Philadelphia Zoo Announces New Culinary Partners

Philadelphia Zoo Announces New Culinary Program for Guests
Partners with Lancer Hospitality and STARR Catering Group with plans for a new restaurant in 2019

PHILADELPHIA, PA—(April 18, 2018) — Philadelphia Zoo has partnered with hospitality giants Lancer Hospitality and STARR Catering Group for new visitor dining and catering services. With extensive experience in the culinary and hospitality industry, Lancer will work with the Zoo’s Guest Relations team to focus on enhancing onsite visitor dining services while STARR Catering Group, one of the most innovative companies in the catering industry, will serve as the Zoo’s special and corporate events catering partner.

With the start of the spring season just underway, four new concepts offering fresh and local fare are open.
  • Aldo’s offers guests a choice of five made to order gourmet never frozen burgers and waffle fries. You can also find the Philly favorite Cheesesteak here.
  • Chicken and Waffle offers house-battered fried chicken delicacies along with decadent waffle and ice-cream desserts
  • Pranzo! is a made to order naan bread pizza concept offering a selection of 5 personal pizzas
  • World Taco, a new concept, serves up a fresh and exciting twist on Mexican favorites like tasty beef barbecue and chicken tacos, nachos and burritos. All tacos and burritos can be served with corn tortillas for a gluten-friendly option. Sides of guacamole, rice and beans and chips and salsa complete the authentic dishes.
“We are excited about our new partnership with Lancer Hospitality and STARR Catering Group,” says Dr. Andy Baker, Philadelphia Zoo’s Chief Operating Officer.  With each organization’s exceptional industry knowledge, quality-focused approach, brand equity and food excellence, we believe Zoo guests will have an outstanding dining and event experience at the Zoo,” says Dr. Baker.

In addition to providing exceptional dining services, Lancer and Philadelphia Zoo are committed to managing and modeling responsible sustainable operations, organic and solid waste recycling, using sustainable packaging and humane and local sourcing.

“We are energized by this new partnership and look forward to bringing our culinary passion to the entire visitor dining operation at Philadelphia Zoo," said Lancer Regional Vice President, Pete Virnig. "As a chef-driven company, we are committed to producing food that is innovative, seasonally-inspired and created with carefully selected ingredients, ever-mindful of our environmental responsibilities."
The partnership with Lancer Hospitality and STARR Catering Group is the beginning of a comprehensive overhaul of the guest amenities at Philadelphia Zoo. New investments include a, state-of-the-art dining facility, scheduled to open in 2019. This multi-million dollar, 20,000-square-foot, two-story restaurant will feature 650 seats, a roof top deck, a green roof infrastructure, a glass-enclosed pavilion and multiple dining concepts.  

“We are excited about creating new guests amenities including an amazing new restaurant in 2019,” says Amy Shearer, Chief Marketing Officer. “Now is the perfect time to reimagine dining as we embark on re-envisioning the entire guest and animal experience across the Zoo,” says Shearer.


Animals are on the move like never before at America's first zoo with the creation of Zoo360, a first-in-the-world animal trail and exploration system that encourage our most majestic creatures to travel above and across visitor pathways. The Zoo is situated on 42 acres and is home to more than 1,300 rare and endangered animals, including new baby western lowland gorillas, giraffes, hippos, white rhino, zebras, red pandas, African lions and more. Experience Zoo360, a first-in-the-world system of see-through mesh trails passing through treetops, crossing over pathways and connecting habitats, giving animals like amazing big cats, majestic primates and marvelous meerkats the opportunities to travel and explore. Visit award-winning exhibits like Key Bank Big Cat Falls, PECO Primate Reserve, McNeil Avian Center and KidZooU, a wildlife academy that offers dynamic displays, rare breeds and hands-on experiences. For more information visit

About Lancer Hospitality and STARR Catering Group
As part of the Elior North America family of companies, Lancer Hospitality and STARR Catering Group are experienced culinary management organizations with the unique ability to understand each client’s needs. Both companies are focused on creating memorable culinary experiences for the people and communities that they serve. These teams leverage global resources from Elior to invest in and manage dynamic dining programs and spectacular events across the United States.