Culinary Cafe has soft opening at new location familiar to Nacogdoches

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Published: Feb. 17, 2022 at 7:45 PM CST

NACOGDOCHES, Texas (KTRE) - Stephen F. Austin State University’s Culinary Café is in its new home. A soft opening happened today. It appears the new location is serving students and dining guests in fine fashion.

A stately home on Mound Street is often referred to as the U. S. Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison home.It won’t take long before everyone will be calling it the SFA Culinary Café.

Special guests were seated for a Mardi Gras Cajun dining.

“Blackened chicken over jambalaya with Andouille cream sauce,” said hospitality administration major Nick LaHaye in his recitation of the delicious menu. “And for appetizer we have Cajun Ceaser salad. And desert is pecan praline brownies with brown sugar pecan ice cream.”

Prepared by hospitality administration students in a state-of-the-art commercial kitchen, a dream kitchen of sorts designer Chef Todd Barrios.

“This kitchen is designed more for a commercial setting. How the flow of everything is, how the storage for everything is, types of equipment we have in here,” said Barrios.

There’s every kind of kitchenware needed for students to explore globe-spanning cuisine. The icing on the cake is a walk-in cooler and freezer.

“Amazing for us,” said Interim Director of Human Sciences, Dr. Chay Runnels.

Consequently, amazing for long-standing patrons.

“We have expanded capacity with our new facility, but our patrons, our guests who have eaten with us are really excited and they got in their and snapped up the tickets for the rest of the semester,” said Runnels.

First and foremost, the Culinary Café is a learning ground for students. They have confidence in the restaurant industry, despite its setback during the pandemic.

“The hospitality industry is not going anywhere, anytime soon,” said senior hospitality administration student Bernard Jackson. “Everybody needs to eat all the time. The restaurants always going to be there.”

Culinary Café will officially open March 3, with meals served twice a week thereafter until April 28. Reservations fill up within minutes when a prior announced online service is opened. A public open house is planned later in the year so the community can see the improvements to the home. No word yet when former Senator Hutchison will become a VIP guest.

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