New chef brings big changes

By G. Michael Dobbs,Managing Editor

SPRINGFIELD A Springfield institution is entering a new era.

The Springfield Lodge of Elks #61 has hired Lou Maravilha as its executive chef and plans to expand not only its catering offerings, but also open a bistro-style restaurant to the public.

Buddy Avezzio, manager of the Elks Lodge, told Reminder Publications the lodge "wanted to go in a different direction."

He said Maravilha "has a great track record, a great reputation."

Maravilha has been the executive chef for Frigo's for the past 16 years and is well known in the local restaurant industry. He has degrees in both hotel management and culinary arts and is a certified chef. He started working at the lodge on May 1.

"His food has been outstanding," Avezzio said.

Maravilha said he intends to run a seven-day-week catering operation designed for events from lunches at a business to functions at the lodge hall that can seat 270 people.

Maravilha's current catering menu ranges from continental breakfasts to buffets to individual entrees. The emphasis in on Mediterranean cuisine.

He said his goal is to merge the catering and restaurant sides of the food industry. He will have certain dishes, such as lasagna and chicken Parmesan, ready for sale that can be heated at home or hot to go.

He has already planned several special dinner nights at the lodge that will be open to the public. On June 4, there will be a spaghetti and meatball night, which will be followed by a prime rib dinner on June 25.

Avezzio and Maravilha said they intend to open a bistro style restaurant in June as well.

Maravilha has also scheduled cooking classes as well. For $60 per person, Maravilha will lead a class in the creation of a five-course dinner, which the participants will enjoy at the class's conclusion. The first class will be June 11.

Avezzio said the lodge's hall and outdoor pavilion has been "the best kept secret in Springfield." With the many changes he's implementing, he's hoping to change that perception.

For more information, call 734-2213, option four.