I’ve often marveled at the generosity of the Central Florida culinary community and its willingness to donate, volunteer and participate in good causes. But here’s a new level of compassion.
Beginning this month, restaurants are participating in an ongoing Dementia-friendly Dining program, wherein family members and caregivers can bring people with Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia to dine in a safe and welcoming environment. The program was founded by Dennis Dulniak, who was caregiver for his wife, Nancy. Dulniak started Dementia-friendly Dining a few years ago but had to suspend it when the pandemic hit. Nancy Dulniak died in January 2021.
But Dulniak is restarting the program so others can benefit. As it says on the organization’s website, “Sharing a meal out of the house reduces isolation, increases social contact, encourages opportunities for engagement, stimulation, communication and creates memories that will be shared among families and friends.”
The Meatball Stoppe had been one of the first restaurants to sign on before Covid-19 hit and is once again offering dementia-friendly hours from 2 to 5 p.m. on Tuesdays beginning May 10.
Oviedo’s Town House Restaurant will welcome families on Wednesdays from 2 to 5 p.m. beginning May 4.
And Patio Grill in Sanford will have Dementia-friendly dining every second Tuesday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. beginning May 10.
It’s a start, but of course more restaurants are wanted and needed. If you’re a restaurateur and would like to learn how you can offer special dining hours – or if you’re a caregiver who would like to learn more about the program – visit centralfloridadementia-friendlydining.com.
Musical Chefs...Alberto Taboada was named executive chef for the JW Marriott Orlando, Grande Lakes in March. He oversees the newly reopened Primo by Chef Melissa Kelly, Whisper Creek Farm: The Kitchen, and Knife Burger by John Tesar, which is now officially open, as well as other culinary operations. Taboada replaced Michael Dunton, who has been named executive chef at Rosen Shingle Creek.