Durfee High School's rebranded Granite Grille has reopened for the school year.

Similar to the in-school restaurants at Greater New Bedford Regional Vocational-Technical and Diman Regional Vocational-Technical high schools, the Granite Grill is a completely student-run establishment. While the teachers are on site to coordinate everything, the students truly run the show.

They learn as they cook.

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Matthew Bettencourt is one of five chef instructors at the Granite Grille, and he couldn't be prouder of the product his students are pumping out day after day.

"When I go up to a table and the people say, 'Wow, the meal was so awesome,' it's 100% the kids," he said. "From the prepping to the cooking to the cleanup, serving the guests, it is all them. That's what we thrive on."

Courtesy of Durfee High School
Courtesy of Durfee High School

A student-run restaurant has been a part of Durfee for many years. However, its popularity in the city has been up and down.

At one time, Tradewinds (the former name for the restaurant) was absolutely booming each day for lunch. If you didn't call for reservations in advance, you wouldn't be able to get in. However, popularity slowly eroded over time.

"When I first started 13 years ago, the restaurant was very slow. No one from the public would come in. We were doing old-school stuff. The kids were still learning, but it was just a little stale," Bettencourt said.

Bettencourt said he has seen a resurgence lately in the general public sampling the restaurant.

"I think the new building is helping us," he said of the Elsbree Street school, which opened next-door to the former building last year. "People want to see what the inside looks like. These kids now have their fingertips on cutting-edge culinary industry standards. They are working on industry-standard machinery, using modern tools, and getting the training. Everybody wants to come to the new Durfee."

Granite Grill is open Tuesday though Friday, 9:15 a.m. to 10:30 a.m., and 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Students and staff hope to expand hours to nights and weekends in the near future.

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