San Diego Lindbergh Field – the Newest Gourmet Restaurant in Town

by on August 12, 2011 · 12 comments

in Popular, San Diego, The Widder Curry

“Hey, honey! Want to go out to dinner tonight?” Put on your prettiest clothes; have your hair done, have a manicure and pedicure, and I’ll pick you up about 7:00pm.”

 Don’t like that scenario? How about this one:

“Ah honey, I wanted to take you and the kids out to dinner at that new hot spot in town, but the McDonald’s is no longer there so we would have to buy the kids a full, expensive meal.”

 No? Don’t like that one either? This one any better?

 “Hey, Shirl, what do you think about going shopping at that new place on Harbor Drive. I hear that there are several new book stores all under one roof we could try; fresh chocolate’s; even a great jewelry store. Be there in an hour.”

 Are you all ready to go? Oh, you don’t know where this new gourmet place is? Let me tell you. It is at our very own “LINDBERGH FIELD.” Yes sir! The Airport Authority Board in their infinite wisdom has decreed that “a new recipe for success” is needed and they taking the “Food Court . . . . off in a new direction.”

Restaurants that are going to go in there? I am embarrassed to say that some of them are among my favorites: HODAD’S, PHIL’S BBQ, SAMMY’S PIZZA, SAFFRON THAI, etc. and some that are not among my favorites.

So…let’s picture this scenario. You spend many minutes getting to the airport. After all, you are not flying out; you are merely going there to eat. Then you have to drive around, and around, and around to find a parking place. Do you park in one of those lots that have opened because you can no longer park at the airport due to the much-needed new gates at Terminal 2 construction. (As if that isn’t sick enough.)

Now you hop on one of the “free shuttles” that takes you to the Food Court. Oh! Where is the food court? Is it before you have to go through “security” or do you have to take off your clothes, be groped by TSA, and THEN go to eat at one of the “well known eateries”? Or if the food court is before you get to security, who is protecting us from the terrorists, the kooks, etc. that are sampling the wonderful food at the restaurants?

And, if the article in the San Diego Union-Tribune is correct – these gourmet food establishments will be located in Lindbergh Field’s three terminals. Wow! That makes me feel safe.

 “In a move to both broaden and localize the dining and shopping options, the San Diego County Regional Airport Authority’s board of directors awarded nearly a dozen contracts for the operation of food and retail outlets in 53 pre-and post-security locations.

 . . . While national chains will still have a presence, airport officials emphasized that they were trying to bring more of a local flavor to the airport as a way of reminding travelers they’re in San Diego.”

 Doesn’t that seem strange to you? You just flew in to…..SAN DIEGO; You are just flying out of…SAN DIEGO; ….you are going to eat in ….SAN DIEGO. And you have to be reminded where you are?

Who are these airport-board members? Is this why they couldn’t agree on moving the airport to a better location? They want to turn the airport into a “shopping center?” Their plan is to have “EIGHTY (80) new locations in place by mid-2014”?

Perhaps I am just reacting to my intense dislike of the Airport Board. I’ve been fighting them for 35 years. But at this moment, I will not patronize any of the restaurants that open up in this “fly-by-night” setting – either at the airport or at the establishments I frequent now. This is an airport – with the goal to move people quickly, efficiently, and safely. If I want to get dressed up to go out to eat, it won’t be at the airport. Ever!

{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

avatar doug porter August 12, 2011 at 12:25 pm

Since I helped a local restaurant –not one listed above– put together a proposal for this new approach to the airport food service, let me answer some of Judi’s questions.
1) the restaurants will be on both sides of the security barrier, but mostly on the inside. The intended audience is mostly people waiting to travel or connecting flights.
2)The intent was to give LOCAL businesses a presence in this potentially lucrative setting. Not all of the restaurants will be local, but at least the local guys got a chance to participate. This has worked out quite well in San Francisco and other cities.
3) This makeover came about because the current contract for foodservice is expiring and the airport is being re-modeled. No matter who goes in, there will be more choices for airport users, and hopefully the dismal quality of the food being served around a facility that handles tons of people every day will improve.
4) Dislike the airport board all you like. I find it pretty hard to believe that you’d let that dislike extend to all these local restaurants just because they see an opportunity.
5.) Nobody anywhere has suggested turning the airport into a shopping center; that’s because it is already one as are most big city airports.

