Alvirne High School’s Checkers Restaurant, Newly Renovated and Ready for Business!

October 18, 2013

by Laurie Jasper Alvirne High School Culinary Arts students have been busy preparing menus, creating lists of ingredients and keeping an eye on their budgets since the start of the school year, in preparation for the opening of their very own Checkers Restaurant.  Checkers Restaurant, so named after the black and white checkered uniform pants the culinary students wear, will open for business beginning Tuesday, October 22, and the students and staff are eager to show off the newly renovated dining room.  This is the first major improvement of the dining area since Checkers opened in 1992, and regular customers will be impressed by the new upgrades.  “There are new cabinets, a new lighting system and new wall treatments,” said Chef Tim Buxton, Alvirne’s Culinary Arts Instructor, who has held the position for 21 years.  Gone are the burlap-covered walls, replaced with plaster and white paint.  The dining area is bright and cheerful, with fall decorations adding to the festive atmosphere.

Tim Buxton is a 1981 graduate of Alvirne High School and was working in the culinary field when Vocational Director Wilbur “Webb” Palmer (now retired) asked him to be on the planning committee for the culinary arts program at what would be named Alvirne’s Wilbur Palmer Vocational Center.  Tim was later asked to head the department.  Tim  and his assistant, Shirley Nadeau, have been working as a team at Alvirne for 19 years.  “I came here in 1994,” said Shirley.  As they conducted a tour of the newly renovated dining room, it was apparent how well they work together.  As Shirley carefully showed the annual “Great Chefs” banners with each student’s name embroidered on them, she and Tim spoke fondly of their former students, sharing updates on what many of them have done since graduation, oftentimes culinary or hospitality related.  “Alvirne graduates go out into the world and make something of themselves, and they keep in touch.  We’ve seen a lot of our students go on to be restaurant managers, work in the hospitality industry, own bed and breakfasts, work at bakeries,” Tim said, with obvious pride.

As the 2013-2014 Great Chefs prepare to share their skills with the public, they take on a lot of responsibility.  “There about eight to ten duties they have to delegate, from cashier to server to dishwasher.  Plus, their recipes take time to do.  It is a lot of work,” Shirley explained.

Checkers is open every Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday (during normal school days) from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.  Every Tuesday features a Senior Citizen menu with special pricing for those 65 years of age and older.

The public is invited to choose from new items each week as the “Chefs of the Week” carefully select favorite recipes to offer during their time in charge, in addition to the standard favorites that are always on the menu.  Parties of 6 or more are encouraged to call ahead to make a reservation at 886-1259.  Also note, due to the new security features at Alvirne, restaurant visitors will be required to press the button located at the door near the Adult Day Care entrance to be buzzed into the building.  Then, follow the long corridor to Checkers Restaurant.  Visit Alvirne’s website at www.alvirnehs.org for more information.