Trillium Woods senior living community in Plymouth, Minnesota, is a place where residents can have freedom, independence, and the ability to choose the lifestyle that’s right for them. This 46-acre active lifestyle retirement community sits just 15 miles west of downtown Minneapolis and only five minutes from Maple Grove.
In 2016 and 2017, Trillium Woods was voted “Best of Plymouth,” in part due to their innovative Preferred Choice Dining® program, which provides flexible dining times and menu selections.
The Choice is Yours
The Preferred Choice Dining ® plan provides a monthly allocation that allows residents to order as much or as little as they want, from any of the dining venues, whenever they are open – including carryout or buying a quick breakfast or lunch from the café. Residents can also invite guests to dine with them, or spend their dining dollars toward a catered event, for which we offer a full catering menu.
Trillium Woods’ dining venues offer a variety of experiences. Depending on your mood, you can enjoy a sit-down meal in the formal dining hall. For a casual, relaxed atmosphere, the Minihaha Pub is a perfect place to perch for drinks and appetizers.
On an average night, the kitchen serves 80-100 meals to independent living residents. The dinner menu offers 20 choices a night, including salads, pastas, protein dishes, and lighter fare such as burgers and appetizers. There are also several dishes that are “always available,” as an option for residents that wish to substitute part of a particular meal.
Matt Garnett, Trillium Woods’ Food and Beverage Director, explained, “If someone wants the Mahi Mahi, but not the brown rice that is listed with it, they can sub out a vegetable for roasted red potatoes, [for example],” The dinner menu changes every two weeks and the lunch menu changes every four weeks.
“While we try to cycle through menu items, some are such favorites that we don’t take them off, such as the tenderloin steak. We try to change up the preparation a bit, but it’s always on there.”
Fresh and Sustainable
The dining team tries to source high quality proteins and vegetables and recently started the push to serving more organic and sustainable items.
“On each menu, we’ll carry at least two to three organic vegetables. All of the meat we use for our burgers and meat dishes is organic, from Thousand Hills Cattle Co., about an hour-and-a-half from us. All of our pastas, quinoa, and rice are organic as well,” shared Matt.
“Several of our more health-conscious residents brought this up, and we wanted to provide for them. It adds variety for everyone, too, which is nice.”
Another new feature at Trillium Woods is letting residents grow herbs and greens in their own terrace gardens and then share them with the kitchen for various dishes. “Our community leadership is wonderful about providing resources to create new programs that engage the residents and help us to provide great experiences for them,” said Matt.
Trillium Woods’ independent living area currently has about 160 residents. The health center, The Birches, has 44 residents who receive memory care, skilled nursing, or short-term rehabilitation.
“We have a registered dietician on hand, primarily focused in the health center,” shared Matt. “Our entire culinary team is trained on how to modify dishes to accommodate special dietary restrictions, such as purees, no added salts, no extra sugar. We can offer the same for the independent living residents, if they need it.”
Overall, half of the menu items at Trillium Woods are gluten-free, so whether by dietary need or by choice, residents can enjoy gluten-free breads, pastas and more. “We even have a little symbol on the menu to identify our gluten-free items,” said Matt. “We also have been able to modify meals for vegetarians and vegans. We are very customized to each resident’s needs.”
New Ideas, Themed Experiences
Trillium Woods just celebrated their second anniversary in June, so they continue to identify fun, new events and programs to engage the residents. The culinary team already takes menu suggestions from residents. Matt shared, “We include feedback cards with each resident’s check after a meal, and we take the majority of our menu suggestions from those.”
“We are working on implementing a resident recipe of the month, which we hope to roll out in the Fall.” The plan is to have residents submit recipe suggestions, from which Matt and his team will choose one to feature on the menu. “We’ll make [the resident] famous for the week!”
Trillium’s dining department also hosts weekly happy hours, including tastings of local wines – Matt is a qualified sommelier! And holidays always include a themed experience in both dining rooms. Matt acknowledged there is always a huge turnout for brunches, such as Mother’s Day.
“Later this month, we are doing an outdoor Walleye Fish Fry where we’ll theme the menu around three-way Walleye,” said Matt. “We do an outdoor Pasta Night where residents get to choose the type of pasta and toppings they want and interact with the culinary staff. This is very popular!”
A Special Place
Matt shared that of the best things about working at Trillium Woods is interacting with the residents. “Everyone has such a unique life story and experience. The residents are friendly and want to involve [the kitchen staff] and make us feel like we’re in their home. Our team is young, but very professional and talented! It’s a fun place to work,” shared Matt.
“The dining satisfaction rates have been 95 percent last year and 96 percent this year. Typically in the food and beverage industry you look for around 80-85 percent,” he said. “Residents love the quality of the food, they love the variety. There is a little bit of something for everyone here!”