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Taziki's at Mountainlair named Best On-Campus Food by WV Living Morgantown magazine

Add "award-winning" to the list of adjectives used to describe Taziki's Mediterranean Café.

The restaurant, donated by two West Virginia University alumni as a gift to WVU's College of Business and Economics, has been named Best On-Campus Food by WV Living Morgantown magazine. The designation is part of WV Living Morgantown 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.

Additionally, the Greek Chicken & Lemon Soup at Taziki's was named in the magazine's "12 Local Delights You Must Try" section that features a dozen local, tasty dishes. The two honors for the restaurant were announced in the magazine's February/March issue, currently on newsstands.

The "Best of Morgantown" Awards at the BOM Launch Party will be held on Feb. 15 at 5:30 p.m. at Morgantown Brewing Company. The public is invited.

"This is absolutely fantastic for Taziki's and the College," said Dr. Jose Sartarelli, Milan Puskar Dean, WVU College of Business and Economics. "I believe Taziki's represents a delicious, healthy choice that has really appealed to students and the University community as a whole."

Thanks to B&E graduates Doug Van Scoy, of Charleston, S.C., and Michael Bodnar, of Nashville, Tenn., Taziki's 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 eight other restaurant brands. The two alumni donated the restaurant, now one of 16 operating restaurants in the chain, to bolster the burgeoning Hospitality & Tourism program housed in the Management Department of the WVU business school. The restaurant serves as a working "lab" for students, and all net proceeds go to the Hospitality & Tourism program.

"Our readers overwhelmingly voted for Taziki's, and we were thrilled that there is now a second location at the Suncrest Towne Centre," said Nikki Bowman, editor and publisher of WV Living Morgantown. "Taziki's is one example of a business that helps make Morgantown a special place. The BOM awards give us an opportunity to celebrate tried and true favorites, draw attention to new and exciting additions, and basically bask in the abundance that makes our town great."

Sartarelli said Taziki's has been wildly successful in a number of respects. "Taziki's definitely offers something different to this University community. It offers delicious food, it's fresh and healthy, and because of all of those things, it has become increasingly popular. And the net proceeds are going to develop our Hospitality & Tourism program, which addresses the demands of the second-largest industry in West Virginia," he said.

B&E's Hospitality & Tourism program recently received an upgraded designation as an "area of emphasis" by WVU, which came about when the WVU business school 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.