Fort Lauderdale International Airport just added two more exciting new dining options, greatly enhancing the airport’s food & beverage experience at Terminal 1.
HMSHost and its partner MasterConcessionAir last week opened Dale Jr’s Whisky River, owned by Nascar legend Dale Earnhardt Jr, and famed local favorite Rocco’s Tacos and Tequila Bar.
Travel Markets Insider was on-hand at FLL for the ribbon-cutting ceremonies of the two restaurants, also attended by Rocco’s Tacos founder Rocco Mangel, Dale Earnhardt Jr, as well as Broward County Mayor Dale Holness, along with HMSHost and FLL executives.
“HMSHost leads the industry in bringing the most dynamic restaurants into airport and Whisky River and Rocco’s Tacos and Tequila Bar both embody the highest of standards, from the food to the overall experience,” said HMSHost President and CEO Steve Johnson.
“We are proud to celebrate these openings with our partners and thank the Broward County Aviation Department for the opportunity to bring these unique offerings to South Florida.”
“These latest offerings demonstrate the commitment by HMSHost to bring first-class offerings to Broward County’s Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport,” said Mark Gale, CEO/Director of Aviation. “These restaurants are the continuation of many more offerings yet to come from our concession partners to enhance the guest experience.”
Whisky River, which traces its roots to Earnhardt’s hometown of Charlotte, North Carolina, is famous for a signature honky-tonk hangout vibe and a high-quality but casual menu. The FLL restaurant features live music, and is the third Whisky River airport location, following Charlotte Douglas International Airport and Raleigh–Durham International Airport.
“We’re thrilled to join the great hospitality scene in Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International, planting a Whisky River flag in Florida with our great partners at HMSHost,” said Earnhardt Jr.
FLL is the first airport location for Rocco’s Tacos and Tequila Bar, a Mexican restaurant known throughout Florida. Rocco’s menu features signature dishes and authentic street style tacos, as well as more than 70 tequilas from Mexico. The Molcajetes (MOKA-HET-TAY) that are served sizzling in a traditional lava rock are a signature of the brand.
“Our partnership with HMSHost in the Fort Lauderdale International Airport represents a milestone in our brand’s growth. This venture is and will continue to be a thrilling chapter in our story,” said Rocco Mangel.
HMSHost President and CEO Steve Johnson told TMI at the restaurant openings that Whisky River and Rocco’s Tacos perfectly exemplify how HMSHost is “revolutionizing” airport dining. The company also recently opened Flash Fire and Shake Shack in FLL Terminal 2.
“It’s been a long time coming. To finally bring these authentic experiences to the passengers in Fort Lauderdale is what we promised the airport four years ago. And now we are finally fulfilling that promise,” he told TMI.
“These restaurants are not what you expect to see in an airport. We try to be that oasis for the passenger. We want to surprise them. When they come into an airport they go ‘I didn’t expect to see this.’ We have live music. How often do you have live music in an airport?
“I think we are revolutionizing by creating places like this: authentic experiences with real food. Nothing here is frozen. It’s a change. Airport dining doesn’t have the greatest rap, but we are trying to change that. These are really good dining experiences.”