'Airport Dining' by Kirstin Massmann

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As tradeshow season picks up, so do all of CBI Chefs’ schedules as well as skymiles.  Traveling from city to city can be exciting but not always glamorous.  Considering my last 6 flights have all either been delayed or canceled, I have already spent a good portion of my travel time this year in the airport.  One thing I have noticed over the years is the shift in dining options in airports around the country.  I remember within the last 5 years when we were lucky to have a ‘Chili’s Too’ in our terminal where we could actually sit down and have a Presidente Margarita and a Big Mouth Burger (yes, my first job in high school was at Chili’s).  Travelers (especially at O’Hare) are used to seeing McDonalds, pretzels, and cinnamon rolls (in some variation) as the extent of their dining options. 
As the airlines continue to struggle, airports are turning to other avenues to boost their revenue—dining being the big seller.  Airport food has always been expensive, but they are beginning to realize that travelers are willing to spend a few extra dollars for a nicer atmosphere and a ‘real meal’.  O’Hare airport is finally jumping on this bandwagon with the new opening of Rick Bayless’s Frontera Grill, Wicker Park Sushi and even America’s Dog to join the early 2000 opening of Wolfgang Puck.  Although I do not wish to spend any extra time in airports than I already have to, it is nice knowing there are a few new places to enjoy eating while waiting at O’Hare airport.

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