In a few short weeks, the Hewitt Hall Café will look and feel more like a commercial restaurant, complete with tables, booths with leather seats, pendant drop lights, background music, blinds, an updated menu and full-time executive chef.
The café closed on graduation 2010, and is scheduled to re-open on convocation on August 16, and the Naval War College’s 126th class will probably never guess that the café used to be a classroom. Bob Sampson, the man in charge of café operations, said the renovations focus on cosmetic changes, but MWR is hiring a full-time executive chef to make significant menu changes that will feature higher quality food and healthy menu selections.
“This is part of President [Rear Adm. Phil] Wisecup’s initiative to reinvest into the War College’s quality of life,” Sampson said.
Food service manager Sue Perry was excited about the future menu changes. “We are creating a new menu, to provide more healthy and tasteful options at a higher level of food service,” she said. “There will be different options with pleasant surprises and a brand-new variety.”
While Perry is keeping the “pleasant surprises” under wraps for now, Sampson said the choices will reflect higher food quality and taste, but wasn’t sure what they will be.
And the chef will also provide more benefit than a better menu; he or she will bolster the College’s catering abilities, and symposia or promotion ceremonies that need catering services will have better options as well.
Additionally, a team is deciding on a possible theme for the café. One plan invokes the international programs of the War College, and other ideas dedicate the seating booths to War College buildings, with photographs and history of the building and the person for whom they are named.
The atmosphere will be enhanced by music, via a satellite radio subscription. Plans call for black or dark-blue leather seats in the booths and walnut tables, and artwork and wall décor will complement the to-be-decided-upon theme.
By Tyler Will, Naval War College Public Affairs