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Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany

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Upgrades to enhance dining experience

By Nathan L. Hanks Jr., Editor | | September 30, 2010

The Crossroads Restaurant, Base Conference Center and Pin City are scheduled to undergo renovations beginning Oct. 15.

Improvements will be made to the kitchen areas of the Crossroads Restaurant and Base Conference Center as well as patron areas of the Crossroads Restaurant and Pin City Snack Bar counter areas.

“The restoration project is scheduled to be completed in April 2011 at a cost estimated to be more than $600,000,” said Dick French, director, Marine Corps Community Services, Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany.

While the kitchen area at the restaurant is inoperable, Pepi Foods Corporation will provide lunch in the Bingo Room, Mondays-Fridays from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

“We will continue the military feeding program the Marines enjoy now at the same COMRATS (commuted rations) rate,” French said. “Menu prices will be about the same as we offer now.”

Plans to renovate the Crossroads Restaurant have been in the works for almost three years at a cost of almost $400,000, according to French.

During the renovation, the kitchen will be gutted and updated appliances such as new stoves, ovens, grills and deep fryers will be added. A new walk-in freezer and refrigerator will also replace the ones currently located outside the building.

“The appliances are energy efficient, and the relocation of the walk-in freezer and refrigerator will lessen the burden on the kitchen staff,” French said. “The upgrade will provide better working conditions for the employees, which leads to better customer service.”

Vernon Grant, Pin City cook, MCCS, looks forward to the re-opening of Pin City.

“The new equipment will make it easier and more efficient for me as a cook,” said Grant, who has been working at Pin City for more than 20 years. “The renovation will cut down on the cooking time, provide better quality of food and allow the customer more time to eat.”

Upgrades to the restaurant’s interior will consist of new paint, wallpaper and ceiling fans. When the construction is complete, patrons will also enjoy new seating and tables. The new tables will seat four, but tables can be re-arranged to accommodate more.

Anticipated cost for the renovation of the main dining area will be $50,000, according to French.

Pin City will also receive improvements to its service area. Pin City’s patron area, which used to be the Enlisted Club, will receive upgrades to its service counter. The counter will be replaced with state-of-the art cabinetry, new refrigeration and soda-dispensing equipment.

“Pin City patron area is exactly the same when I was here in 1985,” French said. “Minor improvements have been made over the years, but not to the service counter.”

Reconstruction of the counter is projected to cost $45,000, he said.

The Base Conference Center kitchen will also be renovated at the same time as the Base Restaurant.

“The cost to upgrade the Base Conference Center kitchen area is estimated at $135,000,” French said. “The renovation will allow us to offer on-site food preparation that will be hotter and fresher, ultimately providing better customer service. The conference center will also allow food to be prepared on site versus it having to be transported, which always decreases the quality of the product.”

The project calls for the replacement of the exhaust vent fans, new walk-in cooler and freezer and all new cooking equipment from ovens to fryers.

French said he hopes the Conference Center kitchen renovation will be completed by the middle of November.

“The renovations will greatly improve the efficiency of the staff in preparing quality meals and a more enjoyable dining experience for all patrons,” said Kent D. Morrison, executive director, MCLB Albany. “Due to the limited eating facilities aboard the base, we fully understand the small inconvenience this major construction project will have on our customers, but we ask for patience and know you will be pleased with the much needed changes.”

“The holiday season is the busiest time for our catering department,” he said. “If the project stays on track, we may be able to provide service for office Christmas parties and other catering events.