A milestone event happened at 11:30 am on August 22, 2017. The doors to the FSDB Dragon’s Lair Café opened and a new culinary adventure began! Campus staff members had been looking forward to the newest reboot of the Dragon’s Lair eatery.
As Director of Career Development Andrea Armstrong relayed, FSDB administration approached her last year to ask if the former Dragon’s Lair cafeteria would be a good fit for the Culinary Arts program objectives. The answer was “yes!” without hesitation. Armstrong also credits her supervisor, Tracie Snow, for providing the support needed to get up and running.
Armstrong and her team, including Kevin Voelker, Charles Raven, Renot Johnson, and Farrah Selleck, spent hours preparing for the grand event. On opening day, visitors were pleasantly welcomed by an array of product samples to enjoy, including fresh watermelon, two types of smoothies (strawberry banana and mixed berry), petite portions of hummus with pita slices, and coconut and key lime pies. The samples were intended to entice visitors’ palates and demo upcoming menu items.
The Dragon’s Lair Café offers a full salad bar, a sandwich station including hoagies, wraps, and paninis. Each week will bring a specialty sandwich such as a Cuban or French Dip. During the 2nd quarter of school, when students have more training and experience under their belts, the café offerings will expand. A weekly chef’s special is planned to reflect an ethnic focus, like an Italian pasta or Mexican burrito bar. Stews and soups will be featured in the cooler months. The team’s vision was to be a healthy options restaurant.
The FSDB Blind Department’s Cobra Corner offers a grill and deep fry options; it is the place to get a burger and fries and other comfort food. Armstrong carefully coordinated with Blind High School instructor Connie Oberman, who oversees the Cobra Corner, to make sure the two programs are complementary. On Mondays, Dragon Café’s Culinary Arts students take classes and preparation for their “SafeStaff Food Handlers” certification. (These are the days to head to Cobra Corner.) And on Fridays the Cobra Corner is closed to focus on the same objectives, and the Dragon’s Lair Café can serve hungry staff.
The Dragon’s Lair Café is presently open Tuesday thru Thursday from 11:30am – 1:00pm and Friday from 11:00 am–12:30 pm. Although they have received requests to open earlier and expand their menu items, Armstrong emphasized that the program will move forward cautiously; they don’t want to lose the essence of the culinary instructional program.
The Café opening had a few surprise activities prepped for their diners. Each table holds a miniature silver pail of sidewalk chalk, and the walls of the Café have been lined with chalkboard for diners to record their comments and feedback. So far, it has been all positive, and it is easy to see why. Bravo to Armstrong and her team for a successful cafeteria reinvention with a warm ambience and food that is designed for a healthy lifestyle!
By Christi Boortz, Instructional Services
The Florida School for the Deaf and the Blind (FSDB) is a fully accredited state public school and outreach center available tuition-free to eligible Pre-K and K-12 deaf/hard of hearing and blind/visually impaired students. Comprehensive educational services at FSDB are individualized, specific to the unique communication and accessibility needs of each student for independence and lifelong success. FSDB gratefully accepts private donations to support vital programs that directly benefit students and are not paid by state general revenue funds. To visit the school or to learn more about eligibility for enrollment, contact 1-800-344-3732. For more information, visit www.fsdb.k12.fl.us.