Places to Go!
Less formal, more casual bistro settings
“The expectation of residents is different now,” says Barbara chappetta, RD, LDN, corporate director of culinary and nutrition services for AcTS Retirement-Life communities. “There was a time when seniors were happy to eat in a large formal dining room. But now, they want a more intimate, less formal bistro setting. They want it to be a gathering place.”
New “third places” are also cropping up, resulting in more dining venue options than ever before for residents. Here are a few:
Alonzo’s Tucson Grille at Splendido, a Mather LifeWays community in Tucson, AZ, is one of three dining venues with separate menus that share one kitchen, designed to service the three areas. Minor changes to the menu make this easy for chefs, but the three menus seem very diverse. The other restaurants are Marbella (more formal, see below) and Bella Vista Terrace (outdoor style dining).
Marbella, Splendido’s traditional elegant dining venue, has the basic menu that chefs tweak to create different dishes at Alonzo’s and Bella Vista. Some typical menu items at Marbella are trout almandine, eggplant parmesan, prime rib and wok-seared salmon (shown).
Next, at Alonzo’s, that same eggplant parmesan becomes a “chef’s nightly entrée choice.” The trout gets rusted in nuts. And the prime rib from Marbella is sliced into grilled Del Monico steaks for Alonzo’s. The Alonzo’s menu then gets a unique menu offering, such as a Thai barbecued chicken.
At Avon Lake Towne Center in Avon Lake, OH, a private dining room (behind the blue bay window) is available for residents who want to host private parties. Many times, it’s a great opportunity for large families to come visit. Food can be ordered off the menu, at $7 per person, or the chef is available to help plan a menu.
Tryon Estates is an ACTS Retirement-Life Community in Columbus, NC. Tryon’s country kitchen is an example of culture change in the senior living industry, as providers create more home-like environments for residents.
Patent’s Place is a casual bar featuring organic flat-bread pizzas made-to-order. This is one of six different dining venues at The Mather, a Mather LifeWays community in Evanston, IL, that opened in October of this year.
31 is a tranquil fusion dining option at The Mather in Evanston. Water walls create a soothing scene. Also among the dining venues are a chop house concept, rooftop dining and a backyard BBQ setting.
Wine pairings delight at San Joaquin Gardens, an ABHOW retirement community (a Sodexo account), in Fresno, CA. “It’s so rewarding to work in an environment like this,” says Yannick Himber, director of dining services. “A 95-year-old woman told me, with tears in her eyes, that she hadn’t had a margarita in 15 or 20 years.”
Raising the Bar
The Taste of Benedictine Hospitality event features dietary staff from across the Benedictine Health System and their culinary creations. Contests get staff excited about new ideas that go on to raise customer satisfaction, says Rich Daehn, director of BHS nutritional centers of excellence program. The winning dish was “Bacon Wrapped Shrimp.” Entries were judged by two sponsors and two Benedictine Sisters.