By Ms. Mary Ann Davis (IMCOM)August 1, 2017
SEMBACH KASERNE, Germany -- Employees here celebrated a welcomed addition to their installation food options with the grand opening of a new German canteen Aug. 1, enhancing the quality of life for those who live and work on the kaserne.
"This ceremony doesn't just represent years of planning and financial investment, it also highlights the ongoing transition in bringing much-needed installation and infrastructure support to a growing community of professionals that actually represent all of our military services at this unique headquarters complex," said U.S. Army Garrison Rheinland-Pfalz Deputy to the Commander, Deborah Reynolds. "Until now, there has never been a canteen at Sembach, so this will be a very welcome addition."
About 1,500 personnel to include local national team members work on the installation, so food choices can be limited sometimes -- especially with lunch break time constraints.
So the garrison invested more than $1 million dollars to take care of people by refurbishing the building and purchasing new kitchen equipment. To that end, the Directorate of Public Works staff were instrumental throughout the process to ensure the building could open its doors for business.
The new canteen, formerly a thrift store, was transformed into an eatery over the past year and a half, said project manager Daniela Heath with the garrison's Directorate of Public Works.
"Many renovations took place to make the facility what it is today," she said. "Several items were renovated or replaced to bring it up to current standards to include some of the structure, roof and fire-protection systems."
Inside, the building was reborn with new paint, ceilings, flooring, modernized bathrooms and newly-installed, state-of-the-art kitchen appliances, Heath said.
Merida Hicham was awarded the lease contract for the canteen June 30 and is no stranger to restaurant work. His high standards were well known at the Rhine Ordnance Barracks Canteen, and he now he brings his friendly personality and expertise to Sembach.
"I'm very excited to open the canteen here," the new manager said. "I received great training and managerial experience at ROB for two years. I'm happy to serve the customers at Sembach and hope they will come here and enjoy our food."
Brenda Reta, chief of the Military Personnel Division at Kleber Kaserne, was one of the patrons who received a complementary lunch after the ribbon-cutting ceremony.
"The facility is beautiful. It's clean and has a nice atmosphere," she said. "I really enjoyed the food -- it was delicious and well prepared."
The canteen is located in Bldg. 90, across from the old commissary on Sembach. Hours of operations are 7 a.m. to 6 p.m., Mondays through Fridays and can be reserved for parties.