Is LaGuardia the new Las Vegas?

August 4, 2010

It’s a soupy gray morning in New York, and I’m thinking about all the new restaurants going into LaGuardia, wondering what it means. In the next few weeks so many of my favorite chefs will be opening restaurants in the Delta terminal that I’ll be heading out to the airport just to eat.

Lee Hanson and Riad Nasr, who blew me away with Balthazar and then again Minetta Tavern, are opening a bistro out there, and the lovely Michael Lomonaco is opening a steak place. Pat LaFrieda, the guy who put designer labels on beef, is opening a burger place. And maybe most exciting of all, Di Fara’s is opening a branch; maybe the pizza lines will be shorter than the endless one in Brooklyn?

But I can’t help thinking what a strange development this is. Does it mean that people now expect to spend so much time waiting in airports that they’ve become dining destinations? Or does it mean that airports are changing their profiles, and every vacation will now begin with a few lovely hours before the plane departs?

I’m not sure. But I am reminded that the Guide Michelin was started by a tire company, eager to give people a reason to get out on the road.

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3 Comments

  • Ruth Reichl says:

    Question: am I a risk-taker in restaurants?
    Answer: After almost 30 years as a restaurant critic, when I always had to order the weirdest dishes on the menu, I find it a great luxury to simply order what I want to eat. If what you mean by adventurous is offal and the like, definitely. If, on the other hand, you mean strange combinations, well, not always. Sorry. I’ve had too many nights of chocolate-covered anchovies.

  • It’s great to have options in the airport setting, especially if one expecting a long layover. My boyfriend and I are headed to Quebec on Monday and have a layover in Chicago. I’m looking forward to Wolfgang Puck’s that day. I hope it doesn’t disappoint.

  • Rogerjenn says:

    Your article reminded me of why I parked my plane (an ancient Piper Apache) at La Guardia 25 years ago: The food in the terminal! (Plus it cost less to park an aircraft than a car at LGA.)
    –rj
    http://oakleafblog.blogspot.com

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