What if you could get a haircut or meal for a very reasonable cost and help a student embark on a career path at the same time? Sound good? Perhaps using the services of these educational facilities may be for you.

By Betsy Natter

Often the best way to learn a new skill or develop expertise is to gain hands-on experience. Montgomery County’s technical and career high schools and the community college don’t merely provide classroom lectures. Students also engage in real world operations within their career field. By opening their doors to the public, the schools’ restaurants, salons and other service providers create a win-win situation for everyone. Students gain experience and the public receives high-quality reduced priced meals or other services.

Are you looking for a new and inexpensive place to enjoy a great meal or maybe get your hair done? Check out the services offered below.

The Culinary Arts Institute of MCCC
1400 Forty Foot Rd., Lansdale, PA 19446

Start your day with some freshly made baked goods from the Forty Foot Café, the on-site student run retail bakery. Open Wednesdays and Thursdays from 9 am to noon, the bakery offers a variety of breads, cookies and deserts.

Bistro 1400 is the student restaurant located at the Culinary Arts Institute (CAI) of Montgomery County Community College. The lunch spot offers a pre-fixe menu on Thursdays and Fridays. The student chefs put their education and skills to use as they plan the menus which change weekly. Everything is prepared and served by students in the CAI program and revenues support the Culinary Arts programs. Reservations can be made at https://reserve.com/r/bistro-1400 and are highly recommended as seatings do sell out.

North Montco Technical Career Center
1265 Sumneytown Pk., Lansdale, Pa 19446
(215) 368-1177

The Center’s Restaurant is open on Wednesday and Thursdays for breakfast from 8:45 to 10 am. Menu selections change, but include items such as baked raspberry oatmeal and ham and latke stack.  Lunch service is from 12:15 to 1:45 pm where you can enjoy items like French Style Airline Chicken or roasted sea scallops. Reservations are requested and can be made at ext. 193.

The student run Bakery is open Wednesday and Thursdays from 8:45 to 10 am and from 12:30 to 2 pm on days when school is in session. To place orders in advance, call ext. 119.

Stop into the Salon for a $5 haircut or a $3 manicure any day of the week. Salon hours are Monday through Friday 8:10 to 11:30 am and 12:15 to 2 pm. Some other services include waxing, hair treatments and skin care.

Central Montco Technical High School
821 Plymouth Rd., Plymouth Meeting, PA 19462
(610) 277-2301 ext. 367

The student run café, the Culinary Arts restaurant, features items created by the students in both the culinary arts and baking programs. Call for reservations and days of operation by contacting Chef Melanie Wheeler at ext. 281.

The school salon offers a full range of services salon to the public daily. They provide hair, skin and nail care. Appointments are available at 8 am and 12 pm by calling Mrs. Mary Boccella at ext. 202.

Several other services are also available through programs at the school. Basic automotive and collision repairs, computer diagnosis and repair and childcare services can be arranged by calling the school and speaking to program heads or visiting the services page of the website available here.

Western Montgomery Career and Technology Center
77 Graterford Rd. Limerick, PA 19468
(610) 489-7272

Perfect Petals Floral, run by the Environmental Design students, takes orders for custom floral work throughout the school year. Students create floral arrangements for any occasion including business meetings, holiday parties, gifts, weddings or funerals. See samples of their beautiful work here.

The Pennsylvania Garden Café features a 3-course meal for $12.50 on select Wednesdays and Fridays. Lunch seatings begin at 11:30 am and 12:15 pm. Also, you can choose, a High Tea day featuring a 3-tier tray of both sweet and savory sandwiches and desserts for $15.  Since this is a teaching facility, the restaurant is only open on select days. Call ahead to check the schedule and to make reservations; seatings do sell out.

The Salon offers a variety of services including haircuts, coloring and styling, perms, hair removal and nail and skin care. Licensed cosmetology instructors supervise all the work. The Salon is open on Wednesday and Friday from 11am to 2 pm and Thursdays from 11am to 7 pm. Due to the volume of business, an appointment is recommended. Please call 610-489-7272 ext. 211. 

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