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Orlando International Airport has new dining options coming

May 29, 2022
5 min read
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Orlando International Airport’s (MCO) Terminal A and B dining options are so abysmal, it’s a joke amongst the locals. Privately, we’re dying of embarrassment.

In 2021, MCO was the seventh busiest airport in the world according to Airport Council International’s list of most-traveled airports, with more than 40 million air passengers passing through last year. The best we can do is: On the Border Cantina and Nathan’s Hot Dogs?

Fortunately, that’s about to change when the new Terminal C opens on Sept. 19.

Terminal C won’t just be one of the most eco-friendly and technologically advanced airport wings in the country, it’ll also showcase some of Orlando’s most popular chefs, restaurateurs and culinary artisans in five full- and quick-service concepts.

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Sunshine Diner by Chef Art Smith

(Photo courtesy of MCO)

Florida native Art Smith, who worked as Oprah Winfrey’s personal chef, is opening his sixth concept inside Terminal C, and it’ll be a 24-hour Southern comfort food paradise. Smith already has a successful restaurant at Disney Springs called Homecomin’ Kitchen which features a menu built around the dishes his mother and aunts made during his childhood years in the Florida Panhandle.

Related: How to Get Disney Benefits at Bargain Prices at Disney Springs Hotels

“People associate my name with comfort and [at Sunshine Diner] we'll have lots of comforting foods that are perfect for when you’re traveling and away from home," Smith said. "Things like biscuits and gravy, omelets, amazing pies and more.”

Smith said he saw an opportunity at MCO when the Greater Orlando Aviation Authority approached him about opening a restaurant in the new terminal. “I recently flew out of Orlando, and half of my fellow passengers were lined up at Burger King," he said. "We can do better."

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Provisions by Cask & Larder

(Photo courtesy of MCO)

James and Julie Petrakis have already made their mark on MCO’s Terminal B with the opening of Cask & Larder in 2016. Their other restaurant concepts, The Polite Pig at Disney Springs and original gastropub The Ravenous Pig in Central Florida, are decorated and beloved culinary institutions in their respective areas.

Their Terminal C concept, Provisions by Cask & Larder, will be a grab-and-go market with a few made-to-order items, an area with gourmet gifts to take back home, and an adjoining C&L Public House with modern Southern cuisine and a bar. The bar will feature seasonal cocktails as well as the Ravenous Pig Brewing Company’s award-winning beer.

Related: Florida’s new high-speed train makes 1st test run to Orlando airport

The husband-and-wife team of restaurateurs are also James Beard Award nominees. They have built a name around scratch kitchens showcasing Florida’s bounty of seafood, produce and top-quality meats. Plus, they work with local growers and culinary artisans.

“Since opening our first [Cask & Larder] location in 2016, we’ve seen travelers from all over the world embrace our love of great food and drink, plus a healthy dose of southern hospitality,” Julie Petrakis said.

Olde Hearth Bread Co.

Not much is known about this addition to Terminal C’s dining lineup, but Olde Hearth Bread Co. is Orlando’s original artisan bakery. The restaurant serves natural, fresh-baked breads and rustic breakfast pastries; it also helps fill the bread baskets of Orlando’s best restaurants. Recently, the team at Olde Hearth closed their local spot at East End Market, a local food hall, to focus on the Terminal C project and their wholesale clients.

Related: Startup airline Avelo opens new base in Orlando, adds more routes on 1st anniversary

At the new quick-service restaurant, travelers can expect a selection of sandwiches and other snacks, as well as pastries and coffee for breakfast service.

Wine Bar George

George Miliotes is one of only 269 Master Sommeliers in the world, and he’s also an Orlando native. His Disney Springs restaurant, Wine Bar George — the only wine bar in Florida led by a Master Sommelier — will open an outpost in Terminal C. This means you’ll get to taste some of the world’s best wines before you take off.

The restaurant will be located on Level 2, Palm Court, of the new south-side terminal. With just over 1,000 square feet to play with, Wine Bar George will have room for diners to sit at a bar or at a table; there, they can enjoy a glass of wine paired with cheese and charcuterie, or one of the small plates. We hope the menu includes the fried mac ‘n cheese croquettes that sell like gangbusters at the Disney Springs location.

