Airport food takes off: Mitchell International dining guide
Note: The contents of this guide were checked for accuracy when this article was updated on April 14, 2013 at 9:03 a.m. We continually update the thousands of articles on OnMilwaukee.com, but it's possible some details, specials and offers may have changed. As always, we recommend you call first if you have specific questions for the businesses mentioned in the guide.
Things have changed at Mitchell International Airport. Especially when it comes to food. There was a time, not all that long ago, when a hungry traveler could choose from Burger King, a spinning hot dog and Famous Amos cookies. And that was about it.
But, kids, this ain't your daddy's Mitchell Field anymore.
SSP America, which arrived at Mitchell in 2009, has helped with its concept of drawing on locally known brands – like Alterra Coffee and Bartolotta Restaurant Group – for its airport units.
"Alterra is famous in Milwaukee, and it's part of the culture. We call it 'local famous'," says SSP assistant manager Yi Bing.
"Like Bartolotta. For sure everyone living in this area knows Bartolotta. We're trying to bring something a little bit different, a little bit fancier concept for travelers. Whatever we choose, it just says 'Milwaukee.' Our way is let us bring you a locally famous brand and maybe we'll catch people's eyes."
Meanwhile, long-time airport food service operator HMS Host offers a mix of options, from national chains like Starbucks, Quizno's and Chili's to local favorite Usinger's.
"We try to season the mix with what the property management wants to see us do," says HMS Host general manager Robert Kiepert.
"In the general public there's a fair amount that want that nationally recognized brand and then in this market you see the Alterras, Usingers, Northpoint. It's changed a little bit more. You can go back 10 years ago and everybody wanted that brand – it was all brand recognition – and now it's switched back a little bit to where it's seasoning the local flair, as well. We're starting to see it all around the country."
Here is a look at what's on offer for hungry travelers at Mitchell International Airport.
Remember that most eateries are open from about an hour before the first flight out until just after the last flight departs. And don't forget that unlike in most airports, ticketed passengers have access to all concourses at Mitchell. So if you have time and want to explore the dining options in a different concourse, go right ahead.
There's still something of a food court here, but now it's home to just two eateries: Quizno's subs (open 24 hours) and Famous Famiglia pizza.
Things got more interesting with last year's arrival of Milwaukee's only year-round Northpoint Custard. While the Bradford Beach location is only open during the warmer months, you can grab a great burger, fries, shakes, custard and some other options 12 months out of the year, from the early morning until relatively late at night.
The big news is that the rather dark and dated Miller Brewhouse, which offers the only sit-down views of takeoffs and landings without passing through security, is getting a makeover this year. The plan to remodel last year was delayed.
The place has a bar and grill feel but, while the name is likely to stay the same (or at least will be similar), the decor will get an update. The menu will still likely focus on breakfast, sandwiches, salads and dinner entrees.
For coffee, there's a Starbucks right outside Concourse D and an Alterra kiosk near the entrance to Concourse E.
Concourses C and D see the most traffic these days so it's little surprise that they host the largest number of dining options.
C has gotten a boost in recent months with the arrival of Bartolotta's Pizzeria Piccola at the far end of the concourse. With a wood-oven, this Piccola is much like its elder sibling in Wauwatosa Village, offering thin crust pizza, pasta, salads and more.
Right next to it is an Auntie Anne's pretzels and opposite the pizzeria is a Chili's.
But to get to those you have to pass the largest Alterra location in the airport, which has a fairly large seating area, and French Meadow Bakery and Cafe.
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olderwiser | April 17, 2012 at 1:06 p.m. (report)
Unfortunately everything is closed when I fly in and out of Mitchell as I experienced two weeks ago departing for and returning from Cancun. Departed @ 5:15 a.m. and returned @ 9:15 p.m.
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