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avatar judi curry August 12, 2011 at 1:53 pm

Have you guys ever flown out of the Ontario/CA airport? It’s all business. You get there; you check in; you get on your flight and you get going. The paper this am, in letters to the editor, complimented the new dining area by one of the employees. N ow they have somewhere to eat. Funny, I always brought my lunch to work. I will not “dine” at the airport for the same reason I will not shop at Liberty Station. It’s the principle of the entire thing. I do not patronize the shops at Liberty Station because the people got screwed, financially. If the new Charger stadium goes through I won’t go there either- even if I could afford it -because when I am screwed I want an orgasm.

The airport didn’t need to be “remodeled.” It needed to be moved. I fail to see why it is necessary to serve wonderful food – except to make more money – to people that are arriving, or departing, in an hour or so when one is at the airport long enough to enjoy a meal. The basic premise of “airport” has been lost.

As far as patronizing the restaurants that will be at Lindbergh, they will now make enough money so that I can go to other restaurants and enjoy the food. And you are so wrong about my dislike of the board. I don’t see where they asked the community what they thought. What’s in it for them?

And..with the new retail stores, it will become a shopping center, adding to the congestion along Harbor Drive. We are not a big city airport if you compare us to SF, JFK, etc. And I, for one, don’t want us to be a big city airport.

Have you tried to fly from SAN to LAX recently? Do you know there are only a few direct flights and they cost $187? Do you know that if you want to fly out of San Diego to LAX you have to catch a plane in Carlsbad? If you drive to Carlsbad to catch a LAX flight, you might as well drive to LA. Carlsbad is the kind of airport I want. Do you know if you want to fly to LAX the cheapest way is to take a plane from SD, fly to SF, and return to LAX? This airport has too many grandiose ideas, and the new glorified food court is one of them.

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avatar Goatskull August 12, 2011 at 3:08 pm

” Have you guys ever flown out of the Ontario/CA airport? It’s all business. You get there; you check in; you get on your flight and you get going.”
Can’t say I have so I have no idea what it’s like up there. Generally I get to the airport about two hours before my flight, so by the time we get through security and have an hour and a half or to kill before boarding time, I like the idea have having dining and drink options. I think that is the targeted crowd like Doug said. Likewise there are people who might be on long layovers who may enjoy these options also. I’ve been on some of those myself so it’s nice to have options.

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avatar Goatskull August 12, 2011 at 12:28 pm

” If I want to get dressed up to go out to eat, it won’t be at the airport. Ever!”
I don’t think the idea is to go to the airport for the sake of eating. These are just eating options while there. Truth is, if I’m flying out of SD and get to the airport two or three hours early, I wouldn’t mind a Hodad’s burger with a frosty cold beer. I’ve been to many airports around the country that have local eating establishments inside. I agree though, the money could be better spent improving the efficiency of the airport itself.

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avatar JEC August 15, 2011 at 10:25 am

Some years back Pittsburgh built a fully integrated airport and shopping mall. Separate parking, but all the shops and stores were fully mixed in with the airport operations. It was great, until 9/11 and TSA put it under. Studies show that for these types of businesses to be successful they must have more customers than just the passengers. Pittsburgh bet on the friends of passengers; picking up or taking, the idea was they would stay and eat and shop. Access to SD is limited essentially to passengers. Parking and politics will get in their way. Let’s see who they get to pay their high overheads.

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avatar doug porter August 12, 2011 at 6:33 pm

(From Wikipedia) San Diego International is the busiest single-runway commercial service airport in the United States, and second in the world after London Gatwick, with approximately 600 departures and arrivals carrying 50,000 passengers each day, and a total of 18.3 million passengers in 2007…As of October, 2010, San Diego International Airport is served by 20 passenger airlines and four cargo airlines which fly nonstop to 49 destinations in the United States, Canada, Europe,and Mexico.

