High school students rejoice at the return of The HIVE

by Denise Gawlik

Spring break may have been over, but Brecksville-Broadview Heights high school students could still find a bit of joy in their return to school with the reopening of The HIVE.

Pre-Covid, The HIVE was a popular grab-n-go café where students could pick up a quick drink and a snack either before school or during lunch periods. Originally opened in 2013, The HIVE was closed the last two years due to COVID-19 and High School Principal Kevin Jakub said students were constantly asking when it would return. 

Before reopening this past month, The HIVE was revamped by the Brecksville-Broadview Heights School District Food Services Team in conjunction with Pisanick Partners. According to its CEO and founder Maureen Pisanick, Pisanick Partners is a nutrition consulting firm specializing in wellness and creating menu strategies for school districts.

Pisanick Partners is in Brecksville and works with over 40 school districts.

Pisanick explained Pisanick Partners helps school districts create menus, train and develop staff and implement strategies that take on the tasks of attaining nutritional excellence and financial success in the K-12 school environment. Moreover, they help school districts comply with state and federal mandates.

In addition to working on The HIVE, Pisanick Partners was brought on board to assist with BBH District food services when Food Services Director Cindy Finohr retired this past winter. Pisanick Partners served as an interim consultant until a new director could be hired and then they assisted with the transition to a new director.

The menu for the HIVE, as well as all menus created by Pisanick Partners, are premised on behavior economics. The idea is to teach students to first think about what they are about to eat and to then help them choose what to eat. The menus focus on providing grains, lean proteins, vegetables and fruits. Pisanick elaborated that “emphasis is placed on providing a lot of color and freshness with the food options.”

The HIVE had a soft opening on April 7, offering free samples of revamped menu items. Starting April 11, the cafe began normal operating hours and has been met with overwhelming excitement and positive feedback. The favorite items so far have been the spicy chicken sandwiches, smoothies, and parfaits according to High School Head Chef Leah Johnson.

Johnson hopes to add the ever-popular Bosco sticks to the menu shortly. The HIVE also offers salads, sandwiches, wraps, snacks, drinks and popular coffee drinks like those found at coffee shops including Dunkin Donuts and Starbucks.

All menu items meet the Smart Snack Guidelines issued by the Federal government.

In conjunction with the reopening of the HIVE, Pisanick Partners also brought a special bike called a “Rock the Bike” to the high school. The bike allows students to mix their smoothies by pedaling on the bike.

Pisanick explained that “its purpose is to connect the concepts of eating healthy and being physically active.” The bike is owned by Pisanick Partners and will be available on and off at The HIVE.

Next up for The HIVE will be a “Try Day” in May where the students will be able to taste homemade pizzas made with locally sourced ingredients, including flour made at a local farm.  The students will then vote on which option was the best.

The HIVE is open every school day before school, from 7:15-8:45 a.m., and during lunch periods, generally 10 a.m.- to 1 p.m.