Taziki's Mountainlair gets repeat honor: Best On-Campus Food by WV Living Morgantown magazine

March 4, 2013
Best of Morgantown Magazine Cover

The Taziki's Mediterranean Café on the campus of West Virginia University has won the hearts — and the appetites — of the university community.

For the second consecutive year, Taziki's at the WVU Mountainlair has been named Best On-Campus Food by WV Living Morgantown magazine. The designation is part of the magazine's "Best of Morgantown" awards, which announces the town's top features and attractions, from restaurants to shopping to service providers. Taziki's offers fresh, healthy food inspired by Greek and Mediterranean cooking.

"We couldn't be happier about this honor for Taziki's and the College," said Dr. Jose Sartarelli, Milan Puskar Dean, WVU College of Business and Economics (B&E). "The University community has really embraced this restaurant because the food is good, it's healthy and it's a fantastic alternative to the other food choices that are available in the Mountainlair."

Taziki's Mountainlair was donated by two West Virginia University alumni as a gift to bolster the burgeoning Hospitality & Tourism program housed in the Management Department of B&E. The gift from B&E graduates Doug Van Scoy, of Charleston, S.C., and Michael Bodnar, of Nashville, Tenn., opened at the Mountainlair in August 2010 as the first Taziki's property in West Virginia.

Van Scoy and Bodnar are principals in Fresh Hospitality, a Birmingham, Alabama-based company that owns the Taziki's chain and several other restaurant brands. The Mountainlair location is one of 23 operating restaurants in the chain and serves as a working "lab" for students. All net proceeds go to the Hospitality & Tourism program.

"The food is fresh and delicious, and that has had overwhelming appeal," said Sartarelli. "It's a Taziki's policy that there are no freezers on the premises of the restaurant, so there is a definite emphasis on freshness. The popularity of the restaurant continues to grow, and we're very happy to see that."

B&E's Hospitality & Tourism program is currently designated as an "area of emphasis" by WVU, which came about when the business college developed four core courses in the Department of Management and Industrial Relations. The core courses for the program include Hospitality & Tourism Leadership, Hotel Operations, Tourism Management and Restaurant Operations Management. Sartarelli said plans are to develop the program into a full academic major.

"The response to our Best of Morgantown poll was incredibly enthusiastic," said Editor in Chief and Publisher Nikki Bowman. "The second annual BOM awards give us a chance to celebrate Morgantown's best and brightest, draw attention to the rising stars, and showcase the area's most unique elements, all in an effort to support local businesses, personalities and culture."