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It’s been a little bit of time since we ran through the country’s airports to check out what’s new in the world of airport dining. Sbarros are closing and Starbucks are opening all the time, so we want to keep you up-to-speed regarding your opportunities for airport eats.
New York City's LaGuardia Airport has been pretty busy for the last few months (really, years), as the airport continues to upgrade and improve their offerings.
One of their most recent openings is that of the airport’s beer garden. Over the summer the airport debuted an almost 3,000-square foot spot simply known as Biergarten. Local brewers are the stars here with options chosen by the master brewer—Garrett Oliver—from Brooklyn Brewery. Expect lots of local options from breweries like Blue Point and Ommegang. Sausages are a plenty when it comes to their non-beverage options, and there’s a bunch of small plates to nibble on while you kick one back.
At this point we get it—everybody loves food trucks—as everywhere and everyone seems to be getting in on the mobile restaurant craze. We’ve seen food trucks make appearances in cell phone lots and waiting areas at the airport, and even airports have launched their own on-the-go eats. However, now things have gone a little too far, as Los Angeles International Airport is getting their own food truck right inside of the terminal.
It’s not a real food truck, as one business is planning to pretty much set up a fake food truck within Terminal 4. It’ll be like a food truck facade, and everything will be prepared inside and served from the side of the “vehicle.”
Last year, one of the more popular sushi "conveyor belt" restaurants set up shop in London Heathrow's Terminal 3 and we guess things have been going swimmingly for Yo! Sushi since they also plan to open in the newest Terminal 2, the Queen's Terminal. Once the shiny new digs open in June of next year, Star Alliance passengers will be able to skip the traditional airport fare and grab some nori rolls before hopping on the plane.
Besides having 80 different options for waistline-conscious travelers, the Yo! Sushis at Heathrow will accept pre-orders via the internet. Yep, you've read correctly; the ease and convenience of a sushi train has just gotten, well, easier and more convenient. While you're tap tap tapping on the keyboard to check-in for your flight, you can also order that spider roll and a few pieces of sashimi. Once you clear security and belly up to the rails, Yo! Sushi will have your order ready. This is just sheer brilliance!
Best of all, if you're planning to take the rolls on the plane with you, the risk of being olfactory offensive to your fellow travelers is quite low. And that's something we can really get behind.
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We’re not sure if this is the year of airport eats, but it’s getting pretty darn close. Gone are the days of prepackaged sandwiches and stale pizza, as airports around the globe are really creating their own restaurant scene. Here are just a few airports worth checking out on your next layover.
Atlanta's Hartsfield-Jackson Airport
The suburban shopping mall is expanding out towards the airport, as a chain restaurant favorite is finally making an appearance within the terminal. Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport is now home the world’s only airport edition of PF Chang’s, so feel free to get an order of those lettuce wraps between flights. Asian inspired cuisine can be found on the upper mezzanine of Concourse A—the former home of a Chili's—and they’ll even be serving breakfast.
New York's JFK Airport
At New York’s JFK the hits keep on coming over at Terminal 2, as Delta keeps pouring in the cash and new ideas to spruce and spiff things up. The plan is to bring new ideas and flavors, as well as whole bunch of iPads—after all, it’s more fun to order that way. New options that will be rolling in include Due Amici—think rustic Italian tastes with plenty of meat and cheese platters—as well as the BRKLYN Beer Garden and its 20 beers on tap. A French sandwich shop—Croque Madame—will be serving stuff up right in the terminal, as well as a Japanese spot called Shiso.
Food trucks at the airport are hardly a new concept, as we’ve seen them pop up all over the place. The latest airport to get in on the food truck fun is San Francisco International Airport, as a whole bunch of on-the-go eats are on their way to just outside the terminal.
Things started up as a test earlier in the summer, but the project must have received a passing grade—as the trucks are staying around as a permanent addition to the airport landscape. The Off The Grid trucks will now be doing their thing each and every Thursday—that’s tomorrow—between 11am and 2pm.
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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:
Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport
There’s a new less than healthy option for you to enjoy down in Atlanta, and it’s full of Southern flavor. Bojangles'—famous for fried chicken and plenty of other stuff—got its start in North Carolina, but is now busy expanding elsewhere. The latest stop is Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport, as the place should be open this month over in Concourse T. We’d recommend sitting down to enjoy their hand-breaded chicken, buttermilk biscuits, and sandwiches, as the aromas might not be quite as enjoyable once aboard the airplane. If you need to something to take with you get some of their super sweet iced tea—delicious.
