New to the Lunch Menu

New to the Lunch Menu

Logan Magagnotti, Writer

If you’ve paid any attention to our lunch menu lately, you probably noticed that there were a few new additions last week. The new additions include Lasagna, Big Daddy’s Cheese Pizza, Tortellini Alfredo, and Pepperoni or Three Cheese Calzones.

I took it upon myself to ask Mr. Reitz about his new additions and even some of his previous additions to the lunch menu. Here’s what he had to say.

How did you decide the items to put on the menu? My goal is to make kids excited about lunch and the cafeteria.  So in doing that, I’m always watching for new items/ideas to come out that I could make work in our cafeterias.  This year I’ve been to two different food shows geared towards school meals, sampling products, talking to sales people and other Food Service Directors about things that their students like & dislike.  So how I decide to put an item on the menu is I find the concept, see if we can make the price work, see if we can make it work in our kitchen, and taste it.  If it is something that passes through all that, then we put it on the menu.  If I wouldn’t eat it, I don’t want to serve it.  I eat the same things the students eat, I want my lunch to be good too.

Is it hard to think of new menu items that follow the guidelines for our school lunches? At times it is tricky to come up with new items.  For us to be able to serve it, it must meet the nutritional guidelines set by the government, and be cost effective.  I’d love to offer a Fettuccine Alfredo or a sausage gravy over biscuits, but unfortunately those would never meet the fat restrictions.

Have you had positive or negative feedback on any specific items so far? I get feedback from time to time.  Just last week some tweets came through about the donuts at breakfast and the Ham & bean soup.  When something comes out, there a few kids I have a good rapport with that I’ll ask.  I’m always happy to receive a compliment and just as happy to get CONSTRUCTIVE criticism.  Students are my customers, I need to serve things they like.  For example, the new south west steak wrap.  We tweaked the peppers and onions in it based off of what students said.  Somethings we’ve brought out didn’t go over well, so we stopped serving them.

Are you considering adding anything new before the end of the year? Aside from the things we’re doing this week, I would really like to get some Chinese food in here.  Fried rice, with some General Tso’s or Teriyaki Chicken.  Something like that.  I’ve got a few leads and am working with some manufacturers and our food supplier and will hopefully make that happen.

It’s nice to know that the person in charge of our school lunches is so devoted to making them as yummy as possible. Mr. Rietz really seems to go the extra mile whenever it comes to giving us a full and healthy stomach. We can’t wait to see what’s to come and we love the effort you’ve put into the lunch menu so far!

Feel free to follow the Redbank Valley Cafe Twitter page at @rbvalleycafe for daily updates to the lunch and breakfast menu.