By MIRANDA BAINES
THE DAILY SOUTHERNER
Vidant Edgecombe Hospital unveiled its newly remodeled cafeteria to the Tarboro community after a ribbon-cutting ceremony Thursday morning.
Patrick Heins, hospital president, told the crowd at the ribbon-cutting ceremony that the new cafeteria represents “a change in wellness and a change in environment.” He reflected on the recent remodels at the hospital, including the emergency department expansion, and the increasingly healthy food offerings served in the cafeteria.
“It’s going to give the community some fresh foods, a lot of different options at a low price,” said Jeff Koning, the hospital’s director of nutrition and hospitality services. “It really needed to be updated to compliment the new services and the skill set here at the hospital.”
Barnhill Construction Company began the remodeling project in May. The renovation had a price tag of a little more than $500,000. The remodel expanded the cafeteria about eight feet and the new cafeteria boasts booth seating, a digital message board to keep diners informed about what’s going on at the hospital, and different stations for food service, said Koning. Among the new offerings in the cafeteria are a rotating salad bar with four different international food themes and 16 drink products. A vegetable flatbread pizza and risotto were some of the fresh foods served up Thursday.
“What we’re trying to do is offer the community healthy options,” said Larry Germany of Morrison Healthcare, a company specializing in food and wellness for acute care hospitals and senior living facilities. “We’ve got a commitment to serving fresh vegetables instead of frozen. We’re going to have grilled options that will augment traditional options. We have two new venues in the cafeteria that we can promote healthy options — a grill and a pizza venue (for making flatbread pizzas).”
While Vidant Edgecombe Hospital is a healthcare facility, the idea of the nutritious food served in the new cafeteria is to “keep you out of the doctor’s office,” said Germany.
“It’s more proactive than reactive,” he said.
Food served in the hospital cafeteria follows NC Prevention Partners standards called “Gold Apple,” meaning 75 percent of offerings are healthy, said Germany.
The new cafeteria also features local artwork.
“It beautifies our space and they can also sell the art out of our space,” said Koning.
The cafeteria is open to the public from 7 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. daily.