Students to open Italian restaurant

Hillcrest School students Brandon Bell, 12, and Eric Martinez, 12, learned firsthand Wednesday how to make pasta from scratch. The students made pasta for a restaurant they will run for two hours next week.

A new restaurant is opening in Lawrence, and it’s very exclusive.

It will be open for only two hours, and seating is based on how well you know the people in charge – namely, Hillcrest School sixth-graders.

The Italian restaurant features a menu of salad, bread and pasta, all made by the students. They got their hands messy Wednesday with a mixture of flour and eggs and cranked out fettuccine and angel hair pasta.

“In social studies, we learned about Rome and how they made pasta,” said sixth-grader Maddie Williams.

The students worked all afternoon on Wednesday to prepare for the May 7 grand opening.

“There has to be two people” to make the pasta, said sixth-grader Eric Martinez. “One person has to crank it and the other has to hold it.”

The students applied for jobs in the restaurant that weren’t easy to come by. They had to write resumes, get letters of recommendation and be interviewed to land their place for the big day.

“For the first hour I’m a waiter and the second hour I’m the manager,” said sixth-grader Mark Stevens. The interview process “was very fun, but a really nervous experience,” he said.

Teacher Kendra Metz hopes the students take their taste of the real world and remember it for the future. “It’s a very realistic experience,” she said. “I want them to know what the job process is so that they’re not intimidated by it when they grow up.”

The restaurant will be decorated with student artwork, including posters of Julius Caesar and Italian scenes. Families and friends will have four reservation times to choose from between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. Wednesday.

The students are ready to get the service started.

“Cranking pasta is really fun,” Maddie said. “But I think the restaurant in the future is going to be the best part.”