Guest Commentary By Mario Rodriguez
December 3rd, 2013 – Not so long ago, grabbing a preflight meal meant mediocre fast food full of fat that would leave you feeling sick to your stomach for the duration of your flight. The experience is much different at Long Beach Airport, where you will find quality food and service. But don’t take my word for it; listen to the experts at Airports Council International – North America. They just awarded your airport first place in the Best Food and Beverage program for a small airport.
Why did your airport win? We owe it to the thought and ingenuity that went into the design and planning of the concession area. As a small airport with just four commercial carriers and 11 gates, the entire footprint of the new facility consists of a north and south concourse, separated by a welcoming palm court and garden area that greets travelers as they exit security screening. Attention is immediately drawn to a unique feature of LGB: outdoor seating. Both 4th Street Vine and McKenna’s on the Fly offer outdoor dining. 4th Street Vine also features an outdoor fire pit, another distinctive amenity for an airport. Both establishments cap off the north and south concourse and are the first thing travelers see as they head to their gates.
LGB’s food and beverage program features 100 percent local brands. The fare they offer emphasizes fresh ingredients and healthy options that appeal to visitors and hometown patrons alike, and that reflect the unique sensibility of the City of Long Beach.
The Long Beach Marché – food court just didn’t seem a worthy enough designation for LGB’s innovative eatery – features five local originals in the airport’s north concourse: George’s Greek Café, Taco Beach Grill & Cantina, Long Beach Burger Bar by McKenna’s, Sweet Jill’s Bakery, and Polly’s Gourmet Coffee. 4th Street Vine Wine and Beer Bar is also located in the north concourse, offering an appropriate refuge in the luxurious new facility for travelers looking to relax and unwind while making their journey.
Located in the south concourse is McKenna’s on the Fly, a full-service sit-down restaurant modeled after the local award-winning favorite, McKenna’s on the Bay. Sweet Jill’s Bakery and Polly’s Gourmet Coffee also have another shared location in the south concourse, offering their trademark pastries and drinks. All of the eating establishments in the concourse have committed to ensuring that pricing at LGB is comparable to street pricing at their brick and mortar businesses throughout the city.
LGB’s new passenger concourse is also receiving recognition again, this time from the American Public Works Association’s Southern California Chapter, which honored it as their 2013 Project of the Year choice. Earlier this year, the California Transportation Foundation had also recognized the passenger concourse with its 2013 Aviation Project of the Year award. The purpose of these awards is to acknowledge public agencies for their outstanding projects and programs, and we are honored to receive such distinguished recognition.
Though these awards were given to the airport, they are made possible only through the effort of our countless partners throughout the city. We have also been engaged with you, the community, through social media and other outlets, constantly receiving positive feedback and offers of advice on how we can be even better. Once again, we thank all of those involved in the achievement of these awards, and we are proud to continue providing excellent customer service to the community.