Earlier this week, I had the pleasure of dining at the Cowbell Café inside Mansfield Legacy High School. The restaurant is the product of an innovative teaching grant written by teachers, Michelle Lutes and Jayme Schroeder. They received the $2,700 grant from the Mansfield ISD Education Foundation. The grant provided funds to purchase equipment and supplies to run a restaurant/café inside the high school.
That in and of itself is a pretty interesting thing for a school. (Just ask the Culinary Arts team at Ben Barber Career Tech that run Savvy's Bistro which opened in 2006.)
However, what makes this dining experience so unique is that it is through the combined efforts of Legacy special needs students.
According to the grant, students benefit by "gaining food service experience and skills that will lead to future job placement, as well as, reinforce their every day living skills."
Michelle Lutes said they held Cowbell Café job interviews to determine functions from the hosts, servers, kitchen staff, napkin rollers and more all the way through the mini-restaurant roles, each student had a part.
The food was tasty (we had salad, lasagna, plus dessert) and the service was exceptional. The plan is to have seatings on a regular basis each month during the school year.
The name, Cowbell Café, is a Texas-sized hat tip to the Kowbell Arena which was the world's first indoor rodeo arena. The Kowbell Arena, which is where the Legacy band hall, performing arts center and journalism room are now located, was demolished to make way for the high school.