JEFFERSON – Last week saw the soft opening of The Village Table, a new café and catering service offered at Giddings Park Hall, located at 104 E. Jefferson St.
Giddings Park Hall is a senior dining site through the Ashtabula County Community Action Agency, and the new Village Table is an expanded service of the program, giving dining options to all residents, not just seniors.
Health and Nutrition Service Director Diana Brook said the Jefferson location serves as a senior dining site and also as the meal-preparation site for other senior dining sites throughout the county and for Meals on Wheels.
The need for senior programming and meals continues to grow, as residents continue to age into the senior population.
“We’re experiencing a growth in the senior population,” Brook said.
The most recent census data shows that 16.9 percent of Ashtabula County’s residents are age 65 and older. Projections by the Scripps Gerontology Center at Miami University indicate that this segment of the population will increase to 32.5 percent or 31,575 individuals by the year 2030. Moreover, the population aged 85 and over is projected to drastically increase until the year 2050.
“We’ve seen this tremendous growth,” Brook said. “Unfortunately, though, funding is not keeping pace.”
Brook said Community Action decided to explore ways it can generate some dollars to keep up with the growth.
And that’s how the Village Table was born.
The Village Table is a social enterprise of the Community Action Agency, and all profits will go toward providing meals and services for seniors in Ashtabula County.
As a senior dining site, seniors age 60 and over can go to the Giddings Park Hall and purchase a meal for $2.
With the new Village Table, seniors can still come in for a meal, but now more menu options will be available, and the general public is also invited.
“Anyone can come in and purchase a meal,” Brook said.
The meals offered at the Village Table range from the Village Cobb salad for $7.75, a Southwest Chicken Salad for $7.95, homemade soups of the day ranging in price from $2.95 to $3.50, sides of fresh-cut fries, sweet potato fries, onion rings, homemade coleslaw and more, steak or chicken philly sandwiches with French fries for $7.50, a build-your-own sub option meal from $7.95 to $9.25 and a selection of hamburgers and fries.
One of the highlights of the menu is the return to Jefferson of the Original Broaster Chicken, a hand-breaded chicken made fresh daily and served with jojo potatoes. Brook said the owners of Josephine’s Restaurant in Jefferson donated their broaster and recipe to Village Table to use. Food Services Manager Nikki Teter used to work at Josephine’s, so she knows the recipe well.
The meals are served from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., and people can dine in or carry out. The Village Table also offers delivery to local businesses. Phone orders are welcome at (440) 624-4092.
Since the site will be offering the expanded menu, seniors also have a wider menu to choose from. Now for $2, they can get the meal of the day, or they can choose from the Chef Salad, the Village Burger or the Turkey Bacon Club. While the options for the Senior Lunch Club are not available for take-out, seniors have a wider range of hours to come in and get their meal.
“We try to do everything homemade, and everything is cooked to order,” Brook said.
Senior Judy Deitke is excited for the new menu, and for the general public to start using the dining site.
“The food itself is very good, but the way it’s served, the respect that the workers show us, that’s what makes this such a good place to come to,” she said. “And where else can you get a hot lunch for $2? And now that we have that variety – that’s even better.”
Besides the new menu, the Village Table also offers catering. To learn more about catering options or to place an order, call (440) 624-4092.
The Village Table is found at Giddings Park Hall, located at 104 E. Jefferson St., also the home of the Jefferson Police Department. The site is open from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Friday, and closed on holidays.
Photo by Stefanie Wessell
Artie House is a frequent visitor to the Giddings Park Hall for lunch. Pictured with him are Senior Dining Site employees, back row, Shannon Chase and Patti Myers, and, front row, Lynne Dawson and Michelle David.