|by Nicholas DeRenzo||Food + Drink, Fort Lauderdale, Food + Drink||0|
The Food Network opened a new restaurant this month, but you won't find it in some hip area in New York or Los Angeles or Chicago. Instead, you'll have to book a flight on JetBlue and head to their terminal in South Florida's Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport to find the Food Network Kitchen. The popular cooking channel added this airport location to its roster of ballpark concession stands on November 8 and has reportedly served about 1,500 customers a day since opening.
The fast-casual dining spot is the exact opposite of the much-maligned Guy's American Kitchen & Bar in Times Square (read the now infamous New York Times review here), which is owned by Food Network personality Guy Fieri. You won't find dishes named for celebrity chefs—no Paula Deen's hush puppies or Bobby Flay fajitas—or outsize branding here, save for a few televisions showing Food Network series and the famous logo on packaging materials. Instead, the restaurant is meant to evoke the network's test kitchens, with counters made of butcher block, white-tile walls, and hanging rows of pots and pans.
Dishes incorporate organic and sustainable ingredients, with an eye toward local flavors. Key limes, for example, show up in the tartar sauce, the Caesar dressing, and the mayo, while Florida shrimp is the star of the restaurant's po'boy. And South Florida's Latin heritage is front and center in entrees like the Cuban breakfast burrito and the black beans and rice burger.
Another Food Network Kitchen is expected to open at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport within the next year.
If you're traveling through Fort Lauderdale, will you stop in for a pre-flight meal?