Airports are not known for being havens of gourmet food.
Although many are starting add food-driven concepts intended to highlight the cities' culinary scene, the vast majority serve mall food and prepackaged goods.
Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport recently announced it would be adding a bunch of new concepts to its roster.
Sergio's Cuban Restaurant, which specializes in healthy Latin American fare, is opening its doors on April 1 in Terminal One.
As part of the first phases of restaurant expansions by master concession company HMSHost, Sergio's will be bringing a taste of Miami's Cuban culture to the airport.
Operating since 1975, the family-run woman-owned Cuban restaurant (mother and daughter team Elsa Rocha and Blanca Cabrera purchased the business it the early '80's) has several locations spread throughout Miami.
The fast-casual concept serves authentic Cuban food in addition to a healthy menu, with items catering to paleo and low-sugar diets.
While the menu for the airport concept is still being finalized, expect to see a selection of bowls with rice, beans, and traditional Cuban dishes like vaca frita and pork chunks.
Some of the bowls will be part of the chains La Flaca brand, which focuses on healthier dishes with lower calories counts and nutritional information. According to Sergio's vice president Carlos Gazitua (whose mother and grandmother own the restaurants), the goal is to start with the basics like brown rice and eventually bring in more of the cafe menu with items like the signature cauliflower rice, made out of the vegetable for a more nutrient dense dish.
Another healthier upgrade are the chain's oven baked empanadas and croquettas. Available in a variety of fillings, ranging from vaca frita and ropa vieja to ricotta spinach and sweet plantain.
"A lot of these dishes that are normally at airports are fried," says Gazitua. "It gets greasy after a long period of time. We're going to offer boxes with 12 or 15 empanadas or croquettas to hold and take to your destination. Because they're oven baked, they'll hold well. It's an opportunity to showcase the product and make everyone on the plane jealous."
Other Cuban staples like fritas (basically, Cuban hamburgers), sandwiches, and coffees will also be on the menu -- a skinny coffee selection is being offered, as well.
According to Gazitua, the airport outpost is the company's first step in reaching into Broward County. The family is currently looking for other locations, but is not ready to divulge further details at the moment.
"Fort Lauderdale airport is the first way of marketing to Broward," says Gazitua. "A lot of people travel to and from Fort Lauderdale International, and it's been waiting for a Cuban concept. Our emphasis is on quality, but our philosophy is keeping it simple, fresh, and homemade, the way your grandma or mom would cook at home."
Sergio's will be located in Terminal One (where Pasha's was located) in the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport. Visit sergios.com/cafe-concept.
Follow Sara Ventiera on Twitter, @saraventiera.
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