Camp Foster residents dive into new restaurants
Stars and Stripes June 17, 2003
CAMP FOSTER, Okinawa — Captain D’s Seafood had brisk business last week.
So did two Pizza Huts, a Dunkin’ Donuts and a second A&W restaurant that didn’t even exist on Camp Foster a month ago.
Captain D’s opened Monday in the heart of Foster’s commercial district, next to a Popeye’s fast-food restaurant. It’s in a refurbished building that formerly was the base’s liquor store.
The 112-seat restaurant, with drive-through capabilities, appeared packed throughout the grand opening week. The Foster franchise is the first Captain D’s to open outside the United States, said the Army and Air Force Exchange Service, which operates it.
About a mile away, on Foster’s lower half next to Gate 4, a huge building that sat vacant for years has, since June 6, thrived as The Spot.
Inside, at the building’s northern end, Pizza Hut and Dunkin’ Donuts sit back-to-back; a Subway sandwich shop is to open soon.
Windows allow sunlight to filter over a wide-open seating area; a covered deck offers outside seating. Along the western wall, patrons can eat their lunches and relax in reclining leather chairs in front of large television screens offering a choice of television, videos or video games.
A large Internet café, with about 25 computer stations, occupies the building’s center.
Enclosures for arcade machines, billiards and darts occupy the building’s southern end, as does a mini theater — a large darkened room with more leather chairs and a very large wall screen showing movies.
In another section of the building is a new laundermat.
Inside the Foster Bowling Center near Gate 5, another Pizza Hut and an A&W restaurant opened in late May.
“With all these new places,” said Lance Cpl. Ryan Gerchman, while attacking his A&W hamburger, “they’re helping us to find things to do on this island rather than getting drunk. They’re broadening our horizons, I guess you might say,” added the Camp Foster Marine.
Several customers also said they appreciate having Pizza Hut on the island.
“You get tired of having Anthony’s,” retired Army 1st Sgt. Russ Miller said of the other pizza establishment that operates at most military installations.
All Foster’s new establishments are good for the single troops, added Miller, a civilian who works at Torii Station.
“And they give me someplace to hang out, especially when my wife comes on base to shop.”
Lance Cpl. James Hebb, a Marine from Camp Schwab, said he comes to Foster for business or recreation at least weekly and has been impressed with all the additions.
“Too bad,” he said, that he’s transferring to Camp Pendleton, Calif., in two weeks and won’t get to enjoy all the changes.
The base’s 700-seat theater also recently reopened after being closed for months for renovations.
“I really appreciate the theater and all the new services,” said Pfc. Justin Hlas, a Camp Foster Marine.