Through the years, SU’s iconic figures have been honored with buildings bearing their names, from Garrand to Lemieux to, most recently, McGoldrick. Yet the very latest monument to SU greatness is not of the brick-and-mortar variety. No, this particular homage has been constructed with batter, sugar and a lot of apples.
Behold the “Popko Fritter,” a culinary delight now retailing for $2.50 at The Byte, the café in the Lemieux Library and McGoldrick Learning Commons. The fritter, of course, is named for University Librarian John Popko, the driving force behind the library and learning commons project, which was brought to stunning completion last month.
The idea for the Popko Fritter was hatched by Annie Beckmann (Marketing Communications) following a visit to The Byte. Beckmann conferred with Buzz Hofford of Bon Appétit, who was amenable. But what sort of food would best carry the Popko name? That was the question.
A number of possibilities (including “Popko’s Popcorn”) were bandied about and ultimately abandoned before Librarian Mary Sepulveda did some detective work and uncovered Popko’s weakness for apple fritters. (All the while, not a word of this was breathed to the intended honoree.)
And so it was that an unsuspecting Popko was accompanied by Library Administrative Coordinator and co-conspirator Melissa Chamberlain for a mysterious meeting at The Byte on Oct. 12. “Some people say you should have dessert before lunch because life is short,” Hofford said before presenting the first Popko Fritter to its namesake. With a gleam in his eye, the university librarian acknowledged his fritter fanaticism and gratefully dug in.
Hofford says a vegan sandwich was named for a student a couple years ago, but the Popko Fritter is the first item sold by Bon Appétit that is named for a faculty or staff person.