Culinary arts students at the East Valley Institute of Technology will soon get practical, first-hand experience in operating their own restaurant – the new Bistro 13, set to open to the public in October.
Bistro 13, located next-door to EVIT’s Dr. A. Keith Crandell (Main) Campus at 1353 W. Main Street in Mesa, will feature global cuisine such as a Thai Grilled Mahi Mahi Sandwich and Southwest Chipotle Ranch Salad, a variety of soups, desserts and breads baked by EVIT’s commercial baking program, and iced coffee and assorted drinks.
Chef Joe Kalfus is the instructor in charge of Bistro 13. He said the restaurant will expand educational and professional opportunities for EVIT’s culinary students, which already include hands-on experience in the campus banquet hall and internships. He also stressed that Bistro 13 is a classroom first and a business second.
“It’s a classroom that happens to have customers coming in,” he said. “Our vision is that we want Bistro 13 to be an enhancement of what we’re already doing so that our students will get restaurant, as well as banquet and catering, experience.”
The restaurant will open sometime in October, serving a lunch menu from 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., Tuesday through Friday. Kalfus said the schedule may change for the spring semester. By next summer, he would like to see Bistro 13 open five days a week for breakfast and lunch.
“We want to be able to adapt and evolve,” he said.
While the cuisine will be “global,” there will be some more traditional items too – but with an EVIT twist. The “Bistro 13 Burger” will be two quarter-pound patties of choice meat ground in-house, grilled, finished with herb butter and garnished with house pickled cucumber, lettuce, tomato and onion. “East Valley Mac and Cheese” will feature pasta and house-smoked chicken in a roasted pepper cheese sauce.
“The menu items fit well in the marketplace and are educational too,” Kalfus said. “These menu items are there for a reason: They’re putting what’s being taught in culinary into a context.”
A bowl of soup, such as “Chicken Mulligatawny,” a curry soup with green apples and rice, will be $3.50. Entrees range from $4.25 to $8.25. And for those on low-carb diets, sandwiches can be made with two grilled Portobello mushrooms instead of bread.
EVIT classes are normally 8 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. and noon to 2:30 p.m. An additional block – 10:45 a.m. to 1:15 p.m. has been added for some culinary students who will be working in Bistro 13, Kalfus said. Additional culinary students will also rotate through Bistro 13 so they can get restaurant experience too.
“There’s a place for everybody” in the culinary industry, Kalfus said. “I’m excited about Bistro 13 giving our students more options and serving the community.”
Superintendent Sally Downey said Bistro 13 promotes culinary education while contributing to the Mesa community. After purchasing the old Fazoli’s building, which had sat vacant for years in west Mesa, EVIT cleaned up the property and remodeled it. In fact, students in five EVIT programs – culinary, interior design, welding, HVAC and construction – worked on the renovation. The interior features bright colors in gold, teal and red. Each table design centers on a different country to help carry through the “global cuisine” theme.
As part of its contribution to the Mesa community, Bistro 13 will always offer free coffee and other drinks to anyone who works in public safety, such as the police or fire department, Downey said.
Bistro 13 is part of EVIT’s top-ranked culinary arts program. EVIT students posted the highest scores of all East Valley culinary arts programs on the most recent state assessment. Even though the 2014-15 school year has already started, it’s not too late to enroll. Call (480) 461-4000 or visit www.evit.com for more information.