RAMSTEIN AIR BASE, Germany --
After 40 years of service to the Kaiserslautern Military Community, Marie-Luise Vodde, operator of the German Canteen on Ramstein Air Base, Germany, retired Dec. 2017.
The German Canteen was contractually sponsored by the 86th Mission Support Group. In cooperation with the German Works Council, Frau Vodde offered wholesome, value-priced, authentic German meals to the base populace for the last 22 years here.
With Frau Vodde’s retirement, a contractual request for business proposals was initiated on Jan. 5, 2018, and the 17 German vendors interested in assuming operation of the canteen have until Feb. 8, to respond. The business is expected to reopen during the summer.
The 86th Civil Engineer Group also began renovation work in the German Canteen facility at the start of the New Year. The renovations are to ensure the facility’s compliance with current German food service code requirements.
Frau Vodde and her first husband began operating the Einseidlerhof Canteen in 1977. In 1995, they moved to Ramstein and operated the canteen here for the last 22 years.
“When I got the offer to run the canteen on Ramstein in 1995, I was able to build a very good relationship with my customers,” Vodde said. “They honored what I did.”
During this period, Frau Vodde's first husband passed away, and she remarried Herr Schroder, who operated the canteen with her.
Even though at least 70 percent of its business was from Americans on the base, the canteen was made to provide an eating establishment for local workers, and was a very popular place, said Richard Toney, 86th MSG deputy director.
“Many years ago, when the base was more open to the public, the German Canteen hosted parties and dances, and was quite the social place for people to gather,” Toney said.
The peak of business success occurred when Rhein Mein, Germany, closed in 2005, and much of the airlift mission moved to Ramstein. Construction on the runway and other places on Ramstein resulted in a significant increase in construction workers, and a corresponding increase in canteen business.
Ramstein recognizes the iconic contributions Frau Vodde made to the base for 40 years as operator of the German Canteen, at both Einseidlerhof and Ramstein. Frau Vodde will miss the canteen life, but is looking forward to retirement.
“The canteen was my life,” Vodde said. “It was very difficult to leave and say good-bye, and I will always remember that time. But for now, I plan on enjoying life.”