Tried and True: Carnegie Mellon’s Very Own Pittsburgh Restauranteur

Mark Hastie is the owner and operator of three dining locations on Carnegie Mellon University’s campus – The Underground in Morewood Gardens, The Zebra Lounge in the College of Fine Arts, and SEIber Café in the Software Engineering Institute.

Additionally, Mark and Matt owned and operated one of the longest-running and award-winning restaurants in Pittsburgh from 1989 to 2013 – Gullify’s Restaurant in Squirrel Hill. Gullifty’s won the “Best Desserts in Pittsburgh” award for 30 years in a row, as well as “Best Late Night” place to eat, “Best Neighborhood Restaurant,” and “Best Sandwich Menu.”

Mark has been a part of the university community for 15 years. Let’s learn more about him!

Tell us about how you got started in the food industry.

In high school, I had a job busing tables at the William Penn Hotel and also at the Carlton Restaurant. In college, I worked at a pizza shop that was part of a restaurant group. I worked my way up through all the group locations and eventually bought out the owner of Gullifty’s with my brother.

What do you like most about Carnegie Mellon University?

I love that CMU is dedicated to the student experience in all ways – from empowering them to be involved in the life of the school, to making sure they have a safe and comfortable environment, to offering them a great dining experience.

How do you develop your menu(s)?

I’ll try something new and think, “wow, that’s something!” I’ll be traveling and see or smell something that I have to try.  I’ll see a new trend or ingredient and experiment with it.

What’s something special you’ve done at one of your locations that has really been a hit?

From time to time we get requests from the residents in Morewood for a theme night. One year we had a Pan-Asian night. The residents helped plan the menu, prepared and served the food, and worked the registers for the event. That was a big hit.

Why are you passionate about food?

Everything is enhanced by food. A good meal in any situation makes everyone feel better. If you think about it, almost any celebration or gathering you’ve ever been a part of centers around food.

Personally speaking, what’s your preference – cook in or dine out?

Cook in.

What is your favorite kind of meal?

The one someone else makes for me, since I’ve been in the restaurant business nearly my entire life. I also love the black box challenge – open the refrigerator door and create something from what’s on hand.

All-time favorite food:

Any kind of seafood.

Where have you traveled recently? Do you have any more trips planned?

We spent last year exploring America: Louisville, Nashville, Memphis, Phoenix, Key West, and Lake Erie. Next up is the Bahamas in June!

Mark cave diving in Florida.

Cave diving in Florida

Outside of food and work, what are some of your hobbies/interests?

I love to play tennis and golf and also enjoy sailing, wine making, traveling, and scuba diving.

What kinds of wine do you make? 

All hearty reds from California grapes. Sangiovese, Zinfandel, Allicante, Cabernet, Merlot, Petit Syrah, and Pinot Noir. I make it with two other guys and we all take it with us wherever we go so everyone gets a bottle or two for Christmas, birthdays, or casual dinners. Occasionally, I’ll do a small batch of a white or fruit wine.

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