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James Adair, a student at the Victory Trade School, prepares a grilled chicken Italian sandwich with spinach at the Branch Bistro. The bistro offers healthy dining options at the Assemblies of God headquarters.
James Adair, a student at the Victory Trade School, prepares a grilled chicken Italian sandwich with spinach at the Branch Bistro. The bistro offers healthy dining options at the Assemblies of God headquarters.

Bistro adds healthy options to AG headquarters

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A partnership between Victory Trade School and Assemblies of God means that the more than 800 employees don’t have to leave the organization’s north Springfield headquarters on Boonville Avenue for healthy breakfast and lunch options.

Six months ago, the trade school worked with Assemblies of God to open The Branch Bistro and Catering, which serves as an in-house cafeteria that’s also open to the public.

While the menu does include cheeseburgers, chicken tenders and French fries, it also offers salads, soups and sandwiches, many of which feature homemade, fat-free sourdough bread.

“We just thought this would make a great example and perhaps provide a great product and be a template for other entities to collaborate,” said Assemblies of God Treasurer Doug Clay, who noted that workers from the nearby CoxHealth campus also visit The Branch Bistro.

The eatery serves about 200 people a day, said chef Chadwick Isom.

 “There was a big cry for more value and more nutrition in their diets, so we came in trying to fill that need,” Isom said. “I think it’s our responsibility to work in a direction for more wholesome meals for the community.”

The Branch Bistro also has a full-scale bakery, and students of the trade school –under Isom’s guidance – prepare much of what’s on the menu, which has a price range of $1 to $5.

Regardless of whether a cheeseburger or a lighter dish is chosen, the key to healthy eating starts with how food is prepared, he said.

“Anything that’s processed, manufactured, loaded with preservatives, those products are very bad for you,” Isom said. “If you take fresh fruits, fresh vegetables and fresh meat, if you start with those ingredients, you’re going to not only come up with a very delicious meal, but the byproduct is going to be less fat, more nutrition and good choice for a wellness-type plan.”[[In-content Ad]]

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