Airport Dining Is About to Hit a New Altitude

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Greetings, weary travelers. Here’s something to nourish your famished souls: Airport dining is undergoing a major transformation, upping its culinary game in a big way.

So reports Eater, pointing to the work of OTG Management, a New York company that oversees 200 restaurants and retail establishments in 10 U.S. airports, including United Airlines’ hub at Newark Liberty International Airport, in New Jersey, which is undergoing a $120 million overhaul. The company is also planning to boost the food and beverage offerings in the United terminal at George Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston and in the American Airlines area of Philadelphia International Airport, and says it will add “up to seven” new terminals to its roster in 2017, Eater notes.

“Tomorrow’s airport for today’s passenger,” the company’s website promises, adding, “for us, the journey is the destination.”

So what will the airport of tomorrow bring? Here are a few things to expect, according to Eater:

Input from Famous Chefs: “When OTG goes into a new airport market, it works to put together a group of chefs that best represents that city’s culinary scene,” Eater reports, ticking off names like triple-Michelin-starred Alain Ducasse and chefs Alex Stupak, Mario Carbone, Alex Guarnaschelli and Dale Talde, whose culinary creations travelers can enjoy at Newark Airport, and Andrew Zimmern, whose offerings are available at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport.

Flavors That Appeal to a Variety of Tastes: That “means sometimes spices in foods have to be adjusted accordingly,” Eater notes.

Market-Fresh Ingredients: Fresh foods and produce will be delivered to terminals daily. “We have the smallest refrigerators in the industry because we bring in fresh food every day,” OTG’s vice president of experience, Eric Brinker, told Eater about Newark’s Terminal C.

Creative Solutions: Space considerations may mean that chefs can’t do everything as they normally would — for instance, Talde won’t have room for a ventilation system for a 250,000-BTU grill at his Newark Airport noodle and dumpling restaurant, Little Purse — but that doesn’t mean they can’t do things differently and well.

A Commitment to Quality: “I want people to say, ‘This is delicious. The service is great and the drinks are fantastic,'” Talde, whose Caps Beer Garden, is already open in Newark’s Terminal C, told Eater. “That’s what all travelers want.”

So true — and an idea we can all get on board with.

Photo courtesy of iStock