The Oak Café, American River College’s student-run restaurant, opened its doors to customers Sept. 12, three weeks into the fall semester.
Chefs and servers hit the ground running, preparing an ever-changing menu week in and week out. With a mix of both experienced and an inexperienced staff, the culinary program attempts to bring fine dining to ARC.
Initial reviews from diners were positive.
“Service is good, plating is beautiful, and flavors are spot on,” said alumni Alicia Williams, who was eating lunch there on opening day.
Two teams operate the Café: a team in the kitchen and a team serving guests. With four years of experience at the Oak Café, Jeffrey Skidmore manages the front of the house while Head Chef James Chavez manages the back.
“The recipes come from cook books, some of the chefs’ former experience from restaurants they’ve worked at, and a variety of other places,” Skidmore explained.
The menu this week is Greek themed with a five-course meal including a dessert to top it off.
It starts with Avgolemono, which is chicken soup with eggs and lemon.
“The soup was fantastic,” Williams noted.
The next dish is kolokethokeftaide, or summer squash fritters. Then the main course consists of roasted lamb with shrimp and caper salad.
After all of that, dessert is a spiced orange sorbet with phyllo date pastry.
According to staffers, opening day reasonably went well. They booked 80 people for lunch, which is essentially half capacity for the establishment. There were several reservations for the first day, hinting that a lot of regulars were returning to the Oak Café.
The menu is listed outside the café for the first eight weeks or can be found here. For reservations, call 916-484-8526.