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Cafe congregate dining - Keaton - edited

A senior dining site that feels like a cafe

Imagine savoring grilled chicken served with roasted summer beets and farro and fresh seared spinach, while chatting casually with friends. No, you’re not dining at a downtown bistro; you’re enjoying a made-to-order gourmet meal at the Sebastopol Senior Center, courtesy of Council on Aging’s congregate dining program.

During the month of August, COA is piloting a new café-style approach to dining at the Senior Center that allows patrons to drop by Monday through Thursday between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m., and choose from among four menu items, each of which is accompanied by a fresh side salad.

On Friday, the dining program offers a special brunch menu of four items, also from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Previously COA’s congregate dining program provided only one menu item, with just one seating. With this more contemporary, customized way of catering to patron’s tastes, Council on Aging hopes to boost attendance at the Sebastopol congregate dining site, which has been declining in recent years.

COA requests a donation of $4 from patrons over 60 for the entrée. For people under 60, the cost is $6.50 per meal. Menu items change every two weeks.

“We are working hard to enhance diners’ experience at the dining site, by offering a range of restaurant-quality entrées that are prepared according to their specifications, and delivered by a trained server,” said Charles Lindner, Council on Aging’s Director of Senior Nutrition Services and Kitchen Operations.

Lindner has been working at the Sebastopol Senior Center all of the month of August to train volunteers how to cook and serve the meals. “So far we’re gotten a great response and people are very enthusiastic about the changes, including the volunteers and senior center staff,” he said.

“We’re hoping the program will prove to be a catalyst for bringing new people to the center who can take advantage of all of the other great programs the Sebastopol Senior Center has to offer,” Lindner pointed out.

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