Wilmington Hospital officially opened the new Au Bon Pain at the Blue Granite Café on Oct. 10, introducing another major element in the $210 million Wilmington Transformation Project and the first venture into Delaware by the nationally renowned restaurant chain.
“We are committed to keeping our neighbors healthy, not just when they are under our clinical care but also when they are visiting friends and family in our hospital,” said Edmondo Robinson, M.D., MBA, physician-in-chief at Wilmington Hospital. “We already have the Overlook Café at Wilmington Hospital, which for more than a year has been serving excellent dishes to our employees and neighbors. Now with Au Bon Pain, we have another exciting option.”
The partnership, said Ray Seigfried, Christiana Care’s senior vice president of Administration, Clinical and Materiel Operations, further empowers Christiana Care to “take better care of our neighbors and build a healthier community here in the city of Wilmington” through a vendor repeatedly cited by Health Magazine as one of America’s Top Five Healthiest Restaurants.
A stroll through the café, conveniently located on the second floor just above the hospital’s award-winning renovated atrium and near its busy Emergency Department, quickly reveals an extensive menu full of diverse, healthy options for both hospital staff and patients and their families. The café offers breakfast options, signature sandwiches, soups and salads, “grab-and-go” fruit cups, parfaits, wraps and juices — and, of course, Au Bon Pain’s famous fresh-baked breads and pastries.
“It gives us the ability to offer extended hours, which is particularly great for our evening staff, as well as more healthy food choices and a second option for both staff and patient families,” said Sharon Kurfuerst, EdD, OTR/L, FAOTA, senior vice president of Administration. “It offers our visitors a place to go to relax in a non-clinical setting, and the cafe gives a more suburban feel to an urban environment.”
The Blue Granite Café is the first of Au Bon Pain’s two planned locations in Delaware; a second location will open in the near future in Christiana Hospital. Au Bon Pain Chief Operating Officer Brian Wright said the restaurant’s executives are “excited about the fact that our roots are planted” in Delaware and pleased to be working with Christiana Care.
Addressing staff members and representatives of the press at the opening, Wright said, “We believe Au Bon Pain’s service and offerings coincide with Christiana Care’s commitment to serving the community and ensuring your — and now our — neighbors have access to the highest level of care and comfort,” adding as well that the café has already implemented a program through which its fresh unsold products are donated each day to area homeless shelters and women’s crisis centers.
Representing the city of Wilmington, Jeff Flynn, deputy director, Wilmington Mayor’s Office of Economic Development, also expressed excitement over the new partnership, congratulating Christiana Care and Au Bon Pain.
“Thank you for your investment in the city of Wilmington,” Flynn said at the opening.
Au Bon Pain at the Blue Granite Café is open from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m., Monday through Friday, and from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. Au Bon Pain also offers catering.