Chicken Shack messhall a hit

14 Sep 2011 | Lance Cpl. Victor Barrera

Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune is one step closer towards their goal of moving from a military-style messhall to a more visually appealing, relaxed and friendlier environment.

Messhall 128 which was constructed on A Street replaced a messhall built in 1942. The ribbon-cutting ceremony was attended by Col. Daniel J. Lecce, commanding officer of MCB Camp Lejeune, Sept. 13.

“This new messhall saves energy, is more efficient and just better than the old messhall,” said Charles Cone, food service officer for MCB Camp Lejeune. “It helps save money and is easier to maintain.”

Even the carport nearby benefits the new dining facility.

“The carport is equipped with solar panels that feed into this messhall,” said Cone. “We also have solar tubes which make the inside of this building a lot brighter using just natural light, while also cutting electricity costs.”

This facility can serve 1,600 meals per meal period and has a seating capacity of 443.

With so much energy conservation in mind, the messhall is slated to be Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design certified, according to Cone. While the personnel are hoping to receive a gold certification, just being LEED certified is an achievement in itself.

Along with the many improvements that will benefit the base and the nation’s clean energy goals, the staff took into account what the service members wanted out of a messhall.

“We did a survey and asked the Marines what they would like to see come and how we can improve our services,” said Cone. “They wanted a relaxed environment that didn’t remind them that they were in the military so we took their ideas and came up with this concept.”

Messhall 128 has more in common with a restaurant than an average military dining facility. The seating is spacious, everything is brightly lit, and adorning the walls are pictures of water sports and a few televisions. Even the colors for the furniture were chosen to promote a calming environment where one can take a break from their everyday stresses.

Along with new furnishings, service members have more dining options. Two serving lines offer a variety of different servings and tucked away in the corner is Chesty’s Chicken Shack, the newest attraction serving a wide option of chicken-focused meals.

“The biggest hit for the chicken shack is the gas chamber chicken,” said Cone. “It’s a chicken breast marinated with hot sauce, fried, taken out and re-marinated and grilled with cheese on top and then put between two buns.”

For the two lines, the meals are on a 21-day rotation, the chicken shack, however, will always serve the same meals.

“This is a great facility,” said Lecce. “What we’re doing here is a great thing.”