Delaware North, Food Network create new airport restaurant

Food Network Kitchen expected to debut in 2011

Delaware North Cos. is ramping up its partnership with the Food Network with plans to develop a new fast-casual restaurant at airports around the country, the on-site foodservice company said Friday.

The concept, called the Food Network Kitchen, will be featured in the Buffalo, N.Y.-based company’s bids on future airport contracts, a spokesman for Delaware North said. The first unit is expected to open in 2011.

Plans call for the restaurant to feature an open kitchen where customers can watch their food being cooked to order and TVs throughout the dining area showing Food Network programming, Delaware North said.

Michael Baru, director of new business for the Food Network, said the “concept aims to provide travelers with their first opportunity to interact and experience the Food Network and taste its food in airports.”

Delaware North said the Food Network Kitchen would be designed to satisfy three styles of service: grab and go; self-ordering via touch-screen kiosks and counter pick-up; and full-service seating for customers who have time to linger. The footprint will range from 2,000 square feet to 6,500 square feet and hold up to 140 seats.

The menu will consist of classic fare with international influences, Delaware North spokesman Glen White said. Featured items will include fire-roasted tomato soup with grilled cheese croutons and a turkey salad wrap with Kalamata olives and feta cheese. The per-person check average will range between $12 and $22.

“It will be a vibrant environment of entertainment and education, a showcase that is all about the food,” White said.

Delaware North teamed up with the Food Network earlier this year to offer new concepts at its venues, including the new Meadowlands sports complex in Rutherford, N.J., which it began operating this summer.

Separately, Delaware North said earlier this week it won a food and beverage concessions contract at Los Angeles International Airport in partnership with Marbella Food Services. The contract will include the debut of Skewers, a Japanese street food concept that Delaware North has created with celebrity chef Masaharu Morimoto, and a Wolfgang Puck Express unit. Skewers will be located in the airport’s Terminal 5 while the Wolfgang Puck Express will be in Terminal 7. Both are expected to open next year.

In addition to the new contracts, Delaware North currently operates Pink’s Hot Dogs LAX and the Daily Grill Restaurant, both in the Tom Bradley International Terminal, as well as The Encounter Restaurant & Bar, which is located in LAX’s landmark Theme Building.

Contact Elissa Elan at [email protected]