High school students open up pop-up restaurant

WALLINGFORD – A new restaurant is cooking up in Wallingford, giving students a taste of the real world.

Culinary students at Lyman Hall High School are running a two day pop-up Asian inspired restaurant on Center Street.

The entire event from planning to cooking is done by students from the school’s Hospitality and Culinary Management class. The class is the most advanced of Lyman Hall’s culinary program.

The idea is that customers can come in, pick the ingredients they want in a stir-fry, and it will be cooked right in front of them.

Lyman Hall High School Senior, Alexandra Tolla, is managing the restaurant and said it’s really interactive for guests.

“We want to show them what we can do as students, we’re only 17 or 18-years-old and we already are running a full restaurant,” she said.

If you don’t want to order in advance to dine in, you can pick up food from the school’s food truck which is on site. The event only takes place Friday, April 28 and Saturday, April 29 but the planning for it was over a span of several months.

“We’ve gone through planning, menu development, all of the marketing, we made shirts, we had to contact the fire marshal,” Tolla said.

Wallingford Public Schools Superintendent, Sal Menzo, said the program is about offering students an experience to take with them into the future.

“There’s so many layers of academics as well as social skill development, and just life skills,” Menzo said. “It’s the math skills, the science skills, obviously the culinary skills, the written and oral communication skills knowing how to research to make sure you work with the health department.”

The event takes place at HUBCAP Wallingford, a business incubator which began three years ago as a place students can develop and demonstrate entrepreneurial skills.

Tolla said the money from the event will go back to the school to cover the cost of it and for future events.

“It’s not really for the profit, it’s more for the experience,” she said.

This is the first year this specific class is being held but the superintendent said it will be around for years to come.

“If every child has an experience like this, we are just destined for a better future,” he said.

If you want to dine-in you can pre-order a meal in advance by filling out a form and emailing it to sdrossopoulous@wallingfordschools.org.

The pop-up shop can be found at HUBCAP Wallingford located at 128 Center Street. The final day is Saturday, April 29 from 11 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.