By Valerie Franchi, Contributing Writer
Region – In the midst of a three-year $62.4 million renovation to completely update the infrastructure, Assabet Valley Regional Technical High School is still serving up tasty meals for a great value at its Epicurean Restaurant.
Located in the rear of the Marlborough school, the eatery is a full-service restaurant with a Bistro theme that can accommodate 110 diners.
The restaurant opened its doors Oct. 9 and it is already going strong. Open Wednesday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., the most popular day is Thursday with the $8.70 all-you-can-eat buffet, including a salad bar, beverage and dessert. Sample dishes include chicken parmesan, stuffed pork loin, roasted potatoes, and roasted seasonal vegetables.
About 50 Culinary Arts students are led by three chefs and a hospitality instructor to plan the menu and prepare, cook, and serve the meals.
On the a la carte menu there are about 20 items, including soups and sandwiches, entrees, desserts, and daily specials. The menu, which features seasonal dishes, changes about every six weeks.
According to Kerri Baltramaitis, hospitality instructor, the students are welcome, even encouraged, to suggest new recipes. “They often bring in recipes that they want to try,” she said.
The kitchen and dining area are constantly bustling – on Thursdays, the busiest day, the students serve about 125 people in two hours.
Many are repeat customers. “We have a lot of senior citizens,” Baltramaitis said. “They have time to come in and it's very affordable for them.”
The restaurant allows the students to get to know local residents. “It's a good chance for the students and community to mix,” Baltramaitis said.
Two of the restaurant's most popular events are the Easter brunch, with around 400 people served in the school's cafeteria, and the pre-Thanksgiving bake sale. “People line up outside the door and around the building” to stock up on a variety of cakes, pastries and pies on Tuesday before Thanksgiving, said pastry chef Margo Wilson.
Assabet Valley's Culinary Arts program prepares students for all jobs in the hospitality industry. In addition to running the restaurant, the students offer full-service catering, both in the restaurant and in the community. “We do about a dozen outside catering jobs a month,” Baltramaitis said.
The restaurant is open through June. There is a special parking lot near the entrance to the restaurant, with handicap accessible parking as well. Reservations are recommended and can be made by calling the restaurant at 508-263-9865. For catering menus and pricing, call Baltramaitis at 508-263-9870 or visit www.assabettech.com.