Monday update

Today, as a new employee I got to tour the city schools’ Central Nutrition Center out on Jackson. Pretty fascinating place… there they do as much advanced prep as possible to feed the schools’ 118,000 students every day. I got to see these enormous cooking vats, as well as systems that allow cooked product to be cooled for later distribution, without losing any of the food’s flavor. I also got to walk through the biggest refrigerator I’ve ever seen – that thing must’ve been close to the size of a football field.

Couple of interesting facts I learned… this year, MCS started serving breakfast free of charge to ALL students (not just those eligible for reduced-price meals). “We didn’t have federal funds to cover all of it,” they explained, “but we thought it would be worth it to go ahead and do it, knowing that students will perform better if they have a proper breakfast.” Lunches normally cost $1.50 (elementary) and $1.75 (secondary) but 75% of the students in the district are eligible for reduced-cost lunch, which lowers the price to 10 cents. Not bad… for a dime, 75% of the students can get two good meals a day. Once again, I tell ya, the city schools do a much better job than most people realize.

I had to wear a hairnet when I toured the kitchen… I kept it, maybe I’ll put it on tonight and take a pic.

Couple other notes:

– Isaac Hayes’ restaurant in Peabody Place closed yesterday. Mall management thinks they’ll have no problem leasing the space back out. That would be another good space for a large bookstore chain to consider.

– Meditrina has also closed (not sure exactly when). That location, if you ask me, needs a different type of business than the niche restaurants (Meditrina, and before that Samovar) that have been there. Something that grabs the attention of people walking out of Parking Can Be Fun and looking for a place to eat before the ballgame or Orpheum show… whereas, Meditrina and before that Samovar were kind of destinations of their own. Seems to me that something with a menu similar to Huey’s/Big Foot/Sleep Out’s would work well.

Another post to come soon, so check back.