New Harrisburg restaurant gives students flexible employment opportunity

If you stop by Harrisburg’s newest restaurant, Freshido, be sure to say hello to one, or several of the 20 Harrisburg University students working at the Asian-fusion restaurant just down the street from the University.

You read that right.

General Manager Tia Huong Pham, an HU graduate, hired 20 HU students to work at Freshido, which opened in the Strawberry Square retail and office complex at 300 Market St. on Oct. 30.

Pham, who graduated from HU with a Bachelor’s degree in eBusiness earlier this year, said she hired the students because she wanted to give back to the University.

“When I went to HU, I didn’t have a job with a flexible schedule,” Pham said. “I understand what it is like to be a student and work at the same time, so I work around their schedules. And Freshido is close. Many of the students aren’t from around here and don’t have their own transportation. This helps students use their time wisely while they are in school.”

In the top left photo, Tia Huong Pham, foreground, is pictured with Isaiah Harris and Tina Johnson.

HU students generally work two-to-three shifts per week at the restaurant, said Pham, who hopes to hire more HU students to give her workers even more flexibility.

Isaiah Harris, a freshman Environmental Science major, jumped at the opportunity to work at the restaurant after he saw an advertisement posting the job on Facebook.

“I worked in food service before, so it was right up my alley,” the Philadelphia native said. “And it’s next door, so it’s convenient.”

Tina Johnson, a freshman Biology major, echoed the sentiment.

“It fits with my schedule, and my manager is a former HU student. She understands what it’s like to be a student, and works around our classes.”

Students aren’t the only familiar faces you’ll see at Freshido.

HU staff and professors already are regulars of the restaurant, where employees help you create your own Asian bowl dishes. Much like Subway, customers walk down a line and tell employees what to add to their bowls. There’s more than 65 items available, ranging from rice and zucchini noodles to tuna, chicken, beef, scallops and an array of vegetables, spices and sauces.

And like the name says, everything is fresh and healthy, including the beverages, said Pham, who beams when she talks about her new position, which she said puts her eBusiness degree to work.

In fact, Pham worked for the owners of Freshido at another restaurant while she attended HU. Since they knew that she earned a business degree from the University, they asked her to manage their new restaurant.

Prior to attending HU, Pham graduated from SciTech High School about a block east of Freshido. She never dreamed she would attend high school, college and launch her restaurant management career within the same two blocks.

“Everything has happened for me along this street,” said Pham, who said she hopes her latest position helps push her toward one day owning a restaurant of her own. That is after Freshido opens its second restaurant in the Hershey area, and possibly in a yet-to-be-determined area of the midstate.

Freshido is open 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Saturday.

HU students and staff get a 10 percent discount at the register. Just remember to show your green HU badge at the counter.

For more information about Freshido, visit the restaurant’s website.

Accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education, Harrisburg University is a private non-profit university offering bachelor and graduate degree programs in science, technology, and math fields. For more information on the University’s affordable demand-driven undergraduate and graduate programs, call 717.901.5146 or email,