using local food and produce from farmers near his restaurants.

The Tortas Frontera location at Penn will be operated in partnership with Bon Appétit Management Company, Penn’s food service provider since 2009. Bon Appétit too prioritizes local ingredients. Since 1999, when it launched its Farm to Fork program, it has required all its chefs to source at least 20 percent of their ingredients from small, owner-operated farms, ranches, and artisan businesses within 150 miles of their kitchens.

“We at Bon Appétit are thrilled to be working with Rick Bayless and Tortas Frontera,” said Stephen Scardina, Bon Appétit’s resident district manager at Penn. “It’s fresh, it’s local, it’s culinary-driven, and now it’s a part of Penn’s dynamic campus dining scene. It’s a perfect match.”

Frontera’s fresh, foodie fare will inhabit the newly renovated space on the ground floor of The Arts, Research and Cultural House (ARCH) – a building that has recently undergone a $20 million renovation. The ARCH stands as an exciting crossroads of the Penn student experience and is home to the Center for Undergraduate Research and Fellowships, three cultural resource centers, plus high-tech spaces for groups to gather, practice, and perform.

The ARCH has long history of incorporating food and fellowship, between the Palladium restaurant and Gold Standard cafeteria. The new ARCH Café will build on this history.

“The restored ARCH will stand as an exciting crossroads of the Penn student experience,” said Marie Witt, vice president of business services (which oversees dining at Penn). “We were committed to creating a café that reflected the spirit and values of this vibrant new space while at the same time introducing a new and innovative concept to campus dining. By bringing Tortas Frontera to the ARCH Café, we believe we will accomplish those goals.”

Beyond the sustainable practices in the kitchen, Tortas Frontera will also satisfy students’ appetites by adding a greater variety of breakfast, lunch, and dinner offerings to the existing campus dining scene. The menu will include Mexican delicacies such as tortas, fresh guacamole, molletes (open-faced quick sandwiches), soups and cazuelas (hearty Mexican casseroles), salads, special seasonal dishes and gluten-free options. A wide variety of grab-and-go options will also be available in the space similar to the Hemispheres section found in Houston Market. With Tortas Frontera accepting cash, credit, Dining Dollars, and Penn Cash, students, faculty, and staff will have access to a greater variety of food and increased daily dining options beyond the dining cafés.

More about Bon Appétit Management Company

Bon Appétit Management Company (https://www.bamco.com) is an on-site restaurant company offering full food-service management to corporations, universities, and specialty venues in 32 states. All Bon Appétit food is cooked from scratch, including sauces, stocks, and soups. A pioneer in environmentally sound sourcing policies, Bon Appétit has developed programs addressing local purchasing, the overuse of antibiotics, sustainable seafood, the food and climate change connection, humanely raised meat and eggs, and farmworker welfare. It has received numerous awards for its work, from organizations including the James Beard Foundation, Chefs Collaborative, Natural Resources Defense Council, Seafood Choices Alliance, and The Humane Society of the United States.

For updates on the eatery’s construction progress and information about the grand opening, please follow Bon Appétit at Penn Dining’s Facebook page.

More about the University of Pennsylvania

The University of Pennsylvania, the country’s first university, is an Ivy League institution with a distinctive past. Its four undergraduate schools and 12 graduate and professional schools are located in Philadelphia on an attractive urban campus, a diverse community with more than 20,000 students from throughout the nation and around the world. Ranked consistently among the top 10 national universities in the annual U.S. News & World Report rankings of “America’s Best Colleges,” Penn has a longstanding reputation for excellence in graduate and professional education, with a number of its graduate and professional schools ranked at or near the top in their fields.

More about Chef Rick Bayless

Rick Bayless is chef and founding owner of three critically acclaimed and wildly successful Chicago restaurants: Frontera Grill (1987), Topolobampo (1989), and Xoco (2009). He changed the face of foodservice at O’Hare International Airport with his quick service Tortas Frontera, while Frontera Fresco has brought Frontera flavors to several Macy’s stores and Northwestern University. His award-winning Frontera line of salsas, cooking sauces, and chips can be found coast to coast. Rick has won multiple James Beard awards, including National Chef of the Year and Humanitarian of the Year. Rick’s highly rated PBS cooking show, Mexico—One Plate at a Time, is in its 9th season. In the show Bravo’sTop Chef Masters’ premiere season, Rick was crowned winner. http://www.rickbayless.com/

Beth Bayrd, [email protected], (215) 573-8636
Stacy Dixon, [email protected], (312) 595-1624