A New Dining Experience

A New Dining Experience
Carl Ede

Recent food trends have “foodies” craving a new dining experience – one where they are willing to try unique food pairings with delightful presentations and then share pictures and reviews on social media of their dining experience. Food used to be looked at a bare necessity, something people were grateful to have and ate in modest quantities and routine combinations to survive. However, food is now looked at as a form of entertainment, a substance that people want made available to them in a unique, fun and out-of-the-box variety. People are eating out more than ever before and their expectations are higher. Seniors living in senior living communities are no exception, so three: living architecture, a global leader in senior living design and hospitality design services and studioSIX5, one of the nation’s leading interior design firms in the senior living sector, are taking on the creative challenge to design a dining experience that satisfies their cravings in more ways than one. People are leading more dynamic lives focused on entertainment, and senior living communities are catering to a vibrant lifestyle through the design, amenities, décor and dining experiences.

Here are the top dining trends the two leading companies in senior living have noticed:

·        Multiple Venue Options and Rotating Menus

·        Look Outside Senior Living for Staff

·        Smarter Technology and Kitchen Design

·        Adapting Design to Seniors’ Needs

·        Engage the Community – Shifting Food to the Front

·        Create Purposeful Interactions in the Kitchen for Residents

·        Incorporating display kitchens and chef’s table for entertainment

·        Moving from cafeteria-style with sea of tables to authentic restaurant-style dining with choice of seating

·        Farm to Table produce and products

·        Transitional dining venues/spaces

·        Using ceiling heights, room dividers, artwork and lighting to organize space

A New Dining Experience

A community that exemplifies many of these trends is featured in one of the attached releases – Harbor’s Edge, an upscale retirement community on the harbor in Norfolk, Va. Harbor’s Edge is undergoing an expansion and will be adding a new 27-story high-rise tower with 130 new independent living residences. The community brought on Executive Chef Willie Moats, who has led the culinary team at some of the most successful restaurants in the Hampton Roads area and boasts 32 years of experience and national recognition. In conjunction with this development, they are adding a regional cuisine restaurant with options from around the world to enhance their dining experience and a European bistro-style lounge for lunchtime dining which Chef Willie will oversee, providing three to five course dinners in an environment that is both fun and experimental. Currently, Harbor’s Edge provides lunch and dinner at the River Terrace Dining Room. In addition, residents have the opportunity to experience fine dining in the Harbor Room on Friday and Saturdays, where they enjoy a specially crafted five-course meal. Eventually, Harbor’s Edge will offer display cooking for entertainment, such as hibachi and Thai-themed meals. The European-style bistro and resident lounge at Harbor’s Edge will be located near the entrance of the community and will serve coffee, tea, pastries and other breakfast items in the morning; then salads, soups, sandwiches, paninis and wood-fired pizzas throughout lunchtime and the afternoon. Eventually it turns into a pre-dinner hangout offering patrons wine and beer in lounge-style seating. It’s an area that is full of activity all day long. The design is the perfect example of diversifying cuisine in a community that’s on the cutting-edge of many dining trends.