Saturday, November 24, 2012

Airport Now Has Cafe Rio, Market Street and Other Local Flavors

Ribbon cutting at Salt Lake International Airport for local restaurants. 

Salt Lake City International Airport's new restaurants offer some welcome choices for passengers,  especially since seven of them are clones of popular Salt Lake eateries such as Market Street Grill, Cafe Rio, and Greek Souvlaki.
 In the "good old days" of air travel, when you didn't have to take off half your clothing before catching a flight, quality food was scant in airport terminals.  Airlines served hot in-flight meals to passengers during their flights, even in economy seating. So perhaps there wasn't a lot of business for restaurants in the airport terminals. But if you were ever waiting for a connecting flight, or had a flight delayed, you were stuck with something like a rubbery hot dog or grilled cheese sandwich for maybe $10. 
But times have changed. In the '90s, most airlines got out of the dining business (except for first-class passengers or international flights). You're lucky to get a few packs of pretzels or peanuts during a five-hour flight. And, with the security checks and waits for connections,  people are spending more time sitting in airports.  And they're often hungry.
Market Street Grill took over the space where Dick Clark's American Bandstand Grill used to be. It now has the same decor and ambience of the downtown restaurant. Although it is run by the HMSHost concessionaire, the recipes and cooking techniques came from Gastronomy, Inc., Market Street's parent company.  The staff serves the fresh seafood that locals have enjoyed for more than 30 years. HMS Host staffers have been training at the downtown Market Street Grill, said Judy Cullen, Gastronomy's Communications Director.
Market Street Fresh Fish Special of Cedar Planked Salmon.

Cullen said it's good exposure for local restaurants, because it gives people a chance to have the local experience, and perhaps when they come back to Salt Lake City they will seek out one of the Market Street restaurants. 
Cafe Rio and Greek Souvlaki are located near the Market Street Grill, between Concourse C and D.

Vivace, a quick-serve version of the acclaimed Cucina Toscana, is another new airport eatery.  Owner Ken Millo told me that originally he was going to name the new restaurant Veloce. But a New York City-based bar called Bar Veloce is fiercely protective of the name and Millo didn't want to get into a legal battle. 
Vivace's new space at the Salt Lake International Airport.
 High West Distillery and Saloon of Park City also opened a restaurant and saloon in Terminal E of the airport. High West will also be open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, features a wide selection of High West's favorite spirits and cocktails. The food menu ties closely to High West's Park City location, with a variety of small plates, sandwiches, All Darn Day Saloon Bites and, for the morning fliers, healthy and delicious Crack O' Dawn Victuals.
Other new dining venues include Salt Lake City Pizza & Pasta, Mill Creek Coffee Roasters,  Auntie Anne’s, Smashburger, Great Wraps, Fresh Market On The Go, French Meadow Bakery & Café and Starbucks. For several years the airport has had a version of Squatter's, serving the beer and dishes from the downtown Salt Lake Squatter's pub.  Squatter's is also involved in the airport's recently opened Vino Volo Ale House. 
Many airports around the country are including local flavors in their terminals. A few years ago, when I was stranded in the Atlanta airport when my flight was cancelled, I consoled myself with dinner at Paschal's. I found out it's a well-known Atlanta restaurant with an outlet at the airport. 
If you're waiting for a connecting flight, or you want to grab something to eat on the plane,  you have a lot more interesting options now.  


Johanna said...

So glad to see this! My husband, who travels a lot, has often taken advantage of Squatters because he loves their root beer on tap.

It makes me look forward to layovers in other airports if it means I can get a taste of the local! Especially compared to a precooked pizza hut personal pizza in a warmed over box!

Valerie Phillips said...

Johanna, I agree! I know people who look forward connections at airports where there's a Popeye's Chicken.