Orlando Brewing Bar & Bites

The city is crawling with craft breweries now, but back in 2004, Orlando Brewing was the only one. Now, with more than 30 original beers in the tap room, this Orlando staple will open a bar and small-plates restaurant in Terminal C.

Related: No more $27 beer; Authorities crack down on out-of-control prices at NYC airports

Details are scarce, but it’s likely travelers can enjoy one of Orlando Brewing’s “darn good beers” on tap, including original favorites like the I-4 IPA, Orlando Weiss, O-Town Brown Ale, and the easy-drinking Chocolate Mint Girl Stout brewed with cacao nibs and dried peppermint.

Featured image by (Photo courtesy of MCO)
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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Best for the well-traveled foodie
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
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Why We Chose It

There's a lot to love about the Amex Gold card. It's been a fan favorite during the pandemic because of its fantastic rewards rate on restaurants (that includes takeout and delivery in the U.S.!) and U.S. supermarkets. If you're hitting the skies soon, you'll also earn bonus points on travel. Paired with up to $120 in Uber Cash (for U.S. Uber rides or Uber Eats orders) and up to $120 in annual dining statement credits at eligible partners, there's no reason that the foodie shouldn't add this card to their wallet. Enrollment required.

Pros

  • 4x on dining at restaurants and U.S. supermarkets (on the first $25,000 in purchases per calendar year; then 1x)
  • 3x on flights booked directly with the airline or with Amex Travel
  • Welcome bonus of 60,000 points after spending $4,000 in the first six months

Cons

  • Weak on travel outside of flights and everyday spending bonus categories
  • Not as useful for those living outside the U.S.
  • Some may have trouble using Uber/food credits
  • Few travel perks and protections
  • Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.
  • Earn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S., and earn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
  • Earn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
  • $120 Uber Cash on Gold: Add your Gold Card to your Uber account and each month automatically get $10 in Uber Cash for Uber Eats orders or Uber rides in the U.S., totaling up to $120 per year.
  • $120 Dining Credit: Satisfy your cravings and earn up to $10 in statement credits monthly when you pay with the American Express® Gold Card at Grubhub, The Cheesecake Factory, Goldbelly, Wine.com, Milk Bar and select Shake Shack locations. Enrollment required.
  • Choose the color that suits your style. Gold or Rose Gold.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • Annual Fee is $250.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Apply for American Express® Gold Card
at American Express's secure site
Terms & restrictions apply. See rates & fees
Best for the well-traveled foodie
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards Rate

4XEarn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S.
4XEarn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
3XEarn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
  • Intro Offer
    Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.

    60,000 bonus points
  • Annual Fee

    $250
  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    670-850
    Excellent/Good

Why We Chose It

There's a lot to love about the Amex Gold card. It's been a fan favorite during the pandemic because of its fantastic rewards rate on restaurants (that includes takeout and delivery in the U.S.!) and U.S. supermarkets. If you're hitting the skies soon, you'll also earn bonus points on travel. Paired with up to $120 in Uber Cash (for U.S. Uber rides or Uber Eats orders) and up to $120 in annual dining statement credits at eligible partners, there's no reason that the foodie shouldn't add this card to their wallet. Enrollment required.

Pros

  • 4x on dining at restaurants and U.S. supermarkets (on the first $25,000 in purchases per calendar year; then 1x)
  • 3x on flights booked directly with the airline or with Amex Travel
  • Welcome bonus of 60,000 points after spending $4,000 in the first six months

Cons

  • Weak on travel outside of flights and everyday spending bonus categories
  • Not as useful for those living outside the U.S.
  • Some may have trouble using Uber/food credits
  • Few travel perks and protections
  • Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.
  • Earn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S., and earn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
  • Earn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
  • $120 Uber Cash on Gold: Add your Gold Card to your Uber account and each month automatically get $10 in Uber Cash for Uber Eats orders or Uber rides in the U.S., totaling up to $120 per year.
  • $120 Dining Credit: Satisfy your cravings and earn up to $10 in statement credits monthly when you pay with the American Express® Gold Card at Grubhub, The Cheesecake Factory, Goldbelly, Wine.com, Milk Bar and select Shake Shack locations. Enrollment required.
  • Choose the color that suits your style. Gold or Rose Gold.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • Annual Fee is $250.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees