Oak Cafe opens for business


Jack Harris

American River College’s Oak Cafe Restaurant and Bakery opened for the fall semester Sept. 18.

Judy Parks, professor of culinary arts, and teacher advisor of the Oak Cafe Restaurant and Bakery, said she feels that compared to the bakery, not as many students know about the cafe. 

“Honestly, what you get for lunch there is similar to a dinner in a fine dining restaurant, because we’re teaching fine dining,” Parks said.

According to Parks, both the bakery and cafe are staffed entirely by students. The Dining Room Management class, a.k.a the “Front of the Room” class, runs the fronts of both the cafe and the bakery. The cafe kitchen is staffed by the “Back of the House” class, and the bakery pastries are made by an advanced baking class, and the sandwiches are made by a catering class. 

Parks said the cafe menu changes weekly in order to expose the students to different cuisines.  With each menu there are multiple first course, entree and dessert offerings. It is $13 for the entree only, $15 for the entree and an additional course and $17 for the three-course lunch. 

The students in the Dining Room Management class rotate jobs every week. One week a student might be a busboy, and the next a host, and the next a waiter, according to Parks. 

Unlike the cafe, the bakery has more or less the same menu all semester. According to Parks, the bakery has brownies, blondies, lemon bars and cakes. They also have some savory items, such as quiches, frittatas and personal pizzas. Parks said that her favorite item on the menu is the brownie.

Mary Morgan, a hospitality business major and student in the Dining Room Management class, worked the bakery on opening day. 

“I actually really love this program,” she said. “It’s been wonderful so far. I love our garlic bread, it’s delicious,” Morgan said.

Parks said that reservations at the Oak Cafe are recommended but not required.

The bakery is open Wednesday through Friday, from 8:00 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. The Oak Cafe is open Wednesday through Friday, from 11:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.