Dayton International Airport
Unless it’s your final destination there’s probably a good chance you’re flying to—rather than through—Dayton, Ohio. So if you’re headed into town or departing be sure to leave some time to enjoy a couple of new airport restaurants later this year. A brand new Starbucks will be bringing the caffeine fun to Concourse B, and over at the airport’s Main Concourse the airport will welcome a Chick-fil-A. In addition to the new options it sounds like they’ll also be upgrading and updating the Max & Erma’s location over in the Main Concourse. All the construction should be done before the end of the year, as the new spots will be open this fall.
If you’re fly to—or through—the airport over in Copenhagen within the next month or so, you might just want to build in some extra time for a nice airport meal. This isn’t just a slice of Sbarro either, as this is probably one of the best airport restaurants around. Just remember to act quickly, as this Michelin-level spot is one of those pop-up options.
CPH Nordic Dining and its open kitchen will feature offerings from three of the country’s best chefs. Thomas Rode will be bringing techniques from his place—Kong Hans Kælder—and David Johansen from Kokkeriet will also be making some airport appearances. Last but not least is Mikkel Marschall who will also make up part of this tasty triumvirate of airport chefs.
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Chicago, you're the best.
While many airports focus on installing new wine bars or sticking as many iPads as possible in the faces of passengers trying to grab a bite, Chicago's O'Hare and Midway Airports are refining the basic offering of an airport coffee by opening serious coffeeshops backed by local roasters.
Kiss that calorie-heavy, caffeine-light caramel frappuccino with whip cream goodbye, or at least until you arrive at your destination airport. Chicago will see you off (or welcome you) with a proper fresh cup, made with beans sourced from exotic destinations and then roasted and ground right in town.
First up is O'Hare's Terminal 5, which houses Rick Bayless' airport outpost of Tortas Frontera and has just opened Kofe by Intelligentsia, a European-style stand-up coffee shop past security. In addition to Intelligentsia's regular roasts, Kofe will also feature a monthly special. Right now, according to The Moodie Report, it's a Yirgacheffe coffee "with notes of jasmine and lemongrass from southern Ethiopia." Yes, there will be souvenir mugs and coffee beans for purchase (and Black Cat espresso!).
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If the bankruptcy and subsequent shuttering of all Borders Bookstores made you frown, just wait until you hear what business will soon that frown upside down in the former Borders location within JetBlue's Terminal 5 at JFK. A cupcake bakery is moving in, but it's not just any cupcake bakery. It's Baked by Melissa, a small NYC chain of shops specializing in buttery, moist, cutesy cupcakes that cost only $1 each.
A pair of foodies is looking to improve the airport eating experience, as they’re being set on the loose over at London-Heathrow airport. John Torode and Gregg Wallace from the BBC show Masterchef are taking on a six-month culinary challenge at the airport, and when they’re done the plan is to make the airside offerings just a little bit better.
It sounds as if the pair has wrangled an all-access pass to the airport when it comes to checking out the dining establishments, from the kitchens, and prep areas to the dining rooms and everything in between for the 70 spots spread across LHR.
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Earth Day is in the rearview mirror at this point, but that doesn’t mean we can’t think green throughout the rest of the year. That’s clearly the idea over in Chicago, as both major airports are all about the eco-friendly.
Officials have issued some new rules and guidelines for those restaurants doing business at both O'Hare and Midway airports, as they hope to reduce, reuse, and recycle. The new green concessions policy provides a little bit of encouragement in hopes that the restaurants will do a better job utilizing eco materials and sustainable ingredients.
If you’re heading to Dallas anytime soon you might want to consider the city’s other airport. Sure things are fine and dandy over at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport, and they’ve got lots of flights to plenty of destinations; however, Dallas Love Field has something that DFW doesn’t—new airport smell.
The airport just finished a revamp and renovation, and parts of the new airport are now open to the flying public. In total there’s eleven new gates at the airport, as the place is ready to debut just part of its renovation. There was a sneak peek for airport employees and others eager to take a look, but now things are open for those holding tickets as well.