Cedar plank salmon, Mediterranean shrimp and Tuscan chicken breast are a few of the top selling items at the new Café Biscotti at Vi at Lakeside Village. Since it opened in early December, the renovated café has been a welcome change for residents and employees.
“It was time for an upgrade. We evaluated how people were using the space and determined the need for modernization, greater convenience and a wider food selection,” said John Vogelmeier, Assistant Vice President of Food and Beverage at Vi.
Vi at Lakeside Village Executive Chef Anthony Santomauro and Director of Dining Services Henrik Jespersen collaborated to create the menu.
“We offer a variety of options with a focus on Mediterranean fare,” Santomauro stated. “We added items for people on the go, and now provide hot breakfast with choices such as a Greek frittata and all-American fluffy scrambled eggs.” He plans to update the menu seasonally and offer specials that incorporate residents’ favorites.
The café’s new kitchen boasts state-of-the-art equipment—a Turbochef® oven, Merrychef oven and Electrolux Panini grill—all with built-in technology that cooks food faster without compromising quality. According to Jespersen, the new equipment will help the culinary team get meals prepared at a much quicker pace, but at the same high level of quality they have come to expect from the Vi.
Jespersen said, “The time it takes to make salmon has gone from about 10 minutes to two minutes and 17 seconds. And with the new panini machine, sandwiches come out hot and fresh in a matter of minutes.”
Santomauro noted that the new equipment also helps with training. “We program a standardized recipe card into the system, and regardless of who is making the dish, it will come out the same way every time. Diners can expect consistency and efficiency,” he said.
The speedy service at Café Biscotti gives residents and their guests an alternative to the more formal experience of the main dining room. According to Vogelmeier, “Now, you can order a sandwich and sit down right away. If your friend walks up, he can order quickly too, and you can enjoy your meal together.”
The café’s expanded dinner hours include a final seating at 7 p.m. to accommodate residents who want to eat dinner a little late. Additionally, to-go orders will also be taken until 7 p.m. so residents can sit in the outdoor space outside of the café and have a conversation with friends or family after the restaurant is closed.
Jespersen is excited for the opportunities ahead. “So far, people love the food. It looks and tastes really great,” he said. “Put that together with a beautiful, inviting space and it’s a win-win situation.”
According to resident Eleanor Levy, Café Biscotti is hitting the spot. “I had dinner in the new café, and it was great!” she said. The salmon and the strawberry blue cheese salad were so good, I don’t think they needed to wash my plates!”