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Woodhaven offers restaurant-style dining
ell kl woodhaven
This employee at Woodhaven Care Home in Ellinwood is doing prep work for the new restaurant-style meals offered. They even offer take-out. - photo by KAREN LA PIERRE

ELLINWOOD — Woodhaven Care Home has begun offering restaurant style dining to its residents and visitors.With a restaurant-style menu, residents can order a wide variety of fresh food all at a dining table with a dining cloth.
“Everything is homemade including the salad dressing,”  both Ranch and Dorothy Lynch, said William Thatcher, certified dietary manager.  “Residents can order anything,” off the menu for breakfast and lunch.
For community members, the cost is $4 and they can get food to go.
“The menus are changed every day and includes a lunch special,” said Thatcher. The Lunch Special for last Friday was white fish in white wine. Also served was pound cake with strawberries and whipped cream, and seasoned corn with rosemary.
They serve turkey, stuffing and mashed potatoes, beer battered cod, chef salad, crab cakes, rice pilaf and potato boats.
They will soon start having salmon and trout, and liver and onions.
Thatcher adheres to strict food standards. “We save food only for three days after prep instead of seven allowed by the state,” said Thatcher.
“Everything is temperature controlled.” The state requires that the temperature of each meal be taken and recorded.
Breakfast is any cereal, any eggs, any toast or waffles with sausage or bacon and biscuits with gravy.
Residents appreciate the offerings. “They have started a resident’s council to tell us what they like,” said Thatcher. “Everything on the menu is made in 10 minutes or less,” said Thatcher, whose vision it was to begin the program.
Thatcher’s idea took 6-9 months to develop the entrees to meet the dietary requirements for special diets such as no salt and diabetic diets. The diets have been approved by a dietician, and the trick was modifying them to work in a skilled nursing home for even those on pureed diets.
“It’s been a big success with patients,” said Karel Page, hospital administrators. “The biggest complaint is that it is too much food.” Patients now can order half orders.
It has also been good for the patient’s health. People tend to lose weight in skilled nursing, and the new program has helped them maintain their weight.
“Residents love it,” said Page. “It has made a lot of difference.”
    The staff loves the food as well, and it is offered to them at a reduced price.
Breakfast is from 7-9 a.m. and lunch is 11 a.m. - 1 p.m. Dinner is at 5 p.m.
For dinner, residents are offered soup and sandwiches. They can choose which sandwiches they want.