Wolfgang Puck Express Enters Healthcare Market

The location is the only retail concept in the hospital.

By Becky Schilling, Editor

CLEVELAND—The first Wolfgang Puck Express location in a hospital is scheduled to open in August at the new University Hospital Seidman Cancer Center on the campus of UH Case Medical Center. The Wolfgang Puck Express will be a 2,500-square-foot, 55-seat café in the cancer center’s lobby, according to Michelle Angelozzi, operations manager of nutrition services for Sodexo, which manages foodservice at the cancer center. The Express location will be the only retail operation in the new cancer center. Angelozzi says the cancer center is one “tentacle” of Case Medical Center’s campus, so she expects traffic to flow from the main hospital to the Express location and from the cancer center to the main hospital’s retail operations. The cancer center is connected to the main hospital on three different floors and Angelozzi adds that signage will be posted to direct traffic from the main hospital to the Express location.

Customers at the Wolfgang Puck Express will be able to order food to be freshly prepared or select from premade items such as Greek salads, pesto chicken salad sandwiches and yogurt parfaits for breakfast if they don’t want to wait for their food to be prepared
or place a takeout order. Catering also will be offered from the Express location.

According to Angelozzi, selecting Wolfgang Puck Express was a natural fit for the hospital. “Wolfgang Puck is a longtime supporter of University Hospital,” Angelozzi says. “He serves as the honorary chairman for our Five Star Sensation, a culinary benefit that has raised more than $10 million for University Hospitals. We think it will do really well. It really relates to what we’re trying to do with our motto at UH.”

Angelozzi added that both Wolfgang Puck and UH nutrition services have similar food philosophies. “When you look at what Wolfgang Puck’s concept is and what his beliefs are it’s really a great complement to the patient-centered, healing-oriented cancer hospital,” she says. “Wolfgang Puck really emphasizes locally grown foods. His big things are humanely treated animals, sustainable sources for seafood, organic and vegetarian menu items. When we looked at picking Wolfgang as our retail spot of choice, we really looked at his advocacy on fresh ingredients and that’s been a big driving force with a lot of concepts out there now.”

Ryan Hamel, executive chef for Sodexo at the cancer center, says his staff has been working closely with Taylor Boudreaux, executive chef at Wolfgang Puck Worldwide in Los Angeles, to develop the menu. Hamel says that for the most part his team is able
to take the Wolfgang Puck Express model and implement it directly into the hospital setting. They are, however, making a few changes to fit in more with the hospital’s wellness theme.

“We’re tweaking a couple of recipes [that are on the Express menu] to make them more wellness oriented,” Hamel says. “There are a couple of signature items on Express menus where we can take things like mayonnaise out. For example, the turkey club we’ve modified a little bit. It’s not going to have bacon or mayonnaise. We’re building it out with more fresh ingredients like avocados and fresh-baked signature focaccia.”

The hospital’s Express location will have many of the same menu items as other Express locations, including wood-oven baked pizzas, pastas, sandwiches, soups and salads.

“The Wolfgang Puck Express is also going to have a real positive impact with the community,” Hamel adds. “We’ll use Wolfgang Puck’s philosophy for using purveyors of humanely treated animals and locally sourced products and it will open [those concepts] up for other local restaurants.”

For his part, Wolfgang Puck says, “I’m excited to partner with University Hospitals to open our newest restaurant. We look forward to offering patients, family members, employees and visitors a fun and casual dining setting with fresh food using the highest quality, seasonal ingredients.”