Penn State Brandywine forms strategic partnership with local restaurant

Marilyn and two epic double decker employees holding inside-outs, one of the restaurant's signature dishes

Chancellor Marilyn Wells (center) standing with Epic Double Decker's Ted Kardon (right) and Spiro Karalis (left) after making inside-outs, one of the restaurant's signature dishes. 

Credit: Penn State

MEDIA, Pa. — Penn State Brandywine has established a partnership with local restaurant Epic Double Decker in Media. Patton Vo, director of Campus Development explained that, as part of Brandywine’s strategic plan, “New Opportunities, New Stories,” one of the campus’ goals is to increase visibility by partnering with private and local businesses in the Media area. Doing this, Vo said, would help promote Brandywine in the community.

The partnership arose when Ted Kardon, president of Epic Double Decker, said he wanted to increase the company’s appeal to the college-student demographic and approached Vo with the idea.

“During a staff meeting, we tasked our marketing team with reaching out to Penn State Brandywine, a campus I knew was a customer of ours. The response we received was not only amazing but also exciting,” Kardon explained. “Our initial meeting with Patton Vo, director of development at Penn State Brandywine, marked the beginning of a fantastic connection with this outstanding organization.”

To put this plan into action, Vo, along with Brandywine Chancellor Marilyn J. Wells, collaborated to make the partnership a reality.

“We hope that we will be able to partner with other small businesses in our community to further extend our reach,” Vo said. “Part of our strategic plan includes supporting the economic development of local companies in our community, not only to increase visibility but to also support Penn State’s land-grant mission.”

Wells said, “I am very excited about our partnership with Epic and what we will create together! This partnership is an exemplar of our strategic priority to establish Penn State Brandywine as a valued economic, community and educational partner in Media and throughout the region and the world.” 

This partnership is an exemplar of our strategic priority to establish Penn State Brandywine as a valued economic, community and educational partner in Media and throughout the region and the world.

—Chancellor Marilyn J. Wells

Vo touched on why this partnership is important to Brandywine, stating it helps students to support local and small businesses.

“This partnership is so important to Brandywine because it exposes our students to civic responsibility, gets them to engage with the community, and supports local and small businesses that are also helping and supporting our students,” he said. “This partnership is really about coming together, and it's the epitome of what community is all about.”

As part of the partnership, the company will provide paid internships in fields including marketing, business and food science; provide research opportunities for students studying food science; and help sponsor events throughout the academic year, including Homecoming and Family Weekend, the Brandywine Ball and more.

According to Kardon, Epic Double Decker emerged from the backgrounds of former manufacturers specializing in "Philadelphia-style" cheesesteak products. The family-owned company made a strategic shift toward the forefront of the retail business with a keen interest in understanding consumer trends and needs more comprehensively, Kardon added.

To kick-start the program, Epic Double Decker visited Penn State Brandywine on Dec. 6 and gave away free "inside-outs," one of the restaurant’s signature dishes, fried dough with pizza ingredients in its center. Epic employees also gave away phone stands, gift cards, pens and more.

Epic Foods is the first off-campus, local company in the Media area to accept Lion Cash, Penn State’s electronic currency that students use on campus. Members of the Penn State Brandywine community are able to receive a 12% discount using the code “PSB12” at checkout.