Branch of Casavana, a Florida Cuban favorite, at Ft Lauderdale Photo: Delaware North
A welcome trend in airports, especially for those of us who sometimes find airports so alike we wonder where we are: More airports are encouraging local and regional restaurants to set up at the airport and give travelers a chance at local cuisine.
Among the examples listed in a recent USA Today article are Prime Tavern at Laguardia, run by Manhattan's Porter House, Mustard Seed at Atlanta (which smokes its meat at the airport!), Big City Coffee and Bardenay at Boise, and an outpost of the Los Angeles Farmer's Market inside LAX's Terminal 5.
Most of the restaurants are partnerships between the original restaurant and airport restaurant management companies such as OTG and Delaware North, which operate hundreds of airport spots. That's necessary not only because sometimes these companies hold master leases, but also because they understand airport food issues.
By airport food issues, we mean space, place and speed. While some people arrive well in advance intending to take their time over a meal, Kevin Kelly of Delaware North told USA Today that "you've really only got half an hour to fill the order and let them enjoy the space." Other issues include space (airport resstaurants cram in the seats) and a growing trend: order your meal, and have it delivered at your gate, a boon for those worried they will miss announcements or opportunities.