Airport Dining of the Future

Airplane on Tarmac

Advances in air travel happen daily, but many airports function as relics of a bygone era—everything from air filtration to food preparation is handled the same way it was decades ago. Next month, San Francisco International Airport (SFO) will defy established building and retail conventions by setting unprecedented standards for how international airport facilities can and should operate. SFO’s new Terminal 2 (T2) will open to the community on Saturday, April 9th, as one of the country’s first airport terminals expected to achieve the Gold Certificate under the US Lead Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) program. These epic renovations benefit the environment as a whole, and they are also geared to provide visitors with satisfying, healthful, and responsible dining options.

Formerly the SFO’s terminal for international flights, the new T2 will be home to American Airlines and Virgin America, being capable of receiving Boeing 747-400 sized aircraft. Equally as impressive as its new aircraft accommodations is the terminal’s unparalleled environmentally-minded features for travelers.   As stated on the official SFO website, T2 will house “The first airport dining program in the country to recruit food vendors offering wholesome fare from local sources that is prepared in a healthful manner."

With 30,793 square feet of retail space, T2 hosts 12 restaurants, nine stores, a gourmet marketplace, wine bar, and spa. The airport’s new Concessions Program stipulates that food and beverage tenants “provide sustainable food to the greatest extent possible.” Expectations include using:

- organic, local products

- organic or natural meats

- rBST-free dairy products

- cage-free antibiotic eggs

- sustainable seafood

- fairly traded organic coffee

- non-modified agricultural products

- no artificial color, flavor or additives

- non-hydrogenated oils

- biodegradable to-go containers and utensils

- compostable bio-resin or paper bottles for water

- low- or no-phosphate detergents.  

Food and beverage tenants are also encouraged to “use green building materials for their facilities and will be required to recycle and compost.” Restaurants throughout the country are beginning to meet many of these standards on their own, but to tackle such a list consistently is a commendable act indeed—one that stands to benefit thousands.

Some of the restaurants slated to open with T2 include Andale (serving fresh, made-to-order Mexican food), Cat Cora Lounge (featuring a full bar and small plate offerings), Napa Farms and Vino Volo (the gourmet market and rotisserie by celebrity chef Tyler Florence/boutique wine bar), the Plant Café Organic (presenting organic, locally sourced food).

The next time you pass through SFO, stop by T2 for a much-deserved and long overdue airport meal worth the frequent flyer miles!

 

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