MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE --
Naval Hospital Camp Lejeune has just completed one of its many renovation projects, and in celebration, held a ribbon cutting ceremony to mark the opening of Doc’s Diner aboard Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, March 16.
Doc’s Diner is the newly renovated galley in the lower level of the NHCL. The project cost nearly $4.5 million and was finished in just over a year despite a few setbacks.
“When doing a renovation, you find stuff that you didn’t expect,” said Capt. Daniel J. Zinder, NHCL commanding officer. “When they dug up the floor, some of the pipes were bowing, among other things. For most contractors this would have shifted four to six months, but ours got it done in just two months. They did a lot of extra work and really made this happen.”
Zinder added that the construction was like changing a tire while driving 50 miles per hour on the freeway. He said it took a lot of coordination to keep construction going, while running the hospital and keeping people safe and healthy.
The galley has a lot of upgrades and improvements for patrons and workers. People can enjoy Doc’s Diner with their meal card or by paying $2.45 for breakfast and $4.55 for lunch or dinner.
“We moved out of the old galley, into trailers, and now we are back,” said Lt. Cmdr. Kelly Mokay, head of the Nutrition Management Department at NHCL. “We were in the trailers for about a year and one month. The staff was really resilient, they had very small space and didn’t have anywhere to go except to run into each other. Now there is much more open space, because it used to be sectioned, but now it’s completely open. So everyone is around each other, but it’s still spread out.”
Michael McCray, NHCL galley shift supervisor and retired master sergeant, feels that the new galley is great after working in a much smaller place.
“We have a lot of new equipment that some of us have never even worked with,” said McCray. “One of the biggest is the combi-oven. It bakes, preheats and can maintain a certain temperature. We’ve got all new equipment in the back. Everything we could possibly use is new.”
The scullery, where food is prepared and cooked, has state-of-the-art equipment, along with climate control and air conditioning. Doc’s Diner has a number of new features for patrons as well.
“We have open seating, and big screen TVs, including two 42-inch and two 55-inch televisions,” said Mokay. “It’s very tranquil. To be honest you wouldn’t think it’s a galley. It’s not institutional and has a very nice restaurant feel.”
Doc’s Diner is also focusing on giving its patrons healthier diet options by bringing in new foods, more variety, nutrition management and nutrition education classes. The mess deck has acoustical paneling for noise control, accordion walls that partitions it into three sections, and audio/visual and video conferencing equipment for staff meetings and nutritional classes.
“We are going to have nutrition education, along with nutrient fact cards with the nutrient content information for the food in the assembly line,” said Mokay. “Patients will benefit from the healthy menu and out-patients will have better access to the two dietitian’s offices, which were part of the renovation.”
Walking into Doc’s Diner is an inviting and warm experience. The neutral colors with bright, trendy table and chair patterns bring a fun atmosphere to the area. Additionally, the galley has large windows that open to a beautiful, natural landscape which makes sitting by the window that much more enjoyable.
“It’s lighter, brighter, less institutional, trendier and pretty neat,” said Mokay.