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Dining at Oak Crest

Good friends and great selections are always on the menu

Created date

September 1st, 2016
Charlestown’s restaurants and menu selections offer a wide variety of choices and dining experiences every day.

Oak Crest’s restaurants and menu selections offer a wide variety of choices and dining experiences every day.

If you have been tightening the purse strings over the last few months and cooking at home to save a buck or two, you’re not alone. A new report by the market research firm NPD Group indicates Americans are cutting back on eating out. 

The report, featured in a recent Wall Street Journal article, shows visits to fast food restaurants like McDonald’s, Wendy’s, and Sonic, which have consistently grown by 2% each quarter since September 2015, stalled altogether in March, April, and May of this year. And visits to fast-casual restaurants, like Panera Bread and Chipotle, declined in May for the first time since 2004.

“When fast food growth comes to a halt, that’s a red flag because it’s been an area of growth, and it’s 80% of the industry,” NPD Restaurant Analyst Bonnie Riggs says in the article.

With rising menu prices, it’s not surprising that Americans are scaling back or skipping eating out in an effort to save money. But an unexpected group of diners, those living at Erickson Living communities like Oak Crest, in Parkville, Md., haven’t changed their eating habits.

Better together

Ellen and Charles Troebs dine with friends every night of the week at the Oak Room, one of five on-site restaurants at Oak Crest. 

“We usually eat breakfast and lunch here in our apartment and have dinner out in one of the restaurants,” says Charles. “There’s always something we can find that we like on the menu, and we enjoy eating with friends.”

Oak Crest’s restaurants are staffed with high school students who work as hosts and servers, who in addition to earning a paycheck, have the opportunity to earn scholarships toward college. 

“We have a phenomenal group of young people who work here,” says Charles. “They are well trained and just absolutely grand.” 

Flexible dining options

Thanks to Oak Crest’s flexible meal plan program, Hope Contox hasn’t felt the pinch on her wallet as much as some in the Parkville area.

“Eating at Oak Crest saves on my grocery bill,” says Hope. “I eat a lot of fruits and vegetables, which can get expensive.”

Residents can select either a daily meal plan, which provides one meal for every day of a given month at any of Oak Crest’s on-site restaurants, or a 20-meal plan, which provides 20 meals in any calendar month. Both plans allow residents to allocate meals any way they choose. 

“I eat in the restaurants every night,” says Hope. “I’m diabetic, and there is a good variety of things to choose from. I can also eat with friends, which is important to me. It’s really more than just having a meal. It’s a chance to meet new people and be social.” 

While a retirement community may not be the first place that comes to mind when you think of great food, don’t tell that to David Colacicco, dining services director at Oak Crest. He knows you don’t have to sacrifice quality or taste to serve food on a large scale. 

“Our goal is simple: make every dining experience at Oak Crest delightful,” says Colacicco. “Pleasing our residents is my main objective.” 

Healthy choices

In their pursuit to provide an exceptional culinary experience, last month Oak Crest rolled out its new Signature Dining program, an all-new, cooked-to-order menu.  

Oak Crest also offers diners easy ways to choose healthful foods through a program called Healthier Choice, which follows the USDA dietary guidelines for Americans and the American Heart Association’s recommendations with regard to the amount of fat, sodium, and sugar.

Smart Sweet, an alternative dessert program for people who want to avoid fat and sugar but still enjoy dessert after a meal, is also available.

Community members enjoy full access to nutritional information on the meals served in each of the five restaurants on My Nutrition, an easy-to-use website that empowers residents to make informed food choices. 

To keep things fresh, Colacicco and his team stay on top of the latest culinary trends.  

“We have a well-trained staff that is passionate about serving great food,” says Colacicco. “We attend trade shows, read culinary magazines, and we welcome resident feedback and do our best to fulfill those suggestions and requests.”