Dining On-The-Fly

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Dining On-The-Fly

Some of the country's best restaurants are located where you might not necessarily expect them: airports. In recent years, mega-hubs like New York's LaGuardia and Georgia's Hartsfield-Atlanta International have attracted high-end, sit-down-style eateries -- all in an attempt to cater to weary travelers. If your business has you traveling across the U.S., you'll want to check out these can't-miss culinary havens.

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Bar Brace
Bar Brace
Location: New York's JFK, Delta Terminal 3, Gate 15
Opened: 2010
Head chef: Jason Denton
Most popular appetizer: Fig and prosciutto bruschetta
Signature entree: Prosciutto, mozzarella and basil pesto panini
Most ordered cocktail: Bellini
Average price per guest: $10

At Bar Brace, the mission is to transport true Italian cuisine to New York's John F. Kennedy airport. So far, it appears that goal is more than being met. The menu features homemade panini and bruschetta with bold flavors from both classic Italian ingredients and more inventive combinations. Chef Jason Denton, author of Simple Italian Sandwiches and New York restaurateur (he helped open NYC's Lupa and 'inoteca), composed the menu based on his extensive travels through Italy.

Encounter
Encounter
Location: Los Angeles' LAX, Theme Building
Opened: 1997
Head chef: John Rivera Sedler
Sample appetizer: Cayenne citrus chicken drummettes
Sample entree: Sesame crusted Norwegian salmon

Opened as a partnership between L.A.-based entrepreneur Connie Bass and Delaware North Companies Travel Hospitality Services Inc., Encounter is in the Theme Building, which was constructed in 1960 as part of a $50 million "Los Angeles Jet Age Terminal Construction" project. Appropriately, this restaurant features an intergalactic-themed interior including moonstone quarry walls, laser guns and futuristic sound effects. Owners describe the menu as "dramatically presented California-Fresh" cuisine.

Wicker Park
Wicker Park
Location: Chicago's ORD, Terminal 2, Main Terminal
Opened: 2010
Head chef: Susumu Shibata
Most popular appetizer: Seaweed salad, miso soup
Signature entree: Tidal Wave Roll
Most ordered cocktail: Warm and cold Sake
Average price per guest: $32

A native of Japan, chef Susumu Shibata kicked off his sushi career at Mothashi Restaurant in Tokyo, and now directs the menu at the Wicker Park Seafood & Sushi Bar, which includes a variety of nigiri and sashimi, maki and an assortment of special rolls. For dessert, don't pass by the Maui roll, banana roll or, especially, the green tea tiramisu.

JetRock
JetRock
Location: Philadelphia's PHL, Concourse B, near Gate B5
Opened: 1996
Head chef: Doug Levesque
Most popular appetizer: Chicken wings (Buffalo, Chipotle, BBQ, Plain)
Signature entree: Philly cheese steak
Most ordered cocktail: Bloody Mary
Average price per guest: $10

With a pronounced rock-and-roll theme, this bar and grill claims to be a "celebration" of music and food. JetRock carries an expansive menu made up of American classics and updated pub favorites. Another big draw: the selection of nearly 50 beers on tap. Good times.

Vino Volo
Vino Volo
Location: Seattle's SEA, Central Terminal Marketplace
Opened: 2006
Signature dish: Smoked salmon rolls
Most ordered wine: The tasting flight sampler

Frustrated by the limited selection of wine and good food at U.S. airports, former Deloitte & Touche consultant Doug Tomlinson opened Vino Volo (the name is derived from Italian for "wine flight") in 2005, with the first location at Washington, D.C.'s IAD. The concept combines a food and wine bar with a boutique wine shop. Wine selections are unique to each region, with the Seattle store carrying an array of Northwest varieties. In all, there are 14 Vino Volo locations in 10 airports around the U.S.

Prime Tavern
Prime Tavern
Location: New York's LGA, Delta Terminal D
Opened: 2010
Head chef: Michael Lomonaco
Most popular appetizer: wedge salad
Signature entree: 14 oz. prime dry-aged New York strip steak
Most ordered cocktail: Blackberry Basil Smash
Average price per guest: $20

Renowned chef Michael Lomonaco -- of New York's Porterhouse restaurant -- developed the menu for this modern American steakhouse. Prime Tavern is an updated version of the classic restaurant with a menu that features steaks, chops, burgers, salads and fish. Another perk: The beer list is personally selected by Brooklyn Brewery's Garrett Oliver.

Norton Sound Seafood House
Norton Sound Seafood House
Location: Anchorage's ANC, Concourse C
Opened: 2010
Head chef: Shane Pennington
Most popular appetizer: Calamari
Signature entree: Fish and chips (with Alaskan halibut)
Most ordered cocktail: Bloody Mary
Average price per guest: $21

For business travelers heading as far west as Anchorage, Alaska's Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport, Norton Sound Seafood House is a one-of-kind, locally-themed seafood restaurant that showcases the fisheries, resources and the small-boat fishermen of Northwest Alaska. With a cozy, modern atmosphere, the bar at this 4,100-square-foot restaurant features wine, cocktails and locally-brewed beer.

One Flew South
One Flew South
Location: Atlanta's ATL, Concourse E
Opened: 2008
Head chef: Duane Nutter
Most popular appetizer: Lamb merguez sausage and soy bean succotash
Signature entree: Thyme roasted pork belly
Most ordered cocktail: The Ruby Slipper (vodka, grapefruit, rosemary syrup, club soda)
Average price per guest: $35

With a serene, relaxing atmosphere, One Flew South's cuisine is inspired by world travels and southern cuisine. It touts an exceptional sushi menu and delectables such as a pulled-duck sandwich and an upside-down cake with grilled pumpkin bread, bourbon-braised pineapple and vanilla cream for dessert. The bar offers the "Salute to Aeromarine" cocktail list, inspired by Aeromarine Airways which offered wealthy passengers legal drinking options by traveling from Miami to Jamaica and Cuba aboard flying boats during Prohibition era.

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