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NEWS | Sept. 5, 2008

New eateries come to BX

By Meredith Canales 37th Training Wing Public Affairs

As fall descends upon Lackland, residents will be able to partake in two new food choices at the Base Exchange food court. Joining the ranks will be Manchu Wok, an international Chinese franchise, and Charlie's Steakery, which will serve chicken and steak sandwiches.

"We're constantly updating with new brands," said BX Food Court Manager William Sheridan. "Captain D's has not been a profitable brand for us, so we're taking it out and putting in the Manchu Wok. Robin Hood will move up to the upper level, and we'll put Charlie's in there."

Both Randolph AFB and Fort Sam Houston have a Charlie's Steakery, in addition to there being one at The Quarry and The Forum.

"The Steakery is doing really well," said Mr. Sheridan. "Folks out at Fort Sam and Randolph really seem to like it, so we hope it will do well here."

Mr. Sheridan said choices for the food court are limited, as each vendor has to serve at an international level.

"We can't just go out in the street and find someone," he said. "They have to be franchised through (Army and Air Force Exchange Service) World Headquarters. That's why you don't see local restaurants. We can't do Taco Cabana if they can't support us in Bosnia and Japan."

One example is the new Green Beans coffee shop at the mini mall on the north side of Lackland.

"Green Beans pays a concession fee to AAFES," said Mr. Sheridan. "Two Australian guys opened it and have several in Iraq and Afghanistan. They decided to bring it here."

Though Green Beans serves the same fare as Starbucks, Mr. Sheridan was quick to point out only one vendor on base has exclusive rights.

"Burger King gets exclusive rights because it's stated in the contract we signed back in the '80s. So we can't just bring in a McDonald's or a Wendy's," he said.

The contractor for Charlie's Steakery and Manchu Wok should be chosen by the end of the month, according to Mr. Sheridan. After the contract is awarded, the contractor has 30 days to begin construction and 30 to 60 days after the beginning of construction to complete the project. Mr. Sheridan said both new vendors should be serving Lacklanders by the end of November.