Tasty entrees at value pricing draw crowds at new hospital cafe

September 09, 2010 at 2:45 pm  | Mobile Reader | Pring this storyPrint 

Tressy Perrier serves food at the hospital’s new Oyster’s Pearl cafe and grill. The affordable prices set the cafe apart from other restaurants.
Michelle Stuckey
Tressy Perrier serves food at the hospital’s new Oyster’s Pearl cafe and grill. The affordable prices set the cafe apart from other restaurants.
For years, the hospital cafeteria has served as a secret dining destination for parish workers and office staff on the West Bank. But after a new renovation, the Oyster’s Pearl won’t stay a secret for long.

Blaine Guillot, St. Charles Parish Hospital’s director of food and nutrition, estimates that as much as 40 percent of the cafeteria’s business comes from outside of the hospital. In order to capitalize on that clientele, the hospital went ahead with a renovation that drastically changed the look and feel of the cafeteria.

Now, there is a soup station, a potato bar, sandwich area and salad bar. That’s in addition to the grilled Mahi Mahi, fried soft shell crab, chicken stew, pastas and  roasted chicken that have been diner favorites.

“We offer a good home-cooked meal for a reasonable price,” Guillot said. “We already do a lot of courthouse business, a lot of bank business and a lot of office business, but the reason for the increased offerings is to get more people in here in a quicker time.”

The cooking staff took the opportunity offered by the renovation to make some changes to the popular menu. Heart healthy items are now served for only $3.69.

“Every day we have two regular hot entrees and one healthy item,” Guillot said. “So now you can get half a serving of grilled fish with half of portion of vegetables.”

While the heart healthy choice is cheap, so are the items on the regular menu. For under $6, a patron can get a hot entree, a side and a drink. Except for the salad and potato bar, the menu changes daily. Guillot said there will always be two soups, six vegetable offerings and three different entrees.

Several deserts, such as gourmet cheesecake, key lime pie and lemon meringue pie, are on tap as well.

Breakfast is also served from 7 a.m. until 9 a.m. and includes omelets, eggs, French toast, pancakes, gourmet coffee and gourmet teas.

And for those on the go, the Oyster’s Pearl will introduce a grab and go box.

“We will have sandwiches already made and there will be a fruit as well,” Guillot said. “You don’t have to wait in line - just get your sandwich and go if you’re in a hurry.”

In keeping with the tradition of revitalizing the hospital, the board also accepted bids for a new emergency room.
The parish Hospital Board awarded the $3.5 million contract to Aegis Construction.

The building will more than triple the size of the emergency department. According to the contract, construction of the new ER should take 420 days.

View other articles written Jonathan Menard

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