Bistro 61 Reopens Doors for Students, Faculty and Guests

Just as restaurants have made sweeping changes to create safer environments for employees and guests, so has JWU, with Bistro 61. The Bistro, a laboratory in the form of a working restaurant, reopened in October. Both the physical and procedural changes ensure the space is safe for all who teach, learn, and dine there as the COVID-19 pandemic continues.

Like our culinary arts labs, Bistro 61 had to temporarily close back in March when all courses switched to online for the remainder of the term. The culinary labs began reopening for the summer term with extensive changes in place — made with safety top of mind.

The perseverance of everyone whose livelihood falls within the hospitality and culinary industries has been continuously challenged since early this year. From large hotel and restaurant chains to smaller, independently owned and operated B&Bs, inns, restaurants and cafes — COVID-19 has pushed them all to their limits.

At JWU, where we offer several programs to prepare students for careers in hospitality and culinary arts, we have been persevering, too, doing whatever it takes to keep our students on track, even for courses that are optimally held in person. Our Advanced Food Service Operations Management course is a good example. Taught within Bistro 61, students in this course, majoring in Baking & Pastry Arts and Food & Beverage Industy Management, Culinary Arts and Food & Beverage Industy Management, and Food & Beverage Industry Management, are taught skills for front and back of the house.

Associate Professor Nicholas Makris, one of the faculty who teaches in the Bistro, says the reopening went over well, and the new changes are welcome. "Students are extremely confident using the Bistro. All guidelines and requirements set forth by the CDC, state and local agencies, and JWU are being observed. Most of the students continue to work in the industry amid the pandemic and are aware of the precautions needed to stay safe."

Makris says that the Bistro has also reopened its doors to guests — JWU faculty and staff, and students' families. As part of the students' learning process, Bistro 61 guests enjoy dishes created and served by the students and then provide their feedback on the students' work.

Changes made to the Bistro, with the help of students, include new procedures for cleaning and disinfecting, shifting floor plans to allow for social distancing during guests' arrival and departure, access to touchless menus (using a QR code) and reservations made through a contactless system developed by the university.

Get an up-close look at JWU students in Bistro 61 learning what it takes to work in the food service industry with new safety measures in place.