The Cascades is the best it’s been in years. In all my years at Cascades, since I was a boy, this may just be the best I’ve ever seen it. It truly is a great time to live at the Cascades.
Part of that is the energy in the community right now. If you haven’t been in the building lately, I’d highly recommend it. From new exercise classes to great impromptu get together around the coffee machine, it just feels like there’s a constant buzz. And it’s contagious!
But the bigger reason I’m so excited is that I have the privilege of seeing what we have planned in the next year. If I had to pick one word to describe it, it would be “pioneer,” because we’re literally blazing entirely new trails. We’re doing so much, in fact, I had to break this into three parts, as it wouldn’t all fit into one e-blast.
First on the list is our dining program. We’ve always had a somewhat innovative dining program. Many communities don’t let you have both lunch and dinner and prescribe you a seating time, compared to our pick any two meals and sit whenever you want options. We want to take that even farther, though. Our dream is to have multiple restaurant experiences, all included within the Cascades.
Any dining experience starts with your chef. After 16 years of service with the family, Chef Michael has unfortunately retired. He will be missed, but our new Chef, J.D., is more than up for the challenge. He, Meredith, and I have been working closely and we’re really excited about some new programs we’re rolling out.
Don’t worry, we’re not going to lose our good food. That was one of the first things J.D. said when he joined our team. What we are going to update, though, is some of our presentations, starting with our menus. Sometimes when I eat at the Cascades, I feel a little like I’m eating at In-and-Out-it feels like there are secret everyday menu items we’re happy to prepare, but you must ask to learn about them. So one of our big changes is that our new menus will be bigger, and they will have everything listed. For example, no more ordering “Deli Sandwiches,” and you have to ask what kinds of deli meats we have-we plan to lay it all out there.
There will be more presentation updates in the future, including renaming some dishes and changing the way we display our specials, but menus are the ones I’m most excited about.
We’ve listened to your feedback, and Chef J.D. is also going to try and bring in some new options for people who are more health-conscious or have special dietary needs. So while he’s not allowed to touch my cheeseburgers, you can expect to see some healthier items showing up as an option in the future. We’re still ironing out the details, but the dream is to have rotating options every day that cater both to the health-conscious and those of us (me) who just want a bit of comfort food.
This is all in preparation for our biggest change, which will be a full dining room and kitchen renovation. Many of you have spoken to my mother, who has been managing this project. We have plans back and now and are really excited about what the future holds. Not only will we have a new dining room, but the current plan ( budget and inflation willing ) is to add some additional space to the dining room for a bar and bistro area.
This will allow us to have a second distinct dining experience at the Cascades. We’re still working out the details, but it will potentially have more flexible hours and a lighter fare. It will also give us a better space to watch U of A games. We’re still ironing out the fine details of how we’re going to weave that into the meal plan but stay tuned.
We have to get in final bids, but the dream is to enclose the breezeway between the Tower and the dining room as part of this remodel. That means people will no longer need to walk outside when they go eat. We’re also hoping it cute the cross wind in the lobby, which has been an ongoing complaint. That way when the doors to the dining room open, there won’t be a chill.
So as you can see, we have a lot going on, and that’s just with dining! Stay tuned as I’ll have more updates coming covering technology, care, and pricing!