The student-run, full-service restaurant on the campus of Barry Goldwater High School (BGHS) has just reopened for in-person dining. The award-winning restaurant, which first opened to the public in 2018, was closed for in-person dining throughout last school year due to COVID-19 restrictions. During that time, the restaurant offered a special take-out menu and theme nights. Changing the restaurant’s model helped students learn about adaptability.
“Students strategized menus that could hold up to take-out while still offering the high-quality food expected from Avenue 27. They had to change their mindset to continue to run a restaurant and have a fulfilling work-based learning experience,” says chef and BGHS culinary teacher Ryan Mattheis.
The restaurant offers students a real-world culinary experience, including dealing with supply chain problems. “Students have to think quickly to come up with suitable substitutions on our menus. The positive byproduct of this is the Avenue 27 students have become incredibly resilient and they are even more prepared for their careers in the food industry,” says Mattheis.
Many former students who have worked with Mattheis and fellow teacher/chef Esther Skinner have gone on to exciting and fulfilling careers in the culinary industry. Former BGHS culinary students are working all over the Valley in top resorts and restaurants, while others work as traveling corporate chefs, pastry chefs and sous chefs for some of the biggest names in the industry.
“I love when former students come back to let me know how well they are doing. It is truly inspiring,” Mattheis says.
The BGHS Culinary Program and Avenue 27 were recognized in 2020 as the Career and Technical Education (CTE) Program of the Year, which is the highest CTE award in the state. That kind of recognition might make some less hungry for success, but Mattheis and Skinner aren’t resting on their laurels.
“This spring will bring rejuvenated menus and exciting special events. And, if you can’t join us in-person, we are in the planning stages of offering take away meal kits so you can prepare some of the delicious Avenue 27 meals in your own home,” says Mattheis.
For those dining in-person, pandemic safety precautions are in place. Students are wearing masks, and physical barriers are set on the host stand for the safety of students and guests.
Dining is open to the public by reservation only. As of press time, spring semester dates include: February 11 and 18; March 4 and 25; April 8 and 22; and May 6. Menus will change frequently and reflect the seasons.
Avenue 27 is located at Barry Goldwater High School, 2820 W. Rose Garden Lane, in Phoenix.