Some University of South Carolina students did their part in making some Thanksgiving Day meals a little tastier this year.
The students served up homemade chocolate walnut pies and tomato pie kits Tuesday during the last day of the annual McCutchen House Pie Day Sale. The event was sponsored by USC’s School of Hotel, Restaurant and Tourism Management and was held at the McCutchen House on the historic Horseshoe.
“It’s a community effort for us,” McCutchen House director Neil Smoak said. “The big part is our community outreach to keep the McCutchen House name in the community.”
The house – one of the most popular on-campus eateries – serves as a training ground for Hotel, Restaurant and Tourism Management students who take dining, culinary and wine classes and host special events throughout the year.
Smoak said the pie sale helps keep the McCutchen House on the minds of its guests during the holidays.
“It makes us feel good because we’re doing something that people want,” he said. “They get excited because our school is a hospitality school. These students want to be interactive with their customers and people drive up and it’s just that excitement of the holidays.”
This week’s sale – the 10th of the event – showcased two kinds of pies that could be preordered on the house’s website and picked up on campus just in time for the fall holiday.
Chocolate walnut pies, the house’s signature dessert, were sold for $12, and tomato pie baker’s dozen kits, which included individual pie shells and ingredients for the filling, cost $15. The order came with a complementary reusable shopping bag with the McCutchen House logo and a card displaying upcoming events and classes offered at the school.
Early pick-up was scheduled for last Friday and again on Monday. Tuesday was the main pick-up day at the house’s parking lot as guests carried away 400 of the more than 600 pies that had been ordered. HRTM students and faculty members prepared the pies earlier this week and last week.
Ben Waring, director of communications for the College of Hospitality, Retail and Sport Management, thinks the work at the McCutchen House presents a great visual for the university throughout the community, especially during the holiday season.
“It gets us involved in (their) holiday by (their) taking home a piece of pie from McCutchen House. People just rave about it when they come here,” Waring said. “We get tweets, Facebook posts and all kinds of follows about how much they have enjoyed their experience here so taking a piece of it home with you is neat.”
Proceeds from the pie sales go to the school and various department clubs.
Originally built as a faculty house in 1813, the McCutchen House has stood through the Civil War and changing landscape of the university. Today, HRTM students offer a variety of dining options for the public throughout the year.
Lunch is served at the house from 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, featuring a rotating menu, in the spring and fall semesters. The house also offers private dining events on Thursday and a grill menu during the summer months that includes hot dogs and hamburgers.
“Our students are learning everything from the front of the house to the back of the house that will help them in management skills later in life because in order to run an establishment like this you need to know the ins and outs of it all,” Waring said.
As a senior graduating in December, Brittany MacGeorge says her time in the HRTM School and working in McCutchen House has prepared here for the restaurant world.
“From a management perspective I can see that there are so many new things to bring out that any restaurant can benefit from. Mr. Smoak helps us to be better managers and how to handle certain situations,” MacGeorge said.
The pie sale was the biggest yet in the fall holiday tradition and just one of the many events the college holds each year.
“There’s some many good things the college does, so many visual things on campus and with McCutchen House being on campus and on the Horseshoe. It’s something they have established for several years now and it’s neat for the community,” Waring said.
To schedule a reservation, call (803) 777-4450.