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SASEBO NAVAL BASE, Japan — Those needing a brief respite from the daily grind now have a new option on Sasebo Naval Base: Wolfgang’s grind.

That’s Wolfgang as in Wolfgang Puck, the international restaurateur behind Puck’s Harbor Café in the base’s Harbor View Club.

The dessert café and coffee lounge, serving Wolfgang Puck’s Gourmet Coffees, opened last week — about a week later than planned because a rare Sasebo snowstorm caused the base to close.

The café’s regular hours will be from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Friday and 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. But the official grand opening party — with giveaways, door prizes and discount coupons — will be from noon to 5 p.m. Saturday, according to Kevin Dugan, Harbor View Club general manager.

“I set out wanting this place to have the feeling of a European café … very open and inviting,” said Dugan, who said he designed the cafe to replace the “drab and dreary” — and seldom-used — former officers lounge.

The new café offers rich desserts, simple wraps and salads, pastry and plenty of brews of the hot, nonalcoholic variety — specifically, more than a dozen flavored brews and blends, espresso, cappuccino and latte. The café also offers Otis Spunkmeyer cookies.

Tabletop displays and paintings accentuate the surroundings, including deep rich colors ranging from maroon, burgundy and cherry to pacifying beige and tan.

Dugan said he color-coordinated the café with the Wolfgang Puck’s Gourmet Coffees logo and graphics theme.

“We wanted to create something that had little or no emphasis with alcohol here that can be enjoyed by everyone,” Dugan said. “When we first started looking at options, we studied Seattle’s Best and Starbucks but for our operation, it was just too complicated.”

He decided that instead of working via a franchise arrangement, he’d design, decorate and staff the space with local help and simply emphasize an upper-tier coffee brand he recalled from a few years ago.

“They have locations around in the States but none in Asia, so this arrangement is perfect for them,” Dugan said. “We only use their coffee products and in return we can use their branding as we need … with no franchise costs.”

Isaiah Mincks and Alec Culpepper, both from the MWR Athletics Department, were enjoying a light lunch, coffee and conversation Friday.

“This is a really good place to come and hang out, get some coffee, or some of the other things,” Mincks said after finishing a sandwich wrap.

Culpepper said, “It’s very nice in here, and comfortable. The coffee is just the way I like it. The atmosphere is much different that most places you find on a military base. That can be a good thing.”


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