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July marked the culmination of a fabulous transformation.  Monarch Landing retirement community put the finishing touches on the total renovation of their casual dining venue, The Riverwalk Café. “Our residents and visitors really like the changes,” said Julie Roberts, director of dining services at the senior living community. “They love the color scheme and the openness of the space.”

Rebecca Jourdan, an interior designer with Shive-Hattery, worked with the senior living community on the project. “Monarch Landing wanted to transform The Riverwalk Cafe into a unique dining destination with a warm, comfortable, and inviting décor. Early on, it was determined that the venue should be distinctly different from the Millstone Restaurant, their formal dining room, while flowing together with the rest of the building,” said Jourdan.

“The Riverwalk Café was formerly cafeteria-style, where residents picked up a tray and silverware and ordered and received their meals. With the renovation, we changed from the cafeteria model to the popular quick-serve dining trend, like you see at Panera and other casual restaurants,” said Roberts.  The Café boasts three different seating areas: the central open space, an area with booth seating, and a corner with pub seating. “Residents tend to choose an area they like best and gravitate there,” she said.

“Prior to the renovation, the Café shared the dinner menu with the Millstone Restaurant. We’re now looking at two unique menus. The Riverwalk Café has a more casual feel to it. Residents can choose to eat where they’d like, with the added option during the summer, of our outdoor courtyard grill,” said Roberts.

A popular feature of The Riverwalk Café is the action station where residents can watch as various items are being prepared. These include omelets, stir fry, salads, and pasta. “We’ll also have chef demos that the residents can watch. We select a member of our kitchen staff each month to demonstrate preparation of a specialty item served in the café,” said Roberts.

Monarch Landing’s resident dining committee was integral to the renovation project, helping with the design. “We originally had two mockups to show them. They ended up favoring different components from each, and when we got their feedback, we decided we needed to start over. They’re very pleased with the resulting light and bright color scheme,” said Roberts. “It’s truly a beautiful space.”