By Robert Stoneback
The Daily Item
DANVILLE — A new $9 million Geisinger cafeteria will serve more than 4,500 meals a day and add 11 full-time employees to the medical center staff.
The 28,000-square-foot Atrium Cafe in Geisinger Medical Center’s Hospital for Advanced Medicine, had its grand opening Monday. Ground-breaking for the project was held in May 2011.
Visitors and staff members will be able to select meals from a variety of cook-to-order stations, including sushi, pizza, pasta, international foods, a deli and a salad and yogurt bar. Patrons can place custom orders for meals or, if they are on a tight schedule, they can grab pre-made food. Additional food options, such as gluten-free and vegan dishes, will also be available.
TV monitors next to each food section display prices as well as nutritional information for each item.
Patients can use a “room service” model of meal delivery, where they are provided a menu and can call to order food. Each patient will have certain dietary restrictions based on their diagnosis and any procedures scheduled to be performed on them, said Stephen Cerullo, Geisinger’s senior director of food services.
The hospital is in the process of hiring 11 food service staff members, most of whom will serve as cooks at the different cook-to-order stations.
The Atrium Cafe will serve as the primary dining area for staff and visitors to Geisinger Medical Center. It replaces all other cafeterias in the hospital. A Subway restaurant will open at the site of a former cafeteria Jan. 15.
Both the Atrium Cafe and the Subway will be open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, said Cerullo, a first for Geisinger dining facilities.
Geisinger food service employees working at the old facilities have been reassigned to the Atrium Cafe.
Also included in the cafeteria is a demonstration kitchen where hospital staffers plan to hold public demonstrations, such as on diabetes education or how to prepare a heart-healthy diet.
“This new facility allows us to continue to provide top notch, second-to-none, food service to our patients, visitors and employees,” said Bruce Thomas, vice president of guest services for Geisinger Health System.
Tom Sokola, chief administrative officer for Geisinger Medical Center, thanked Geisinger’s food service staffers for their dedication.
“The technology is great, the innovation is great, but what makes us different is the people,” he said.