Leave work a little early - check
Cocktails - check
Hors D'eouvres - check
Driver's License and Boarding Pass - check????
I have to admit, I was a bit skeptical when I heard that Jason, Marc and I were venturing out to JFK airport to celebrate the recent opening of Bobby Van's Grille at the American Airlines Terminal 8. If you've been to any of Bobby Van's other locations, you know the distinct look and feel, which doesn't necessarily scream...airport. But as the saying goes, nothing ventured, nothing gained.
The trip started like any other ordinary trip to the airport - traffic. Shortly after finding a parking spot, our airport experience turned into anything but ordinary. First, we were issued Priority AAccess (that's AA for American Airlines for those of you keeping track of my typos), which granted us immediate entry through security, as if we were pilots (or important). I would have been cool turning around and going home at that point, but there was still the event to attend.
Confession, I'm still amazed by how we've become the "burger guys" in a matter of weeks. When I hear people say, "You're the Burger of the Month Club", or "could someone tell Joanne the BOTM is here", I can't help but laugh. But that's exactly what happened.
We were escorted to into the rear dining area for cocktails and hors d'eouvres. There are things both typical and atypical of an airport dining establishment. Typical - televisions, departure screens, suitcases strewn all over the place. Atypical - fit-out/decor, and most importantly, quality of food. The BOTM line is, once you're in the back dining room of the Grill, you're no longer concerned about your luggage, lines or boarding times, you're just ready to take in all that Bobby Van's has to offer.
We started with some cocktails while we munched on an opening menu that included, but not limited to) stuffed mushrooms, lamb chops (perfect), tuna tartare, mac 'n' cheese, chicken fingers, sliders (of course), shrimp, steak & toast (dig that horseradish) and crab meat. Things took a funny turn when were offered menus and told us to decide which burger we'd like for our photo op (again, one of those times where I just have to laugh). Our burger options included a Cordon Bleu Burger, Pizza Burger, Swiss & Mushroom Burger, BBQ Burger, Southwestern Burger or just a regular Burger (made to your liking with all available toppings). The menu features everything to please the honeymooning couple waiting to depart, the crazed parents dragging 3 kids in tow, family to the business team looking for a pre-meeting fill-up. Seeing as how this was an "off-night" for rankings, I ordered the Cordon Bleu, Jason ordered the Southwestern, and Marc went for the traditional Burger. While I can't say that Bobby Van's Grill at JFK Grill matches up to Bobby Van's Grill on Broad Street - which is tough to do by the way considering Broad Street is ranked #5 on our list - I can say the meal was very good. My burger, like everything else I had, was cooked perfectly, accompanied by an overwhelming helping of french fries and onion rings (see pic).
Now seems like a good time to thank Bobby Van's, Owner Joseph Smith and Managing Partner Vincent Alessi of Bobby Van's; General Manager Joanne King of Westfield Concession Management and Erin Tracy and her team at Regan Communications Group. Not only have they put together a fantastic idea, but they were all so welcoming and generous in including us in this celebration. By the way, happy 40th anniversary to Bobby Van's.
We met a number of great people, enjoyed fine food and drink and got to walk through airport security in a matter of 7 seconds with no line, bags or cares. When we got there at 4pm, the tables in the front were packed, and when we left at 7pm, they were still packed. Good food is good food, whether you're in the airport, or not.