Hospital food? Jello, applesauce, and chicken consommé, right? But not at Montrose Memorial Hospital, where Food Services Director Michael Krull shuns deliberately bland, pre-processed dishes (heat and serve) and instead serves an extensive menu full of fresh dishes, all made-to-order, that break the mold. With the help of his friendly, skilled staff, he’s done just that and more at the Lobby Grille inside Montrose Memorial Hospital.
No, you don’t need to be a patient or even visiting one to taste the culinary specialties of the Lobby Grille. In fact, the multi-faceted kitchen serves on average 700 patients, doctors, diners, nurses and hungry reporters every weekday. It’s a figure that’s sure to climb as the secret spreads.
The driving idea behind the Lobby Grille is fresh, fast, flavorful and affordable dishes, made to order in 15 minutes or less. The first step in experiencing the food is ordering on one of three computers located at its entrance. (If computers aren’t your thing, don’t worry. There’s usually a smiling staff member nearby for the timid.) It takes just a few steps (and clicks) to place an order, later delivered to your table.
The Lobby Grille has several distinct kitchen stations, each one with an impressive menu of its own. From the flame-heated Hearth, offerings include a toasted BLAT (bacon, lettuce avocado, tomato, $6.25) that comes with smoked Gouda and a side of lemon coleslaw. The perfectly crusty-yet-chewy “personal” pizzas from the Hearth ($4.25) come with with three toppings on a base of either tomato sauce or pesto, and are just the right size for lunch. Or you can simply click on the Great Greek pizza, ($4.25), topped with fresh spinach, roasted red pepper, fresh tomato, feta cheese, red onion, and Kalamata olives. If pizzas aren’t quite your gig, you can have them wrap it up into a calzone for the same price.
From the Flex station you can satisfy your guilty pleasure with the mac and cheese ($6.25) made with Capicolla ham and topped with breadcrumbs and Fontina cheese to form a crust atop the rich noodles. The spice of the shrimp pad Thai ($6.25) is perfect for a frigid winter day while the chili lime shrimp and crab cakes ($6.75) are an easy go-to favorite.
The burgers always satisfy (in size and flavor) whether made with beef ($5.50) or High Wire Ranch bison ($6.25). And there are plenty of sandwiches ranging from an impressively thick Reuben ($6.25) to an orange beef French dip ($6.25) that’s a twist on Chicago’s famous “wet beef” sandwich.
On a slim budget, Krull seeks out the most affordable and fresh ingredients he can buy and then educates his staff on being creative with what they have. It’s a formula that, so far, has delivered time and time again.
The flavors of the Lobby Grille will forever change your understanding of what hospital food too often is and what it can be.
GET TECH SAVVY: Once you place your order at the computer while at the Lobby Grille, it takes less than 15 minutes for it to be served. You can also go to the Lobby Grille’s website, montrosehospital.com/lobbygrille and order ahead of time.
TAKE ‘N’ BAKE: 16” family size pizzas can be eaten there or grab a take ‘n’ bake pizza for dinner later. Gluten free pizza crust is available for all family size pies.
SHARE A SALAD: With house made fresh mozzarella (made every other day), cherry tomatoes, white anchovies, assorted olives, salad greens, grilled flat bred, extra virgin olive oil, and sherry glaze, the Tuscany salad is a must-order. How about ordering an entrée and sharing the salad?
BREAKFAST ANYONE? Get your weekday moving with a hearty yet affordable breakfast. Items include a breakfast burrito, blue corn huevos rancheros and French toast, all just $3.75.
Breakfast served weekdays, 7:30-10:45 a.m.
Lunch/dinner served daily 11 a.m.-7 p.m.