An official website of the United States government
Here's how you know
A .mil website belongs to an official U.S. Department of Defense organization in the United States.
A lock (lock ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .mil website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

Home : News : News
NEWS | Sept. 3, 2015

BAMC to unveil new, improved dining room

BAMC Public Affairs

Brooke Army Medical Center staff, patients and visitors will soon have another option to get healthy, quality food at reasonable prices.

The Culinary and Hospitality Branch of the Department of Nutritional Medicine will open the newly renovated, state-of-the-art dining facility, named The Dining Room, at the San Antonio Military Medical Center this fall.

The renovation adds 4,000 square feet to the dining room located on the lower level of the hospital, with a seating capacity of 350 indoors and 100 outdoors.

“The new, expanded dining room is designed with an open concept to provide a peaceful and relaxing dining environment,” said Col. Sara Spielmann, chief of the Department of Nutritional Medicine. “The guiding principal of the design was to create a healing oasis, promoting the highest quality of healthy meal choices in a natural, relaxing environment.”

The seating area is partially covered with glass, so even if there is inclement weather people can still feel like they are sitting outside.

Customers will be welcomed by a digital greeter board and a wider entrance and pathways, and their exit will be speeded by a bank of cashiers.

 “A new menu has been developed by registered dietitians using  Defense Department menu standards and Go For Green Program criteria as guides,” Spielmann said.

The Go For Green program assists patrons with food choices by rating each food product, enabling them to make better choices while going through the food lines.

“BAMC’s Department of Nutritional Medicine wants to help patrons make informed meal choices by providing them with simple tools to do so,” the colonel said.

Special symbols were developed to assist patrons in making dietary choices based on their needs or preferences. “Vegetarian,” “Heart Healthy” and “Soldier Stamped” menu items are identified with a leaf, heart and boot stamp, respectively.

Vegetarian items are meatless, but may contain milk, eggs or cheese. Heart Healthy items contain less than 10 percent of total calories from saturated fat and less than 100 milligrams of cholesterol per serving, and Soldier Stamped items indicate high performance foods that are heart healthy, minimally processed and contain at least 2.5 grams of fiber per serving.

The dining room will have eight concept stations each featuring its own specialty items; digital menu boards; and displays with nutrition information to help people make healthy choices and advertise new menu items.

The “Garden” will have a yogurt and fruit bar as well as oatmeal and grits in the morning and a “performance” salad bar will feature several lettuce blends with multiple fresh topping options to include fruits, vegetables, and proteins for lunch and dinner. Four specialty salads will be featured daily.

“The expansive salad bar is the first concept station people encounter,” Spielmann said. “We want to encourage patrons to increase their intake of vegetables and fruits. The salad bar is structured for quick restocking to ensure all products are convenient and available.”

“All the other concept stations will offer convenient and delicious options to help patrons follow a healthy diet as well,” she said.

“Comfort Classics” will be open for breakfast, lunch and dinner and feature traditional breakfast favorites such as biscuits and gravy, scrambled and boiled eggs and potatoes. The lunch and dinner menu will also feature traditional comfort foods like oven fried chicken, macaroni and cheese, casseroles, pot roast, pork chops, mashed potatoes and various vegetables. Vegetarian items will be offered as well for dinner. 

The “Flame” station will have made-to-order eggs for breakfast and traditional grill favorites, as well as new sizzling surprises for lunch and dinner. State of the art equipment has been chosen to help maintain the flavor of foods without the addition of unnecessary fat. Options will include customary grill items and healthy choices such as veggie burger, chargrilled chicken breast, chargrilled salmon fillet and fish burgers.

“World Flavors” will feature made-to-order waffles and pancakes with optional fruit toppings for breakfast. A tortilla press will enable production of fresh flour and corn tortillas for various menu items.  Menu items will include BAMC favorites such as the Texas burger and fish tacos, as well as new additions such as spring rolls, chicken satay and stir fry. 

“The goal of the World Flavors concept station is to provide customers with international and exotic menu items,” said 1st Lt. Brittney Piche, assistant chief of the Culinary and Hospitality Branch of the Department of Nutrition. “Different items will be offered daily and can be quickly changed to meet customer requests and stay current with food trends.”

The exciting new concept station “Noodles” will allow patrons to build their custom pasta bowl by choosing a combination of fresh vegetables, proteins, sauce and noodles. The customers will be able to interact directly with the cook as they mix and prepare the pasta bowls to order.

The “Deli-icious” station will be available for lunch and dinner.  Patrons will be able to watch as their sandwich is custom-made with freshest ingredients of their choosing and topped with a crisp dill pickle to-go. A wide variety of breads, meats, cheeses, vegetable toppings and dressings will be available. Their sandwich can be toasted in a turbo chef oven or pressed as a panini. Daily specialty sandwiches will be featured, such as Buffalo chicken and sweet onion chicken teriyaki, as well as a daily specialty panini.

There will be a new “Vegetarian” concept station open during lunch. This station will offer meatless options to vegetarian customers.  A daily entrée, side dishes of starches and vegetables will enable customers to get a complete meal at one station if they choose. 

“We have received a lot of requests to have more vegetarian foods,” Piche said. “Now there will be a station to meet those needs. This new concept station takes healthy eating to the next level, allowing both vegetarians and carnivores the chance to enjoy tasty meatless options.”

If people are craving pizza they can visit  “Pizzazz” for lunch or dinner.  This concept station features a stone hearth oven which will be used to cook homemade pizzas and calzones. Traditional favorites will be featured as well as seasonal varieties.

“No one will be happier about the opening of the dining room than our own staff,” Piche said.

At present, more than 200 employees are working around the clock in a temporary trailer outside the hospital to prepare meals for the five dining locations across campus. 

“We serve more than 5,000 meals each day and we expect to reach 10,000 transactions per day upon the completion of the renovation,” said Lt. Col. Sarah Flash, chief of the Culinary and Hospitality Branch of the Department of Nutrition. “This expected increase can be credited to the equipment improvements, kitchen expansion, an increase in seating capacity and elaborated menu options.”

With the opening of the new dining facility, the temporary tent, Market on the Green, will be closed. The other four dining locations will remain, including the new Grab and Go located outside of the Dining Room.