NACOGDOCHES, TX (KTRE) - The grand opening of the Bright Cafe at Nacogdoches Memorial Hospital took place Thursday.
Earlier Thursday, East Texas News got a tour of the new eatery that has given hospital food a whole different meaning.
"What kind of burger would you like today, ma'am?" said a Bright Café server.
Burgers, including the popular Southwest veggie burger, are Bright Cafe's biggest seller, but this hospital restaurant has so much more to offer.
"I am making a panini turkey flatbread sandwich," said a Bright Café server.
"Vegetables, oven roasted potatoes," said Paula Cook, the hospital's director of dietary services.
A grill, a deli station, and a full salad bar are all found at Nacogdoches Memorial Hospital. An airy, and like its name, bright, comfortable dining room replaces a smaller, more institutional-like setting.
"There were glass windows where I am standing here," said Andy Johnston, the director of support services. "We took all those out. We gutted out all the equipment."
It's where healthy meals are plated for staff and caregivers.
"This gives them a place to come, a break in the monotony of the hospital room," Cook said.
However, seven days a week, Bright Cafe is also catering to the general public that's seeking a choice away from the standard offers.
"With the setting we have, it's just more inviting for anybody to come, so we would like the community to think of us as a restaurant," said Scott Street, the CEO of Nacogdoches Memorial Hospital.
Hospital employee Caitlin Bohannon could rush through a drive-through after work. Instead, her boyfriend joins her at the hospital for an intimate dinner for two.
"Me and my boyfriend will get two burgers, any kind, French fries, dessert, and two drinks and it's maybe $9 and $4.50 each is a really big deal," said Caitlin Bohannon, the hospital's community relations.
The goal is to make hospital food palatable that someone would ask to eat no matter how they're feeling.
The Bright Cafe carries the name of the late Charles Bright, a longtime board member and backer of Nacogdoches Memorial Hospital. The Bright Foundation was thanked Thursday for its continued support of public health services.