TEWKSBURY — With industrial metal chairs, wooden architecture, and potted succulents on the tables, the District is the type of restaurant one might expect to find in a chic downtown setting, rather than inside a technical high school. In this case, the snappy eatery may be found at Minuteman Technical High School in Lexington.
Minuteman Tech, like many area vocational schools, maintains a fully functioning restaurant, open to the public, to provide real world experience to its culinary students.
Technical high school eateries are a hidden gem for those who can sneak away during the week for lunch, boasting freshly made meals, charming service, and value pricing.
Recently, a friend and I visited the restaurant, just a short distance off I-95. Reservations are suggested. Upon being seated, we were served a basket of student-made bread that was warm, delicate, and flaky. The vegetable soup was flavorful and the garden salad was bright and appealing.
Entrees included several options, such as braised short ribs, broiled salmon, and a caprese panini. We opted for the Mediterranean marinated chicken, a BLT, and the Vegtastic! veggie burger.
Service was attentive and our food arrive promptly. The chicken was juicy and the vegetables were well cooked, served on a bed of rice pilaf. The BLT was crisp in all its elements, and a side of hand-cut rustic potato chips rounded out the plate.
We took the veggie burger to go, and our server boxed it up and had it ready for us when we left; the burger was delicately placed on top of a pile of bright purple shredded cabbage, the bun had beautiful grill marks, and the burger was flavorful.
The desserts were inexpensive, so we opted to try both, which turned out to be an excellent decision. Delivered with a professional-grade presentation was a slice of applesauce cake with a spiced whipped cream, and a chocolate chip cheesecake torte with an artistic chocolate design on top.
The cake was moist and flavorful, and the whipped cream was enhanced with nutmeg and cinnamon. The cheesecake was perfectly portioned — rich without being overwhelming. The chocolate chips made for a nice surprise and added character.
Service was also high quality. Students wore matching uniforms for a classy touch. Our waiter was polite, prompt, and returned several times to check that we were enjoying our meal; he explained that when he graduates from Minuteman, he would like to enlist in the Navy to be a chef.
For the quality and quantity of food, the price truly cannot be beat. The restaurant also offers a number of boxed salads and bakery treats.
To get some exercise after your meal, the Battle Road at Minuteman National Historical Park is a quick drive across the street. This neatly groomed path is accessible to walkers of all ages, is stroller and bike friendly, and takes visitors step by step through the history of the beginnings of the American Revolution.
Since the District is only open during school hours, make sure to bring a photo ID to enter the building. They offer table service Tuesday through , a buffet on Fridays and are closed on Mondays. For days of service and reservations, visit their website at https://www.minuteman.org/Page/129 or call 781-861-6500 x1076.