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When it comes to airport dining we’ve seen some pretty solid options over the last few years. In fact there are some spots that are so darned tasty, that we have even built in a little extra time just to take in a decent meal from the comfort of the airport.
Now we’re not saying that we don’t enjoy a good burger now and then, but we probably don’t need to have two of them during our trip. However, that might just be the idea down in Ecuador, as Mariscal Sucre International Airport now has two outlets of Johnny Rockets restaurants. If you ask us that might just be an overdose waiting to happen.
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New restaurants seem to be popping up at airports across the country faster than we can keep track of them, so we took some time to check out some of the newest options. Here’s just a few of the latest establishments competing with Sbarro for your airport restaurant dollars:
Raleigh-Durham International Airport
All the good stuff is usually going down over at Raleigh-Durham International Airport’s Terminal 2, but this week it sounds like some goodies are heading into Terminal 1. Local basketball fans—and travelers heading through RDU—will be able to participate in March Madness all year round, as an officially licensed restaurant from the Atlantic Coast Conference will be arriving sooner than later.
Joining the airport dining scene will be local burger place Char-Grill, as well as spots like Salsarita’s Fresh Cantina and La Tapenade Mediterranean Café. The new stuff should be arriving at the airport by spring of next year, and they’ve even got a new Starbucks on the constriction schedule as well.
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It wasn’t that long ago that iPads invaded the airport, and we’re not just talking about the personal ones used by travelers. Restaurants have embraced the new technology, as they’ve been quick to add ordering abilities to the tablets as well as stuff like nutrition information and wine lists. Well now it looks like the iPads might just be doing a little more than taking orders. Be sure to say please and thank you, as the iPads are now talking back.
OTG Management—they’re responsible for airport restaurants all over the place—is upgrading their iPad offerings, as they claim to be the first to introduce multi-language support to their airport systems. Things are starting off at a couple restaurants up in Toronto, as it looks like Fetta Panini Bar and Heirloom Bakery Café inside Toronto Pearson International Airport are the first to graduate from the foreign language program.
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Celebrity favorite Pizzeria Mozza is one of the go-to spots for pizza and Italian fare over in Los Angeles. Famous foodies like Nancy Silverton, Mario Batali and Joseph Bastianich are behind the venture, and the place already has outposts as near as Newport Beach and as far as Singapore. Thankfully they’re looking to expand once again, and this time they’re going across the country.
If you guessed that they’d be moving into a spot in New York City you’re correct; however, it won't be the easy choice of Manhattan. Pizzeria Mozza will instead set up shop in Queens, over at JFK Airport.
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We’ve seen celebrity chefs, organic ingredients, and even technology—think iPads—show their influence on the airport dining scene, but now it looks like another trend is heading to the airport. Apparently the food truck craze has arrived at the airport, so the long-term parking lot is no longer just for parking.
Obviously food trucks aren’t exactly arriving inside the airport—at least not yet—but if you need to grab a bite before hitting the terminal or after touching down they’ve now got you covered. ABC News reports that the cell phone lot seems to be the new food court, as airports like Orlando International Airport have started slinging street fare right outside of security. In fact over at MCO it sounds like they’ve got at least six food trucks rotating in and out over a their commercial lot as well as their taxi staging area. Clearly the airport eats aren’t just for travelers anymore.
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We’ve got some weird airport restaurant news for you today, but you’re going to need to wait for a bit before testing out the menu. The latest in restaurant partnerships comes from the folks over at the PGA Tour, as apparently their next big marketing push is airport restaurants.
PGA Tour Grill—creative name—is on the drawing board for an opening later this year at San Diego International Airport. The assumption here is that business travelers and leisure travelers alike must be enamored with golf, and as a result they will pay a little bit extra for that cheeseburger to be surrounded by televisions and memorabilia. SAN sounds like it's just the beginning, as they're hoping to bring the new concept elsewhere as well.
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HMSHost—you know them from airport restaurants everywhere—is teaming up some new up and coming chefs, as they just tapped the Culinary Institute of America for some new menu ideas. They held a little contest for some new and tasty recipes, and two students—Jessica Hargrove and Lauren Fury—came out on top. Among some other stuff their culinary creations will now be featured at airports across the country, so it’s time to dig in during your next layover.
The winning dishes are Toasted Flatbread Mac n’ Cheese and Chicken and Waffles, and will be available at select restaurants through the end of February. For those looking to indulge in the macaroni and cheese dish, you can expect the usually stuff piled onto a whole-wheat flatbread topped with candied bacon—nice. As for the chicken and waffles it’s pretty much what it sounds like, but there’s also white gravy, maple syrup, and green onions to top things off.
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When it comes to cool airport names, we’ve got to say that Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport has to be one of the best. Starting this week the airport is going to be the gateway to this year’s Super Bowl, as visitors—and media—from around the globe head to the city to check out the pregame festivities, which probably have already begun. Thankfully the airport is more than prepared for the influx of visitors, as they just cut the ribbon on a bunch of new restaurants and shops over at MSY.
In total there’s around eight new restaurants and other spots to grab a bite to eat in the recently renovated airport, and that’s good news for hungry travelers heading to town. New Orleans has invested around a billion bucks on upgrades and improvements in advance of this year’s big game coming to town, and the airport advancements are just one piece of the spending.
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When it comes to delicious and nutritious the airport usually isn’t the place to look for food; however, we realize that sometimes the terminal is your only option. The good news is that one group has kind of gone through the options available in the concourse, and they’ve ranked the best—and worst—options available at airports throughout the nifty fifty.
The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine is the group behind the latest list, as they crunched the numbers—and menus—at some of the busiest airports in the land. They’ve been doing this since 2001, and since then the average scores have jumped a good 19 points or so. That’s good for the airport restaurants and good for our waistlines—it’s win-win.
It seems like every time we hear from Minneapolis-St. Paul Airport the place is getting better and better. Some of the last news we caught was that they were finally opening up the WiFi waves free to one and all, and now they’re going all in with some tasty new options. It’s not quite a farmer’s market live from the airport, but some food stalls and a fresh take on the food court make it worth checking out.
OTG Management is the group behind the new concept, as they bring this idea of a sort of food hall thing to a US airport for the first time. If you’re looking for it it’s over in the G Concourse at the airport—that’s in Terminal 1 with all those Delta flights. The whole area kind of connects several gates, and as you make your way toward your flight you can take a pit stop for a snack, beverage, or just a magazine. There’s even plenty of iPad ordering capabilities, so it makes spending your hard earned cash that much more enjoyable.
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Not too long ago we heard about one of those special new Starbucks heading over to LAX—the kind of Sbux with the wine. While it will be a little bit more time before that sucker opens to the traveling public, in the interim we can take a flight over to Washington-Dulles International Airport because they just cut the ribbon on the very first airport location of Starbucks Evenings.
HMSHost—they’re the ones behind many of your favorite and not-so-favorite airport restaurants—partnered up with Starbucks for this spot at the airport. It’s kind of just like any other airport Starbucks in that they’ll still serve up lattes and frappuccinos, but there's a twist.
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There’s nothing like some airport news to end the week, and it’s even better when it’s a big airport like LAX. Earlier this week all the important people—like the mayor—were on hand to shake hands, pose for pictures and chitchat, as the airport celebrated its announcement of all kinds of new services and goodies.
In total there’s like 60 new dining and retail options coming soon to the new Tom Bradley International Terminal—TBIT to its friends—and around 22 of ‘em will be brands right from Los Angeles and the surrounding area. Unfortunately, we’re pretty sure that In-N-Out Burger is not included on the terminal to-do list, but at least there are plenty easily accessible from the airport.