Officials at Ontario airport are very concerned over a 11% drop in traffic this year; “There’s no way the airport can sustain itself with 4 million passengers when it was built for 12 million passengers,” sez Ontario Councilman Wapner

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avatar JEC August 15, 2011 at 10:17 am

Doing a little math. Wikipedia didn’t mention that SD is also under a curfew 11 – 6:30am. Just a few landings, no take-offs. Rules require 90 seconds between a take-off and/or landing – a theoretical max, 40 per hour. At 600 arrival/departs a day, every popular landing/take-off slot is already taken. This leaves 90 minutes, or a total possible of 60 more take-off and landings – most after 9 pm. So, what’s the benefit of adding 10 new gates now being built; more airport noise from 9 to 11 each night? Or not, except for international flights, which we have few because SD cannot accomodate a fully loaded jumbo, how many passengers want to leave at 10 pm only to land someplace at 2am. Go to the Airport at 10 at night. If the demand was there, the flights would be also. So please explain why the Airport Authority is spending $1 Billion to expand?

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avatar unWASHEdwalmarttONG August 14, 2011 at 2:59 am

“Single runway airport.” Before the damn airport is rebuilt, which the city has been doing since when? 1977 or before? can we not get that damn bathroom built on Brighton? Cheap talk about moving the airport has been going on for thirty years. It won’t be moved, & the noise is till horrendous, & the air pollution is still disgusting. I agree w/ Judy. I don’t shop at Liberty Station because the people got screwed, & I won’t be eating at the airport. I won’t even go through those ridulous scanners that the cattle are laughing about as low level x-rays pass through the body. Illegal search is all I have to say about that. I won’t be attending any games at a “newer” stadium. Raze the old one; put in an airstrip.
And I quit going to baseball games when the warmongers changed the song at the 7th inning stretch. I didn’t need the fascists to remind me of their disgusting tactics around the world w/ “God Bless America” blasting through the speakers.
Personally, there is way too much air traffic in San Diego. Military fascists buzzing neighbors, cop choppers flying everywhere they want, commercial jets blasting everyone, Monkey Field, Gillespie Field, Brown Field–too many fields & not enough grass. I’m thinking of getting some kind of Bose anti-jet scream headphones just so I can walk or bike or drive in neighborhoods like Scripps, or Clairemont. Everything is related. Happy Halloween Mr. & Mrs. Seven Billion

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avatar Goatskull August 14, 2011 at 2:19 pm

“It won’t be moved, & the noise is till horrendous, & the air pollution is still disgusting.”

No it probably wont. As far as the noise, people do have a choice not to move close to an airport. As far as eating at the airport, if I’m going to spend two hours there I’m probably going to want to eat and have a couple drinks at some point. I admit that flying sucks these days. Hell, a friend of me and my wife is a TSA agent and she won’t fly herself these days due to not wanting to go through the whole security thing that she puts people through in her very job. Go figure.

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avatar JEC August 15, 2011 at 7:33 am

Why would you go to the airport? To park on McCain rd and ride a shuttle? To pay $34 for valet parking? To pay $6 to park at Terminal 1 (for now)? The sign for Terminal 1 right now reads “Valet Only”, though it’s not true. Parking at the airport is inconvienent, expensive and, well, let’s face it, TSA – unfriendly. Comment by a recent out of town visitor familiar with San Diego. “First they stop friends from going to the gates to greet friends; now they stop you from going to the airport.” Check out the status of Terminal 2 – No parking – must go to McCain and ride a shuttle. Recent decisions by the Airport Authority makes me wonder about their intelligence.

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avatar judi curry August 16, 2011 at 5:29 pm

I was told today by someone that works for the Airport Authority that most of the restaurants will be on the other side of security and you cannot get to the restaurants without an airplane ticket. I, too, question the intelligence of the Airport Authority.

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avatar unWASHEdwalmaRtthONG August 15, 2011 at 7:30 pm

Intelligence. Similar to “military intelligence or religious education” oxymorons all.

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