August 29, 2023
When Kendal at Lexington Chef Mark Chittum was recently summoned from the kitchen by residents and their guests in Kendal’s restaurant (simply and fondly dubbed The Restaurant), he was met with applause from every diner.
The Best in Fine Dining
“The filet mignon, chicken and salmon Mark prepared to order was excellent,” said resident Dianne Herrick. “It ranked one of the 10 best meals I’ve ever eaten.”
Such praise is not uncommon at The Restaurant, an intimate, upscale venue on the KaLex campus that rivals the best dining establishments in the city of Lexington.
Happy, Thankful Residents
Reopened after a two-year closure due to COVID, the first-class restaurant is now accessible to resident diners, their friends and family on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays every other week.
“Residents couldn’t be happier and more appreciative,” said Brenda Johnson, a food service veteran who lovingly manages The Restaurant. “We have ‘frequent flyer’ diners who come as often as possible. Everyone I serve is so amazing, thankful and happy to be back in The Restaurant.”
“It takes a real knack to serve food hot, fresh and made-to-order, and my team have mastered that skill,” said KaLex Culinary Director Judy Kurtz.
Indeed, enthused Dianne, “The combination of flavors our chefs put together, the presentation and the ‘just right’ the cooking is all wonderful.”
In addition to the finest steaks, poultry and seafood, diners can enjoy fowl and vegetarian entrees prepared with local ingredients, taste, nutrition and sheer gustatory pleasure in mind. For those minding sodium intake, a plan called Simple Eats allows diners to enjoy the chefs’ savory, trendy creations with leaner options.
A New Reservation System
Technology is also doing its part in Kendal at Lexington dining. Along with Alfredo the Robot, who does the heavy lifting of trays and dishes, a self-serve reservation system called TableAgent is now in place. Accessible through the CATIE resident communication application, TableAgent allows residents to reserve a specific time slot and receive an automatic email reply confirming availability.
“This minimizes phone calls back and forth and saves considerable time,” said Judy.
Uplifting For All
The reopening of The Restaurant has been as cathartic for staff as it has been for residents.
While the ultimate goal is for The Restaurant to return to pre-COVID hours and staffing, the shift in mood and spirit with increasing open hours is palpable among all.
But for the dining staff, nothing is more satisfying than happy residents.
“Seeing their smiles and appreciation for what we do makes our day like nothing else,” said Culinary Supervisor Kelsey Deacon.