Iowa Café for seniors at Sode's Perk Central

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Sode's Perk Central is participating in The Iowa Café, a new innovative partnership between Iowa's Area Agency on Aging and licensed food service establishments. (Press photo by Caroline Rosacker)

By Caroline Rosacker

The Iowa Café is a new innovative partnership between Iowa's Area Agencies on Aging and licensed food service establishments like restaurants, food trucks, cafes, convenience stores, and grocery stores with hot and cold food options. Every menu is approved by a dietician to meet one-third of the daily nutrition needs for an older person.

Participant eligibility

To participate in The Iowa Café, individuals must be 60 years of age or older, or a spouse of an eligible individual regardless of age. Meals are provided on a voluntary contribution basis, and individuals will be encouraged to donate towards the cost of the meal through a contribution statement sent in the following month.

Participating restaurants

Locally NEI3A participating restaurants are Sode's Green Acres and Perk Central in Guttenberg, and Johnson's Restaurant & Catering in Elkader.

Sode's Perk Central

The Iowa Café menu is available at Sode's Green Acres and Perk Central on Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday  from 7 a.m.- 7 p.m. Breakfast choices will be available from 7 a.m.-11 a.m., and lunch/dinner options from 11 a.m.- 7 p.m.

Copies of the set menu are available at Sodes. Each restaurant is paid directly for meals served by Northeast Iowa Area Agency on Aging. Consumers will not pay at the time of service but may provide tips for service if they wish.  Participants are eligible for 12 meals per month to use at any participating "Iowa Café" restaurants. Any meals not used in a month may not be carried over to the next month and only the consumer who holds the card may use that card. The meals should not be given to another person.

"The goal of the program is not only to provide older individuals with healthy meal options, but also an incentive to eat out and socialize," says Beth Sadewasser, Sode's Green Acre and Perk Central owner. "We are very excited about offering this program and hope everyone who is eligible will sign up."

She went on to say, "If we get enough participation we hope to offer morning, and or afternoon activities to help promote the socialization of our older community."

How to register

You may register by filling out The Iowa Cafe' registration form. The most efficient way to register for the program  is to use the Iowa Café on-line registration site here: https://appengine.egov.com/apps/ia/ida_nutrition. Once the registration is processed you will receive a key card in the mail. When you visit one of the participating restaurant you can choose an item from the Iowa Cafe' menu and use your key card to pay. Participants may use their key cards once per day. If you are traveling across Iowa you can visit other participating restaurants. To find Iowa Café locations across the state, please visit: https://iowaaging.gov/health/iowa-cafe. For additional information call 1-800-779-8707.

Sode's menu options

All breakfast items are offered with a choice of mixed berries, tropical fruit blend, peaches, or apple. Breakfast will also include coffee, milk, or juice. One refill on coffee, no refill on milk or juice. Substitutions are not allowed, but you may decline any item. 

• Egg sandwich - English muffin, sausage patty, egg, and slice of cheese

• Biscuits & gravy - biscuit covered with sausage gravy with 2 eggs on top

• Quiche

• Eggs made to order - 2 eggs with the choice of bacon, sausage or ham and 2 pieces of toast

• Pancake & parfait - pancake served with Greek yogurt topped with choice of mixed berries or tropical fruit and granola.

Sandwiches & Wraps

All sandwiches and wraps are served with the choice of soup, one side, and either coffee, milk, or juice.

• Grilled tuna - tuna grilled with American cheese on honey wheat bread

• Fresh tuna - tuna with lettuce and tomato on honey wheat bread

• Grilled turkey berry - grilled turkey with Swiss cheese and cranberry sauce on honey wheat bread

• Fresh turkey berry - turkey with Swiss cheese and cranberry sauce on the side on honey wheat bread

• Grilled apple ham & cheese - grilled ham, cheddar cheese, honey mustard, and thinly sliced apple on honey wheat bread

• Fresh apple ham - ham, cheddar cheese, honey mustard, on honey wheat bread with an apple sliced on the side

• BLT wrap - bacon, lettuce, tomato, mayo wrapped in a flour tortilla

• Chicken bacon ranch wrap - chicken, bacon, lettuce, cheese, ranch dressing wrapped in a flour tortilla

Soup options are:

• Tomato basil

• Vegetable 

• French onion 

Sides include:

• Coleslaw

• Cottage cheese

•  Peaches

• Applesauce

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