Working in the bakery program at Diman's kitchen on Friday are, from left, junior Zabdiel Montanez, senior Nina Faucci, and Maxmilian Acevedo [Courtesy photo]
Chef Randy Benevides, department head of the Culinary Arts Program, works with culinary freshman exploratory students on Friday [Courtesy photo]
Diman's Room 251 resturant was a popular dining spot in Fall River, but remains closed to the public due to state Covid-19 regulations. The program will offer cubside pickup on Monday. Here, junior Kiara Almeida waits on a Diman staffer. [Courtesy photo]
Diman junior Nicholas Botelho makes a salad for his culinary arts class on Friday [Courtesy photo]
FALL RIVER — Diman Regional Vocational Technical High School’s Room 251 restaurant might have been the least best kept secret for cheap eats in the city. Just about every day the restaurant was open, it was packed with diners enjoying sandwiches, soups, salads, full entrees and an array of sweets cooked by the school’s Culinary Arts program students.
So far this year, the restaurant has remained closed under the state’s COVID-19 restrictions. But starting Monday, Room 251 fare will be available for curbside pickup.
Jonathan Root, Culinary Arts Restaurant instructor said he’s been getting lots of calls from the restaurant’s many regulars inquiring about if and when the restaurant would open. Now those diners will have a chance to enjoy the student-made fare through the curbside offerings that will be available Mondays through Wednesdays. “It used to be very busy, we want to get the word out to people about the curbside offerings,” he said Friday.
The full menu won’t be available but diners can expect to find a soup, a sandwich and a daily entrée, said Root. They will post the day’s offerings on the restaurant tab on the school’s website at about 8:30 a.m. and diners can call in their orders for curbside pickup from 8:30 to about noon (the restaurant hours are 11 a.m. to 12:15).
In accordance with the school’s reopening plans this fall, students have one week of in-person technical classes a month, meaning at any given time there is only a small group of students in the kitchens at the school. On Friday, Root said he had four students working in the Restaurant class. What’s missing from their class this year, he said, is the part where they get to interact with diners in the restaurant other than the staff members who have been able to access it. “They really like being in the dining room serving the public,” he said. “It helps them build relationships and it allows them to interact with people other than their classmates.”
Root said he’s hoping the state will decide to let tech schools like Diman open their restaurants in a limited capacity this fall. In the meantime, the curbside pickup is a start, at least, he added.