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Marylhurst University's cafe is open to everyone, serving a variety of delicious foods

Looking for a new place to eat lunch? Want high quality, interesting cuisine at reasonable prices, served in a pleasant environment? Then Savor Café at Marylhurst University is the place to go.

The café is open to the public Monday through Friday from 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. Chef Jennifer Pack and her crew invite the public to experience Marylhurst's best kept secret.

"People don't realize we are open to serve them," Pack said. "They think we are just for the Marylhurst community. But the fact is we are open to serve the community, and are eager to help with catering events, too."

Local civic organizations, such as the Lions Club, have discovered the convenience of holding their meetings at Marylhurst and having Savor Café serve lunch. Indeed, the university is being used more and more frequently for events that require catered meals and banquets.

"We had a Lakeridge team here last night," Pack said, adding that the dining room can accommodate about 330 people and other spaces across campus are also available to use for events.

Pack, who has decades of food service experience, earned a culinary degree from Portland's Le Cordon Bleu Culinary Arts School. She employs a farm-to-fork philosophy to create from-scratch soups, sauces, stocks and dressings, and the bases for Savor Café's menu each day.

The menu, which changes daily, features personalized create-your-own pizza; build-your-own salad bar with assorted fresh and roasted toppings and house-made vinaigrettes; global entrées, such as Ecuadorian rubbed pork loin or pear-bulgur-stuffed bell peppers; and sandwiches, soups and baked goods. Vegan, gluten free and balanced meals are always available. Big hits include the house made pickles and kettle chips.

Savor Café is run by Bon Appetit Management Company, an onsite restaurant company offering full food-service management to corporations, universities, museums and specialty venues. Based in Palo Alto, Calif., the award-winning company operates more than 1,000 cafés in 33 states for dozens of marquee clients, including Mentor Graphics, Target, Starbucks, Union Pacific, Yahoo, Lewis & Clark College, Reed College, University of Portland, MIT, Oregon Episcopal School and George Fox University.

"We are huge, but we are very local," Pack said. "We use no standardized recipes, and in fact develop our own recipes."

BAMC gives its chefs freedom to create menus that are right for their guests, but also has a long list of standards that ingredients must meet. For example ground beef comes from ranches whose animal welfare practices have been verified by a third party as humane (or else from a small local producer registered through the local Farm to Fork program). They serve wild salmon, not farmed salmon, and use no trans fats, no MSG and take no shortcuts.

According to the company's website (bamco.com), "Our dream is to be the premier onsite restaurant company known for its culinary expertise and commitment to socially responsible practices. We are a culture driven to create food that is alive with flavor and nutrition, prepared from scratch using authentic ingredients. We do this in a socially responsible manner for the well-being of our guests, communities, and the environment."

This has been the company's guiding philosophy since it was founded in 1987.

Pack encourages all to sign up for the Menu Mail, a daily email of what is being served at Savor Café that day. Visit marylhurst.cafebonappetit.com/ to sign up and to view the menu, read news about your food, learn about sustainability and nutrition and more.

Lunch items range in price from $3-$6.75. Enjoy the global entrée for just $5 every Friday. Learn more online at marylhurst.cafebonappetit.com.

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