New MUS Cafe and Lunch Area Spark Gustatory Adventures
By Alexandra Wellman (’23)
Standing in line to purchase hot lunch, Jessica Podolsky (‘20) tries to peek through the swarm of people to see what’s on the menu, ready to get her hands on the day’s meal. “I love how convenient it is to get lunch here,” Jessica states, adding how “ it’s not only easy to just swing by and pick it up but it’s also delicious.”
This year the SDJA hot-lunch has had a major influx of hungry customers. Why? Because, thanks to the new Lion’s Cafe, the lunch experience has been changed for the better.
In past years, students had to walk from the upper school to the lower school playground to pick up their hot lunches. This process took precious time out of students’ short break. Upon arriving at SDJA, Executive Chef Giselle Wellman, took it upon herself to change the hot lunch experience in the Maimonides Upper School. Just two years later, the Lion’s Café opened to the hungry Lions in the upper school.
The new Lions Café was the perfect solution to students’ lunch problems.
However, the success of the Lion’s Cafe has not come without hardship. The new café brought the challenge of more students coming in to receive lunch every day. “I’m a lot busier this year moving food from one kitchen to the other but it feels great to be able to feed more people,” Giselle Wellman shared.
With the shortened wait time and easy access to the café, more students choose to buy lunch. However, the increase of students has made it harder to keep track of each person who walked in the door. The solution? Each student now has a PIN number which they type into a computer before selecting their meal.
Which, of course, brings its own technological difficulties.
Although it may sound simple, memorizing a PIN number does not top the list for most students. Mrs. Anna Falkiewicz, MUS Dean of Students, who helps out at the Lions Café every day, expressed that it was definitely frustrating at first to have to remind students of their PIN every day. Despite the difficulties, every student who remembers their PIN number means faster food for everyone else.
Although there have been some twists and turns along the way, there is one thing the Lions Café has definitely done right–the food! For example, students all know that Wednesdays are pizza days, lining up ahead of time pouring in as soon as lunch starts.
When asked about past meals she has enjoyed at the Lions’ Café, Noa Rosenbaum (’23) says, “I am never disappointed by the food. Regardless of what is served, it is always delicious.”
Bringing the school healthy lunches has been the main goal for the Lions Café. Ms. Wellman explains that, “Just because it tastes good doesn’t mean it has to be unhealthy. I always try to incorporate fruits, vegetables, and healthy ingredients into the lunches for the students.” One of the delicious meals that exhibits this perfectly is a campus favorite: butternut squash macaroni and cheese. “Yes! It’s mac and cheese day” students excitedly whisper in class rooms, hallways, and all around school. Diego Kohan (’22), already excited for the next one, says “I honestly never knew it had butternut squash! I think it’s great to know that the delicious lunch that I eat all the time is good for me, too.”
Eitan Breziner (’20) savors every bite of his chicken fingers and potato wedges .
Photo by Alexandra Wellman (’23)
The Lions’ Café is not the only recent addition to the SDJA lunch experience; students are also making good use out of the handsome new tables, a welcome replacement for some of the old worn out tables. These new brown wooden tables have improved the ambiance of students’ lunch time experience. “The tables added a sense of community to SDJA, since some of the new tables are bigger they’ve allowed more people to sit together.” Kate Aizin (‘22) shares.
SDJA is experiencing a new lunch-time dynamic. Bringing hot, healthy, and delicious lunches to the MUS, and adding new, unifying tables and a more efficient delivery system has sparked an eating renaissance on campus. What delicious item will you have for lunch tomorrow at the Lions Café?