On Tuesday, Stevens’ dream became a reality, as Z’Tejas debuted a new line of menus for visually impaired customers. The menus, at a distance, look like large sheets of blank paper joined with a spiral binding, but they contain all the same words as the regular menus — and they got a thumbs-up from the volunteer staff of the Blind Children’s Learning Center in Santa Ana, which came in Tuesday morning to celebrate the launch of the new service.
The Learning Center staff visited Z’Tejas with young students to try out the menus and do a sensory exercise. Stevens, who has overseen the kitchen for six years, laid out small, brightly colored dishes of cheese, peppers, mango slices and more and invited the diners to learn their texture and smell. Afterward, the restaurant staff took orders from the menu.
Z’Tejas plans to offer the Braille menus at each of its 10 nationwide locations. The Costa Mesa restaurant, the only Z’Tejas in California, was the first to roll them out.
A number of the volunteers said the menus made ordering food much easier. Alex Fletcher, who lives in Orange, said she was accustomed to having her parents or friends read the items to her out loud.
“There’s not a lot of restaurants that have them,” she said. “I think there should be more restaurants that do.”
Zoila Silbas, a homemaker and Cal State Fullerton student who lives in Santa Ana, said the Z’Tejas menu was easier to follow than many.
“I’ve seen a lot of Braille menus that are all over the place,” she said. “This one is more straightforward.”
A moment later, she ran her fingers along the text and tried to decide what to order.
“Everything looks good, sounds good,” she said. Then, after a pause: “It feels good.”
MICHAEL MILLER may be reached at (714) 966-4617 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.