By Spc. Melissa ChurchApril 23, 2010
FORT DRUM, N.Y. - The North Riva Ridge Dining Facility was officially opened during a ribbon-cutting ceremony April 15 on Fort Drum.
Command Sgt. Maj. Delbert Byers, 3rd Brigade Combat Team command sergeant major, cut the ribbon and officially opened the $12 million, state-of-the-art dining facility.
"Normally we have two 600-man facilities; now we have a 1,500-man facility," said Sgt. 1st Class Jeffrey Fayette, senior food service operations noncommissioned officer in charge assigned to Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 3rd Brigade Combat Team. "It helps with space and food service personnel. All 88 cooks in the brigade will be working here."
"This is a different kind of operation," said Sgt. Sanjin Secerbegovic, assistant shift leader assigned to Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 3rd Brigade Special Troops Battalion. "It's a bit overwhelming having such a large facility."
Before the dining facility opened, food service personnel underwent classes taught by professional civilian cooks and vendors on how to prepare the new items being offered.
Preparing to open the dining facility took effort from every food service specialist involved.
"Considering that we are all coming together from different units and with different experiences, and working in the same place, the facility is functioning very well," said Secerbegovic.
According to Fayette, the 3rd BCT food service will offer every style of cooking at a lower cost for Soldiers and civilians.
Seven specialty bars will be available for lunch every day. Soldiers can help themselves to a Grab and Go bar, if they are in a hurry. If they plan to dine in, they can choose from six other specialty bars: Wings and Things, Pasta Bar, Mongolian Bar, Hot and Cold Subs, the Shrimp and Chicken basket, and the "Spartan Jalapeno Burger."
The concept is geared toward a more "civilian appetite" so a Soldier can choose to eat at the dining facility rather than going out to eat.
"We are giving foods with nutritional value in a restaurant-style environment," said Fayette. "My cooks' biggest fear is getting the Soldiers to leave after they eat their first meal here."