Favorite restaurants providing school lunch this year

By Mati Davis, Staff Writer
Bibi’s on Tuesday’s? Shanghai on Wednesdays?  Jeff’s on Thursdays?
Most Shalhevet students don’t eat at restaurants that often, but since there’s no usable kitchen in the JCC, this year they will have the opportunity to eat meals from their favorite restaurants on Pico Blvd.
Head of School Rabbi Ari Segal used the kitchen problem to, you might say, turn lemons into lemonade.
“I think the school saw this as an opportunity to try a new model out to meet student needs,” Rabbi Segal said.
For the first semester,  restaurants providing the lunches are Nagila Meating Place, Bibi’s Bakery and Cafe, Shanghai Diamond Garden, Nagila Pizza, and Jeff’s Gourmet. Lunch choices for the first week range from Shanghai’s Orange Chicken on Wednesdays and Nagilla Meating’s Shawarma on Mondays.
On Tuesdays, students have a choice between a Greek salad with pita,  a cheese and tomato sandwich, a tuna sandwich, and Mediterranean chopped salad, all from Bibi’s Warmstone.
On Thursday, one can choose between Jeff’s Burger and fries, turkey breast sandwich, veggie burger or chicken Caesar salad.
The program costs $620, and students have to sign up for a full semester or nothing.  Some restaurants might bring extra for daily sale, but that’s up to them.  All money goes to the restaurants; Shalhevet is not making a profit, said Robyn Lewis.
Everyone in the lunch program gets pizza from Nagila on Fridays. Except for that, the choices offered by each restaurant will change each week.
Officials said they tried to choose restaurants that offered the best quality of food for the best price.
“We worked very hard to create a lunch program which we thought students would like,” wrote Executive Director Robyn Lewis in an email. “We went to students’ favorite restaurants and chose a variety of the most popular (and some healthy) options for lunch.”
Food will be served in the JCC by two parent volunteers each day. There are tables in the courtyard of the JCC and behind the swimming pool where students can eat.
In addition to the lunch, the JCC has a vending machine from which students can buy snacks, like pretzels, cookies and granola bars.
If students don’t want the catered lunches, they can still bring their own lunches, whether meat or dairy, as long as they’re kosher.
Rabbi Segal is not sure if this system will remain once the new building is open.
“We will probably look at all of the options before a decision is made,” Rabbi Segal said. “We are fortunate that there will be a full service commercial kitchen …  which will keep many options available to us.”
For now, many students are excited and pleased with the new program.
“It is really awesome — this is the best lunch program ever,” said sophomore Sammy Ellenhorn, while chomping on his orange chicken with rice from Shanghai, .
Jacob Dauer, junior, agreed.
“I love the new lunch program,” said Jacob. “It gives us quality lunch food every day and lets us choose what each individual likes from the menus. The portions can be a bit small but overall better than last year.”