My choice for lunch on a recent Thursday led to eating an excellent hamburger on a fresh-baked bun accompanied by the best sweet potato fries I’ve ever had.
Add to that an ice cream sundae made with homemade ice cream and drizzled with made-from-scratch chocolate sauce, and the result was a very satisfying meal.
This delectable lunch was planned, prepared and served by high school students at the Ram Restaurant at Greene County High School in Jefferson.
For the past 30 years, the restaurant has been the hands-on teaching instrument where students learn about culinary arts and the restaurant business, everything from portion size to getting the most local, most fresh ingredients possible.
The meal I ate featured beef from a local farmer. The hamburger buns were baked within an hour or less from being served, and the ice cream and the chocolate sauce were made in-house.
The sweet potato fries were baked, not fried. The light coating of olive oil and cornstarch resulted in a sweet, tasty fry.
My server was 10th grader Ricky Montoya, who brought a large round pan of burgers out from the kitchen to serve the growing number of customers.
Student Jacob Peterson, a senior, was in charge of the dinning. He plans to pursue culinary arts education at Iowa Lakes Community College in Fort Dodge.
He was kept busy seating patrons and making change as the students served more than 20 people. As the spring semester moves on, it is not unusual for them to at times serve more than 50 people during the 90 minutes they are open.
Customers need to make reservations for Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday each week.
The menu differs each week with the plans made several weeks in advance. The education extends beyond the cooking and serving of the food. It is not unusual for the students to take a field trip to where the food is raised or grown.
Any meal served by the restaurant is $6. Any tips that are left for the servers goes into a pot for all the culinary students to go out to eat at a nice restaurant together before the semester is over.
101 Ram Drive, Jefferson
(515) 386-2188 for reservations
Hours: 11:30-1 p.m. on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays through May 22.