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Dining in the round

Mountainside Café reopens, tantalizes taste buds

Created date

September 24th, 2013
A cheeseburger

Grilled chicken breast on a charred Portuguese roll with pesto mayo, baby arugula, fresh mozzarella, and roasted red peppers got you salivating? How about a Guinness-cheddar burger with caramelized onions on brioche? Or maybe a salad of fresh mixed greens topped with dried cranberries, sugared walnuts, avocado, and aged blue cheese is more your style. Whatever your taste buds crave, you re bound to find it at the newly renovated Mountainside Caf , at Cedar Crest, in Pompton Plains, N.J. One of five restaurants at the Erickson Living community, the Mountainside Caf has a new layout, menu, and atmosphere, making it more pleasing than ever. We ve gone outside the box with this renovation, says Executive Chef Jason Fernandi. The concept is to have one continuous menu so it s seamless throughout the day. You can come in at any time and get whatever you want breakfast for dinner? You got it.

Round about

The caf s cafeteria-style lineup is a thing of the past. Action stations arranged in an oval around the room have replaced the single cafeteria line. They include a grill station, saut station, soup bar, carving station, salad station, hot buffet, and a grab-and-go section. From sizzling salads to signature burgers and sandwiches, diners have more choice in their dining experience. And that s what the renovation aimed to accomplish. This layout and menu significantly increases their ability to choose, Fernandi says. They have infinite options; there is literally something for everybody. Fernandi joined the planning stages last January to help with menu design and resident feedback, which the community takes seriously. We held five or six focus groups teams of residents and staff to illicit feedback, Fernandi says. We had a great turnout, and the plans went through four different changes because of what we heard. Jeanne Shinn, a member of the Resident Advisory Council and the dining services committee, which helps liaise feedback between residents and management, says one of the most important features to residents was outdoor dining. Many of us like to eat outside on the patio, so are anxious for it to reopen, she says. The caf also features a glass conservatory, allowing diners to enjoy an outdoor atmosphere even during cold months.

Chef showcase

The caf , which reopened mid-September, has had positive feedback so far thanks in no small part to the training of Fernandi and his dining services team. Before we officially opened, our chefs went in and practiced to make sure we were familiar with the kitchen and the menu, Fernandi says. Additionally, chefs get to showcase their skills and cooking styles with specials available weekly, giving them a feeling of ownership and empowerment, and also giving the residents a chance to get to know the people behind the food.

Warm, comforting atmosphere

When you visit the Mountainside Caf , you ll notice more than the menu has changed. Reflecting the caf s name, the d cor has been updated to warm wood and earth tones. It s very embracing, Fernandi says. It s new and trendy but still conservative. To experience the new Mountainside Caf for yourself, call the sales office today at 1-800-541-6231 to schedule a tour of the community.