As New Orleans and the Mississippi Gulf Coast continue to recover and rebuild from the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, ARAMARK (NYSE:RMK), a leading provider of professional services, today announced two restaurants, a food court and the kitchen at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center will re-open on June 20, 2006. The openings coincide with the return of the first large professional association conferences, including the American Library Association National Conference, to be held at the convention center since last year's hurricane season.
The announcement follows eight months of renovations, refurbishment and rebuilding of the food and beverage and catering facilities that sustained damage from the storm and individuals seeking shelter in the convention center. Approximately 80 percent of the dining, catering and preparation locations needed to be completely restored. ARAMARK, which manages the convention center's culinary and dining programs, worked closely with the New Orleans Exhibition Hall Authority to thoroughly clean, replace and install kitchen equipment, cooking utensils and banquet fixtures, as well as restaurant flooring, seating and serving equipment. During this time period, while the convention center hosted local trade shows, ARAMARK continued to provide support by using smaller prep kitchens and areas unaffected by the hurricane.
"The re-opening of the dining areas and kitchen is a tribute to the tireless effort our team put forth to restore the convention center's food service operation in the days, weeks and months following this disaster," said George Lancie, ARAMARK General Manager, Ernest N. Morial Convention Center. "With Executive Chef Leon West preparing to once again provide conventioneers with the famous tastes of New Orleans, the restoration of culinary services further signifies a milestone in the renaissance of the convention center and is representative of the ongoing road to recovery in New Orleans."
Among the locations that will be open for business are the Jazz City Cafe, Lagniappe Food Court, and Atrium Restaurant, which was remodeled as part of the restoration process. ARAMARK's culinary services will be fully operational for the Air and Waste Management Association Annual Conference, June 20-22, and the American Library Association National Conference, June 24-27.
At the Mississippi Coast Coliseum & Convention Center in Biloxi, MS, where most of the kitchen, banquet and concessions equipment was destroyed by the hurricane and flooding, ARAMARK continues to restore the food and beverage and catering services. ARAMARK anticipates returning service to near capacity by the end of the year.
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