TACOMA, WA, UNITED STATES
Story by Edzel Butac
JOINT BASE LEWIS-McCHORD, Wash. — Are you craving for some island-style cuisine from Guam? Lucky for you, one is now open at McChord Field’s Building 100. The Island Comfort Café had its grand opening Feb. 13 at the “Castle’s” Room 1002, next to the Common Access Card ID Center.
“The Joint Base Lewis-McChord Exchange team is excited to partner with the 62nd Airlift Wing, JBLM Garrison, Morale, Welfare and Recreation and Directorate of Public Works teams to bring this new additional food option to the JBLM community,” said Matthew Beatty, Exchange general manager. “While there were some obstacles along the way, everyone worked together to overcome them to bring this project over the finish line.
“The added food options this restaurant provides will improve the quality of life for service members and the JBLM community. The customer feedback so far has been resoundingly positive which is what we always like to hear. We’re glad to finally mark the opening of this facility with a grand opening ribbon cutting.”
The café has been open for business for a few weeks prior to the ribbon-cutting ceremony. Col. David Fazenbaker, 62nd Airlift Wing commander, thanked everyone who made it possible.
“First off, just a ton of ‘thank yous’ to all the folks who made this happen,” Fazenbaker said. Tony (Aguon), thank you for committing to be over here and being in this space. It’s more than 20 months that it took us to where we are right now, and it’s for all who work in this building and for folks who work on this side of JBLM.”
The business is not new to JBLM. It was first established as Island Comfort Food in 2008 by Tony Aguon and Tina Brennan-Aguon. Tony is a retired Airman and former JBLM civilian employee and Tina, a special education teacher at the University Place School District. With their passion for cooking, they dreamed of one day opening their own restaurant to share their cultural heritage and love for food.
It began as a barbecue truck on then-Fort Lewis, serving island-style barbecue and cuisine, hence the term “comfort food.” The food truck was an instant success and the name, Island Comfort, just seemed to roll off the tongue, according to Tony.
“The favorite in the morning is our breakfast fried rice with meat,” Tony said. “The meat changes every day. Mondays, are bacon, Tuesdays are smoked sausage and maple and island sausage, which is seasoned, and Fridays are Spam Day.”
After the ribbon-cutting ceremony, food was made available to be sampled by customers.
“It’s delicious!” said Airman 1st Class Carter Bonslett, from the McChord Field Honor Guard. “I love rice, but this is taking rice to a whole new level. I’m already a regular customer and will continue to be.”
Fellow Airman 1st Class Colleen Anthony, McChord Field Honor Guard, has been trying to get her hands on the popular breakfast fried rice since the café opened.
“I come here every morning for coffee, and by the time I get here at 10 o’clock, their fried rice is always sold out,” Anthony said. “This is the first time I tried their fried rice, and it is absolutely delicious. There are so many different elements to it, and it’s not just plain old boring fried rice, so I’m a big fan.”
Tony is equally thrilled to have the opportunity once again to be back serving the JBLM community.
“I’m looking forward to serving our food, sharing our culture and our different kinds of island-style food,” he said.
Island Comfort Café is open weekdays (except holidays) from 7:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.