544 Café is Open for Business10/6/2022
The 544 Café held its annual grand opening for the 2022-23 school year Oct. 4.
With names like Raider Nation Tacos, AHMO Eat this Sandwich, Wylie Way-sadillas, R.F.L. Flatbread and Pirate Pancakes, customers will have to visit often to get a taste of every item on the menu.
Students from both Wylie East and Wylie High in the practicum of culinary arts classes run the restaurant under the direction of Certified Culinarian Chef Toni Sloane.
The Café also had a soft opening last week, servicing only one table during its breakfast shift; however, in its one hour of being fully opened on its first day, the 544 breakfast crew served five tables.
“The grand opening was the first day that everything was in full force,” Chef Sloane said. “These kids are ready. They trained hard and are a tight unit. They work well as a team.”
From prepping and cooking, to seating guests, students run the entire kitchen. This was the first year to work in the Café for three of the eight students working the breakfast shift.
“Today was their first real stress test. They are rising to the occasion and doing everything we taught them to do,” Chef Sloane said.
WEHS senior Trace Jones works “front of the house.”
“I was not ready for three entire parties to walk in at once,” Jones said. “Chef Sloane helped me to work it all out.”
Jones’ responsibilities as part of the “front of the house” station is to greet and seat customers, get their drinks, set the table, clean the table and run their tickets. Jones helps train the other students in the kitchen too.
“He has the level of confidence that we want to see,” Chef Sloane said.
Wylie High Alumna Makayla Johannsen
visits the 544 Café every chance she gets.
WHS Class of 2021 graduate Makayla Johannsen knows first-hand how stressful opening day can be. She was in the culinary program and worked in the 544 Café when she was in high school.
Johannsen attended the grand opening and tries to visit the restaurant every time she is in town visiting from college.
“When I was here, I rotated among all of the stations,” Johannsen said. “My favorite station was ‘front of the house.’”
She was impressed with Jones.
“He’s by himself and doing really well for the amount of tables he has,” Johannsen said.
WHS senior Rima Suvagia
plates food for to-go orders.
This is WHS senior Rima Suvagia’s second year to work in the restaurant. She worked the expo station on opening day, where she was responsible for plating the food before it was served to customers. Her favorite breakfast meal to prepare is the Breakfast Enchiladas.
“They are easy to make and they look really pretty when plated,” Suvagia said.
The culinary students rotate to a different station every few weeks. Stations include an egg station, fry station, grill, expo and front of the house.
Once their shift is over, they make their own breakfast before heading to their second period classes.
WEHS senior Cooper Wildt’s favorite station to work is the egg station.
“There are eggs in every order; you always have something to do,” Wildt said. “I like the flat top too, but it gets really hot.”
The 544 Café is open to the public every Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday that school is in session.