Eskenazi Hospital opens in Indianapolis

Foodservice features include The Marketplace, a retail wing and plans for a "sky farm."

Published in Healthcare Spotlight

Wishard Hospital, which graced Indianapolis for 150 years, is no more. In its place is a sleek 350-bed medical center, known as the Sidney and Lois Eskenazi Hospital. Few people are more excited about the new space, which opened in December, than Tom Thaman, the director of nutrition services at the hospital.

“The hospital was much needed,” Thaman says. “It has the same number of beds as Wishard, but it has a smaller footprint and is a much more efficient use of space. The old hospital was really a series of buildings added over the years, with the oldest being built 150 years ago.”

Thaman has a special reason to be jazzed about the space: He helped to design the foodservice portion. “I have worked in other facilities where I was stuck with whatever foodservice was in place,” he explains. “If we wanted to change the menu we had to do a lot of work, so I had these spaces designed with flexibility in mind.”

The main foodservice operation is The Marketplace, a bright, airy space that features several concepts that lend themselves to menu adaptation. The most popular station thus far is the Italian station, which has a pizza oven that allows Thaman’s staff to prepare and sell customized personal pan pizzas, pizza by the slice and a pasta of the day.

The Marketplace also includes a deli, an enhanced grill station, a double-sided soup and salad bar, an action station and a grab-and-go store. Food wells at each of the stations are designed to be used as either cold wells or hot wells, adding to the flexibility of each station.

“The action station is going to be one of the neatest elements,” says Thaman, noting that this area has yet to be brought online while staff continue training. “It faces a 20-seat dining area with glass walls in front so that diners can see the chefs at work. The glass walls slide open so that we can move the tables and chairs forward and do cooking demos.”

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