FORT SAM HOUSTON, Texas –
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
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
“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
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
“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.