For most flyers, going through the typical moves at the airport is one of the least desirable parts of traveling. And then when all you want is some comfort food and a hot cup of coffee, you’re left with the likes of McDonalds and Sbarro. But what if celebrity chefs (minus Emeril) replaced fast food, and dining at the airport turned into a foodie adventure? Well, that’s the $120 million plan for Newark Liberty International Airport’s United Airlines’ Terminal C.
The massive upgrade will include 55 dining spots that has enough celebrity chef bravado to even soften the blow of a 4-hour plane delay. Choices will include everything from Swedish meatballs to Neapolitan-style pizza. And yeah, the technology is pretty cool, too. Plans include rotating signage and sliding walls that will transform morning breakfast to afternoon lunches when appropriate.
But what else would you expect from David Rockwell, whose past work includes JetBlue’s Terminal 5 at Kennedy International Airport, Academy Awards stage sets and world-class sushi restaurants like Nobu?
Seating was appropriately placed next to 25-foot-tall windows, which are framed with bendable metal draperies. This is certainly an upgrade from the usual sad seating arrangements you’re presented with at the airport.
You’ll be even able to get Top Chef’s Dale Talde’s famous dumplings. Little Purse will have everything on its menu from shumai to wontons.
Oh and yeah, there’s ramen. The beautifully designed ramen bar that will house Chef Shoushin Yanaura’s Kaedama ramen bar is topped with a metal mesh embedded with LED lights.
You’ll be easily lured into SRF, a bar by chef Josh Capon. Rockwell plans to install custom-made and found baskets over seats, as well as driftwood behind the servers to go with the seafood-themed menu.
Each seat will include a personal iPad that will allow you to order food, pay checks, monitor flight info and even use frequent-flier miles to pay checks. There will be a total of 6,000 tablets in the 100,000-square-foot terminal, so I doubt you’ll be fighting over an iPad.
And if you want to be whisked away to France without actually going there, you’ll be able to dine at Michelin Star Chef Alain Ducasse’s classic French Brasserie. Dishes will include items such as onion soup gratinée, beef tartare prepared right at your table and traditional sandwiches like croque monsieur and jambon et beurre.
Forget Mrs. Fields and other sub-par airport bakeries, the upgrade will allow travelers to also taste famed pastry chef and chocolatier Jacques Torres’ creations. Melange Bakery Cafe will have a variety of breads, rolls and sweets as well as other light entrees.
Nicole Theodore is an editorial assistant at Playboy.com. Follow her on Twitter.