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Short Orders

A cafe that’s well-schooled in giving

Chef Vanessa Cortesi and father-in-law Steve Waller, a co-owner, at The Center Cafe in Needham, which donates 8 percent of Tuesday revenues to the town’s public schools once a month. Chef Vanessa Cortesi and father-in-law Steve Waller, a co-owner, at The Center Cafe in Needham, which donates 8 percent of Tuesday revenues to the town’s public schools once a month. (Wendy Maeda/Globe Staff)
By Lisa Zwirn
Globe Correspondent / April 27, 2011

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Eat and do good. That’s the point of “Neighborhood Tuesday’’ at The Center Cafe in Needham. On the first Tuesday of every month, restaurant owners Steve and Karen Waller donate 8 percent of the night’s revenues to the Needham public schools. The couple writes a check for specific programs that might have suffered from budget cuts, such as the high school’s literacy and Steps to Success programs, and music and art departments. “The school benefits, we benefit, and the community benefits,’’ says Steve Waller. The Center Cafe, housed in the old railway station on the commuter line, offers home-style foods, such as pork tenderloin with sherry soy glaze ($18), cornmeal crusted trout ($18), roast chicken ($18), and mac and cheese ($8). The crispy ribs with Asian-style glaze ($9) can be habit-forming. Chef Vanessa Cortesi, the Wallers’ daughter-in-law, was trained at the Culinary Institute of America and worked in restaurants in New York, Boston, and the Berkshires. Come, eat well, and help the town’s schools. The Center Cafe, 1027 Great Plain Ave., Needham, 781-455-8800; www.thecentercafe.com

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