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The Flying Zucchini Café, now in its eighth year, gives first- through fifth-graders at Agassiz Baldwin Afterschool their own restaurant to run. The kids plan the menu and choose the theme – this year: “Paris Under the Sea” – while the program’s teachers interview and “hire” them for different positions in cooking and customer service, organizers said.

To encourage the young restaurateurs, local businesses donate supplies and ingredients. When the café opens, the children are its hosts, wait staff, entertainment planners, decorators and chefs.

Maria Laine, director of children’s programs at Agassiz Baldwin, says she loves to “see kids change because they take on a new role. Suddenly the kids become very polite, very sincere. They take themselves very seriously.”

“Paris Under the Sea” at the Flying Zucchini Café goes from 5:30 to 7 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday at the Maria L. Baldwin School, 28 Sacramento St., in the Agassiz neighborhood – but to keep crowds manageable, the cafe is only open to friends and family of Agassiz Baldwin Community Afterschool students who make reservations.

This post was written from a press release.