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Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Garrett’s Adds Evening Dining To Its Menu

For decades WCC culinary students have served mouth-watering entrees and unique side dishes to an appreciative public in the campus restaurant known today as Garrett’s.

Special buffets at the restaurant have featured wild game, breakfast standards, holiday favorites, and ethnic specialties from around the world. But something was missing. With the occasional exception, there was no fine dining experience with an alcoholic beverage option. But that void was filled last fall.

“Garrett’s…after dark” opened in September for enthusiastic fans of the popular Student Center building eatery. The atmosphere is slow paced and unpretentious, with subtle touches like crisp linens, candles, and soft background music. The first seating of the Winter Semester was Feb. 11 and featured a Valentine’s theme. It was a great start to a promising semester.

A Relaxed Experience In a Relaxed Environment

Marley Pagel came that night with close to 20 family members, a mix of local and out-of-state people. They all sat together and reminisced about good times around the family table, not unlike the one they were having on campus that Friday evening. Adjacent to them were two tired coworkers enjoying the end to another full week. And scattered throughout the room were couples intent on spending a few quiet hours together.

Sue Olsson was the exception. Dining alone, she was there as the proud mother of a culinary student and server that night. “I’m really impressed with this program and I don’t think I’ve missed one of these evening dinners since they started,” said Olsson, an occupational health nurse at the University of Michigan Medical Center. “My daughter is a WTMC [Washtenaw Technical Middle College] student. She wanted to take a baking class but couldn’t get into it, so she signed up for this. It’s her second semester with Garrett’s…after dark and she’s already had the chance to be a team leader for older, adult students.

“I remember Italian night,” said Olsson. “We had shrimp bisque to die for and the rack of lamb was carved at your table. Every week there is something different, something you don’t know was going to be so good. It’s a really nice surprise.”

One Idea Led To Another

The impetus for Garrett’s…after dark came from several sources. “One of the things mentioned during our last accreditation visit by the American Culinary Federation was that our students were not getting experience handling beverages with alcohol,” said Jill Beauchamp, an instructor in the School of Culinary Arts and Hospitality Management. “So we developed a beverage management course that all of our students are required to take. The experience allows them to develop their own signature drinks. It was the students who came to us and said, ‘We have the background [in alcoholic beverage service], why don’t we have the chance to apply it?’”

According to Beauchamp, it was fellow instructor Terri Herrera who introduced the idea for Garrett’s…after dark. “Terri really spearheaded the project to combine service and alcohol management. We decided to incorporate a beverage tasting with the dinner to add an educational component to it. We feature the products of local vendors, which makes it easier for guests shopping for a beverage later to select a product they know they will like.”

Try an ‘After Dark’ Experience

With two months left in the semester, there is still plenty of time to enjoy a great meal at Garrett’s…after dark. Seating for the Friday night service begins at 5:30pm. The cost for the inclusive dinner, which includes beverage, appetizer, entrée, and dessert, is around $15 per person. Cash, check, Visa, MasterCard, and Discover Card are accepted. There is an additional cost of $4.95 for the beverage tasting. Reservations are encouraged, and you can call 734-973-3592 to reserve a table. Upcoming dinners include:

  • March 11: Vegetarian menu with tea tasting
  • March 18: St. Patrick’s Day beer tasting
  • March 25: Catch of the day with fruit smoothie tasting
  • April 1: Southwestern celebration with margarita tasting
  • April 8: Spring into summer with BBQ and beer tasting

Today’s Events

  1. 11:00am–2:00pm Concordia University Visit
  2. 1:00pm–5:00pm Eastern Michigan University Visit

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