Travelers using John Wayne Airport will be seeing new dining options that give visitors more to choose from – and a taste of Orange County, officials say. The new eateries will include Brodard Express, TAPS Fish House and Greenleaf, all of which have locations elsewhere in the county.
The additions come after a 2017 survey found travelers using the airport were less than satisfied with its dining and retail choices, and many requested more food options. The plans to expand food and retail choices came about in 2019, but were delayed by the effects of the pandemic.
Opening the three Orange County-based restaurants are the first phase of plans for the airport, officials said.
Brodard Express will be a quick service version of Fountain Valley-based Brodard Restaurant, which serves authentic Vietnamese food. Those who aren’t craving Vietnamese cuisine can also look forward to the opening of the TAPS Fish House, a branch of the Brea-based restaurant, where they will find seafood, beer and other lunch items. The final addition in this phase will be Greenleaf, a healthier option with five locations throughout Los Angeles and Orange County.
Brodard Express is expected to open in late June or early July and TAPS and Greenleaf by the end of summer.
“When you come into the airport, we really want to provide the feel, taste and flavor of Orange County right here in the airport,” Charlene Reynolds, director of John Wayne Airport, said. “The airport for many is a gateway to the county, so we really want them to experience what the county is all about as soon as they step off the plane.”
Phase two will be to fill out the remaining 80% of available space for food, beverage and retail businesses. The airport released requests for proposals for these spots on March 28. As a total, Reynolds said the airport is looking to have 36 locations for people to choose from.
“That’s very significant for the airport because the existing contracts in place have been in effect anywhere between 12 to 14 years, so we’re way past due to upgrade and provide new offerings to our guests within the airport space,” Reynolds said.
Reynolds added that it “takes a lot of capital to build within an airport space.” Phase one is estimated to cost somewhere between $5 million and $10 million, and the second phase will cost up to $60 million.
The hope is that new food offerings will not only please passengers traveling through John Wayne Airport, but also attract people just looking for good places to eat.
“We do provide passes that allow you to come into the airport, although you don’t have a ticket,” Reynolds said, adding that the airport anticipates that new food, retail brands and pop-up shops will draw in more customers. “That is all with a goal in mind of bringing more people into the airport who aren’t necessarily traveling to experience all that the airport has to offer.”