Mark Ziemke of Fremont has become a familiar face at the Centre’ Point Café inside New London Family Medical Center.
“They know my name,” said Ziemke, an employee at Bemis Graphics down the street, who takes lunch there nearly every day. “I know their names. It’s almost like they’re part of the people who you work with. It’s fun.”
Ziemke is not the only non-hospital person to frequent the hospital cafeteria, which is on the New London medical campus, which includes the hospital and ThedaCare Physicians. Local business people, law enforcement, and other residents have been taking meals at the cafeteria. “It’s good, it’s quick,” said New London Police Chief Jeff Schlueter, who said many from his department go to the cafeteria. “They’re getting a decent meal for a reasonable price.”
Mary Mathewson, food service supervisor, said the cafeteria is a convenient spot. “They can come in and they don’t have to wait for someone to wait on them,” she said.
The cafeteria offers a salad bar, build-your-own-sandwich bar, two soups a day, two to three entrees with sides, and homemade desserts. “We serve a broad array of foods, including healthy options,” she said.
Chief Schlueter agreed, noting the meals are healthier “than what we would get if we were eating out every day.”
Ziemke said the food is excellent. “I really haven’t had a bad meal there,” he said. “It’s become my big meal of the day.”
Mathewson said the atmosphere of the cafeteria is open and friendly, from the wide windows to the cheery staff. “It has a real homey feel to it,” she said. “My staff are just awesome. They know everybody’s names. It is fun to converse with them and joke around a little bit.”
For Ziemke, going to the cafeteria is also a way to get out of the office for a while and stretch his legs. Chief Schlueter said he and his officers can interact with the community. “We quite often have people coming up to us when we eat lunch and we don’t mind it,” he said. “We can help support our local hospital. And at the same time provide a service to the community.”
Chief Schlueter said the cafeteria is an asset to the community. “I think it’s only going to continue to grow,” he said.