Fed up with school food that didn’t interest them, students at Temple Beth Sholom in Miami Beach have created a new children’s menu for themselves at school — and a restaurant across the street, Café Avanti.
“The kids were getting tired of eating the same things every day,” said Margie Zeskind, Temple Beth Sholom’s director of Early Childhood Education. “Once they heard that the restaurant across the street didn’t have a children’s menu, they decided to do something about it.”
A few months ago, the school’s staff reached out to Café Avanti and asked about allowing the school’s students to create a children’s menu. The restaurant agreed that the kids could make a children’s menu, but there could be no new ingredients. In other words, the children had to create a menu from ingredients already used in other entrees.
After being tasked with creating a menu with no new ingredients, the students filled out forms with what ingredients they believed would work best for other children to eat at the restaurant.
“These kids were eating the same food sometimes for up to four to five years,” kindergarten teacher Rachel Allen said. “They created this menu because they wanted to do something for the community. They felt that the restaurant needed a children’s menu to better serve their community.”
Temple Beth Sholom is located at 4144 Chase Ave. On Feb. 7, the youngsters went to Café Avanti, 732 W. 41st St., to present their menus and taste the items they created.
Zach Hurwitz, 5, presented his hard-cover menu design made mostly from plaster, paper towels and recycled materials.
“My favorite thing on the menu is the carrot chips,” Zach said. “The chips are salty, and together with the soup, it’s very yummy to eat.”
Another student, Vittoria Fine, 5, filled out a form with her favorite things on the menu and identified whether she liked the item. She preferred the spaghetti over the veggie sandwich, which was thrown out at the last minute.
Café Avanti’s regular menu includes fine traditional Italian cuisine such as veal meatballs, tuna tartare, tosso bucco, frutta di mare and homemade desserts.
“The plates were too big for kids to eat,” Vittoria said about the portion size at the restaurant. “We wanted to make a kid’s menu for the restaurant so kids can finish their food.”
This article has been updated to reflect that the students at Temple Beth Sholom have also helped created new, healthy lunch menus at their school.