The Palm Leaf Cafe- Everything You Need to Know
By: Kate Sinodis and Kushal Upreti
The Palm Leaf Cafe is returning to Apex High School for the 2021-2022 school year. The reopening of the cafe later this semester will accompany the grand opening of a brand new juice bar, which will operate in the courtyard. The purpose of the Palm Leaf is to provide a relaxing but vibrant environment for teachers, while they enjoy a quality lunch made by students in the Culinary IV class at Apex High School.
Having a cafe at Apex High School is nothing new. The original cafe started twelve years ago when Mrs. Hoskins first came to Apex High School. Originally called Cougar Cakes, the cafe mainly focused on baked goods and was very different compared to the Palm Leaf we have now. Unlike the old menu from Cougar Cakes, the Palm Leaf Cafe has shifted its focus to healthier eating and farm to table sustainability; however, iconic baked goods such as cupcakes will still be available. The Palm Leaf Cafe itself is relatively new. The original cafe was rebranded to the Palm Leaf Cafe during our time at Green Level while the new Apex High was still under construction. The rebranding of the cafe was inspired by The Palmetto Cafe in Charleston, South Carolina, where Mrs. Hoskins visited on vacation. Mrs. Hoskins commented she really enjoyed how relaxing and laidback the dining experience was, and decided to bring that same energy to Apex High for her coworkers, but with an added vibrant vacation theme.
The Cafe was closed most of last year due to Covid, with the exception of a few pop up shops that took place; but it will make a full return this year, along with a brand new juice bar. The bar will mostly focus on serving juice made from fresh fruit; however, there will also be other health-conscious options including wheatgrass and protein shakes. One of the juices in the test kitchen is the Emerald Isle–which is a juice made from cucumber, pineapple, and kiwi. The physical juice bar itself was designed by the drafting class and made by the carpentry class, so it has been the result of a collaboration between several different classes.
One unique thing about the Palm Leaf is that the students are fully responsible for the operations, though Mrs. Hoskins serves as a consultant. The Culinary IV class creates the menu, prepares, and cooks the food. The class also runs the website for the Palm Leaf, does all other marketing, and figures out the prices of each new dish that they create. The head chef is in charge of setting the schedule for the students to work in the cafe. All aspects of this project serve as excellent real world experience in running a restaurant.
There is still no set opening day for the Cafe as the Culinary IV students are going through the process of finalizing the menu. Once open, The Palm Leaf Cafe will be available during both first and second lunch and will be first come first serve for the staff here at Apex High School. There will also be catering and delivery options available. For more information about the menu and catering, visit the Palm Leaf Cafe website.