Alfred’s Cafe opened its doors Wednesday, January 18. The cafe serves patrons seven days a week from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. in the new Milbank healthcare campus. Everyone is welcome. There’s even free coffee all the time.
The name recognizes two Alfreds -Alfred Gonzenbach and Alfred Nef -founders of Valley Queen Cheese Factory and the company’s generosity to the hospital building foundation. Max Gonzenbach and Rudy Nef, sons of the founders, said, “It’s an honor to have the cafe named after our fathers.”
Alfred’s is not your typical hospital cafeteria. It was out with the long tables, harsh lights, and stiff chairs and in with a mix of warm woods, soft colored lights, and comfy upholstered chairs. “We want the feel of a cafe rather than a large production cafeteria like hospitals tend to have,” stated Cafe Manager Tanya Reil. “But the biggest benefit of cafe style is the larger meal selection, especially for hospital patients.”
Patients can choose the entree of the day or order from the room service menu. Meals are also adapted for special diets. “We provide heart healthy, low carbohydrate, clear liquid or full liquid choices or follow what the doctors prescribe,” Tanya explained.
A special of the day will be offered alongside homemade soups and homemade desserts. “A large part of what we serve will be homemade,” Reil said. “We will have a build-your-own sandwich option and eventually work into a build-your-own burger bar.”
“Once the grill gets up and running, the cafe will also offer grilled cheese sandwiches, hot dogs, and pizza,” Reil said. “Beverages include milk, juice, Gatorade, and soda. And, of course, free coffee all the time. We encourage you to stop in anytime and grab a cup to go.”
Reil worked in the meal service department at St. William’s Care Center for 16 years. For 13 years, she also consulted with the hospital on meal service. The cafe employs five full-time and one part-time staff members.