Innovation Café is back for the 2022-23 school year.
This student-operated eatery located in the Manteca Unified’s district office complex, 2271 W. Louise Ave., is open to the public, Monday through Thursday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Hours are also predicated on the MUSD calendar, according to Communications Specialist Caitlin Pearsall.
Monday, for example, is Labor Day. Students and staff are both off that day. So, too, is Innovation Café.
Gavin Larios is one of the mainstays of the restaurants. He’s a junior at East Union High but has been involved in the BE.Cuisine program since his freshman year.
“I grew up in the restaurant business. Both my parents are business,” said Larios, who was prepping the pizza ingredients on Thursday. More on that.
BE.Cuisine is the Culinary Arts program of the Career Technical Education pathway for high school students throughout the district.
It’s intended for students – open to ninth through 12th graders – who are interested in pursuing a career in food service and hospitality.
Culinary Arts, Farm to Table, and Life Management, to name a few, are among the classes offered.
Since the recent reopening of the Innovation Café, chef Andrew Griggs said his students have been serving their creations to the MUSD staff and community.
Included is the annual Pizza Project.
Shortly before the COVID-19 pandemic, BE.Cuisine received a CTE grant to purchase a woodfired pizza oven, Griggs said.
He noted that a local pizza maker helped his students in how to make and properly cook up the crust.
The mobile brick oven heats up to about 900 degrees and can cook up to six homemade pies in under two minutes.
The Pizza Project is held on Thursdays, featuring tasty creations such as the Angry Baby, Buffalo and Margherita pizzas.
Angry Baby pizza has a spicy sauce with jalapeno peppers and shredded cheese.
Customers can order their pizza in a to-go box inside Innovation Café, which also offers a deluxe salad bar, assorted pastries and a rotating menu of specials.
For more information, call 209.825.3200.