Chef? Best Friends has a Chef? Well, yeah, sort of. But he’s far more than that. He manages the kitchen as well as doing the purchasing for other areas of the Sanctuary. So, in effect, he’s not only running the kitchen, he’s the commissary as well. Best Friends has an onsite kitchen and dining room that is open from 11:30 a.m. until 1:00 p.m. It’s a short walk from the Parrot Garden, so I usually sprinted over there for some mid-day chow. It’s vegetarian with a vegan option, but for the omnivores out there, it’s usually so good, you don’t miss meat. Seriously, it never bothered me. I really didn’t notice. Not at all.

Landscaping in front of Angel Village, where the dining room is.

I loved it because I had to cover this place in eight days with little time to run out anywhere for lunch. When I was at the Cincinnati Zoo, I was covering a smaller area, only 65 acres, so it was easy to grab a hot dog or a slice of pizza before running over to feed penguins or clean the Kea enclosure. Not so at best Friends. The place is spread out and you have to drive from place to place to get where you were going. With very few exceptions, I walked everywhere at the zoo.

At Best Friends, I went through a half a tank of gas in a week. And there aren’t any other dining options on the property. So having Angel Village up the road where the dining room is, was very convenient for me. I used the Parrot Garden as my headquarters because they had a spare desk and I got great Wi-fi reception there.  Aaaaannd I made sure that I was in the area when lunch time rolled around! I wanted to meet the Restaurant Manager and find out what his day was like so I met with Nicholas Meyeres to find out what his story was and what he did. Turns out, he has a background in the restaurant business, but he never intended to work as the restaurant Manager at Best Friends at all.

According to the Best Friends Website:

“Nicholas came to Best Friends from Kansas, where he worked as a restaurant manager in upscale dining facilities for 10 years.  Nicholas says he’s just a “good ol’ Kansas boy” who crossed the Rockies with his dog and a desire to play with animals all day long.  But, after only six months of being a dog caregiver in Dogtown, he was drafted to be the new restaurant manager of Best Friends.”

But when you have something like the talent, education and experience Nicholas has, Best Friends usually finds a way to put you in a position that uses your talents to their maximum. And that’s how Nicholas ended up running the kitchen and dining room.

If you go to Best Friends keep the dining room at Angel Village in mind. Lunch is five dollars for the buffet lunch and salad bar, three dollars for just the salad. There have big carafes of water which I suggest you slop down because it’s so dry up there at that altitude, you’ll need the H2O! And they also have coffee and tea available. Here is a video of Nicholas in his kitchen and storage areas talking about his work: