Army Logistics University

Centerplate takes over ALU Cafeteria

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Story by: Amy Perry


Dennis Connell, the executive chef of the Army Logistics University cafeteria, takes an order from Lt. Col. Dustin Awtrey, a student of the operational contracting support class from Redstone Arsenal, Ala., during lunch. (Photo by Amy Perry, Fort Lee Public Affairs)

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FORT LEE, VA. (Jan. 17, 2013) -- The Army Logistics University Cafeteria recently underwent a transition from AAFES to Centerplate.

The cafeteria is located in the Army Logistics Management College portion of the campus and is open for breakfast and lunch.

The cafeteria now features a grill service for breakfast items such as omelets, hash browns, sausage, bacon, pancakes and breakfast sandwiches and lunch items such as meatball subs, cheeseburgers and chicken sandwiches. There are also meal specials that change daily and weekly that are prepared by Dennis Connell, Centerplate executive chef, and his team. The lunch line also features heartier selections including spaghetti or “your meat and potatoes” variety, said Connell.

“We offer a little bit of everything,” he said. “We have a chef’s table that has two daily specials on it, every day. I’m trying to put a little twist on it because our customers are looking for something other than Army chow.”

Salads, soups and fruit are also included in the menu selections.

“As far as the menus go, we are still a work in progress,” Connell said. “For the menu boards, I’ve created a core list of items – with some every day staples – and over the next few months, we’ll find out what the customers want and change the menus accordingly. Do they want to eat heavy for lunch or do they want sandwiches and salads? Right now, we’re seeing it’s a good mix.”

Eventually, the staff plans to have the menu available electronically so customers can learn what’s being served daily. The cafeteria is open to the Fort Lee community.

The cafeteria transitioned to Centerplate during the holiday block leave and officially began serving Jan. 7.

Connell has been with Centerplate for three years, and said he worked notable events such as the Superbowl and three different Olympics. He’s opened convention centers and owned and cooked at a seafood restaurant.

“Working at the high profile events is very hectic for a week or so,” said Connell. “Coming to work here was beneficial for me because I was looking for something steady where I could come to work every day and be a little busy instead of exceptionally busy on Saturdays and Sundays. Also, my daughter is attending college nearby, so I was glad to have the opportunity to be near her.”

Centerplate will also be in charge of the Fort Lee Lodge restaurant, which is set to open later this year. It will feature three sections: John Harvard’s Brew House, a Centerplate-branded pub; Kitchen Table, a campus-style dining area with several menu choices; and a grab and go section with various food items.

The actual story can be found in the Fort Lee newspaper, the Traveller, at: http://www.fortleetraveller.com/.

Related Links

Fort Lee Traveler; Centerplate takes over ALU Cafeteria
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