Travis reopens base dining facility, introduces new food options

  • Published
  • By Airman Casandra Clayton
  • 60th Force Support Squadron

TRAVIS AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. – The dining facility at Travis Air Force Base reopened at its original location at 600 Burgan Blvd. Feb. 19, complete with a new name and renovations.

Col. Jeffrey Nelson, 60th Air Mobility Wing commander, made the decision that the dining facility, formerly known as the Sierra Inn, was in need of a name change. After many name suggestions from the squadron, Master Sgt. Anna Scheerer, 60th Force Support Squadron military personnel flight superintendent, suggested “The Monarch,” named for the Golden Bear that adorns both California’s state flag and seal.

Throughout 2018, the dining facility’s main location was temporarily closed due to plumbing reconstruction, diverting Travis’ primary food services to a side room in the base’s Delta Breeze Club.  Aramark, Travis’ food contracting service, partnered with the 60th Force Support Squadron to give them room in their kitchen to prepare food during the reconstruction.

Chef Maynard Oestreich, Aramark executive chef, worked vigorously during that time training and preparing Airmen for an advanced style of cooking.

"The key to the whole change-over and making it smooth is all the work I’ve been able to do with the Airmen over the last year to develop their skill sets and make them more efficient as quickly as possible," said Oestreich.

Oestreich is no novice in respect to opening a new facility. Along with other executive chefs, he has successfully opened new dining facilities at five other bases. Aside from Oestreich, other executive chefs from all over the country made a visit to Travis the weeks ahead of the Monarch's reopening to train Airmen for the opening of the new dining facility.

The Monarch’s updated kitchen now has many stations to choose from including four restaurant-style food lines that are new to Travis Airmen. The Ciao Pizzeria, The Super-Sonics Sub and the Big City Grill will be equipped for made-to-order service.  The O-mori Ramen Bar will be featured as the “special restaurant” rotation, meaning it will kick off a cycle in which a designated restaurant line will be replaced with a new one after a three-month period. All four stations will have the option to customize the meal to the customer’s liking. The Monarch will also introduce new “grab and go” meals and healthier choices for customers.

“The Airmen are the muscle of this entire operation,” said Oestreich. “That goes for new Airmen who may be new to Travis or are fresh out of technical school and have never stepped foot in a modern kitchen.”

Airman 1st Class Taylor Bollinger, 60th FSS food service shift worker, is one such Airman.

Arriving at Travis only three months ago, Bollinger, along with several others, has been attending different cooking classes since her arrival.

"My leadership has done all they can to make sure I am prepared to work at the Monarch," said Bollinger. "I think it will be a great chance to learn more in my career field. I'm excited to see what new opportunities I’ll be able to have at the Monarch.”

The Monarch grand opening was long-anticipated. Staff Sgt. Tai Ngo, 60th FSS shift leader, remembers what it was like at the old Sierra Inn dining facility.

"I’m excited to be making magic back in our own kitchen again, and showing Travis what services Airmen can really do," said Ngo.