Patterson Dining Facility: Serving up excellence

Staff Sgt. Bryon Grimco, 736th Maintenance Squadron C-17 aerospace maintenance journeyman, grabs a sandwich to go from The Lift kiosk June 22, 2019, at Dover Air Force Base, Del. Designed for convenience, the kiosk offers the same “grab-and-go” items available at the DFAC, as well as entrée items at a location close to the flight line. (U.S. Air Force photo illustration by Mauricio Campino)
DOVER AIR FORCE BASE, Del. — DOVER AIR FORCE BASE, Del. – The staff at the Patterson Dining Facility is a combined team of 24 active-duty Airmen from the 436th Force Support Squadron and 23 Sodexo employees. They serve up four meals a day, to include a midnight meal. Eating at the DFAC now means you can choose from literally dozens of menu items without sacrificing quality, taste or nutrition. Gone are the days when eating at the DFAC meant a choice of only an entrée with sides or a “to go” box.

The traditional “main line” still offers a choice of two entrées, along with choices of side items, and there’s also a soup-and-salad bar. But each month, the global action station offers a novel specialty menu from a region anywhere in the world. The Slice of Life section offers fresh-baked personal pan pizzas with traditional toppings, as well as specialty pizzas, and The Sub Connection Deli offers a variety of six-inch and foot-long sandwiches that can be custom-ordered. The N’Rich grill offers a selection of burgers and healthy sides, like baked sweet potato French fries. The DFAC’s extensive menu even offers vegetarian and vegan options.

“The most satisfying thing about my job is being able to provide a hot meal to the Airmen” said Tech Sgt. Matthew Shaffer, 436th Force Support Squadron food services section chief.

The workday typically starts at 4:30 a.m. when the staff comes in to cook and prep the breakfast meal, but their doors stay open even in between meal hours, offering patrons “grab-and-go” items, such as snacks, salads, fruit, prepared sandwiches and bottled drinks. The facility is manned 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Although most of the DFAC patrons are junior Airmen with meal cards, the new system allows customers the option of paying with cash or card. DOD employees, contractors and even family members traveling on Space-A have access to the facility.

“With the new Food 2.0 system, anyone with access to the base can come eat here,” said Shaffer.

The Patterson DFAC serves roughly 700-800 people daily, mostly during lunch, and also operates a satellite location at Bldg. 4609 to accommodate maintainers, security forces staff and anyone working close to the flight line. Designed for convenience, The Lift kiosk offers the same “grab-and-go” items available at the DFAC, as well as entrée items from the main line’s daily menu.

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