BUFFALO, N.Y. (Feb. 18, 2008) – Delaware North Companies Travel Hospitality Services, one of the world’s leading airport food and retail providers, has opened two new locations of the famous Tootsies Orchid Lounge at Nashville International Airport.
The bar and restaurant locations in the airport are an offshoot of the famous Nashville honky tonk where countless entertainers and soon-to-be stars once swapped songs and enjoyed a cold drink.
Delaware North opened the two new Tootsies locations in late January, making these the only other locations of this iconic tourist and entertainment destination. Travelers visiting the airport can now enjoy food and drink or partake in live entertainment featured at the Tootsies location in terminal C of the airport. Individuals awaiting arrivals can wait it out at a smaller Tootsies location conveniently placed in the pre-security area.
Guests visiting the new Tootsies will be especially interested in the eclectic “Wall of Fame” that uses a Southern honky-tonk setting to display photos and treasured memorabilia from beloved Nashville stars who’ve visited the original location on Broadway street in downtown Nashville, said Nick Biello, chief operating officer of Delaware North Companies Travel Hospitality Services.
“We plan on adding to this wall with our own famous visitors to the new locations,” said Biello.
Tootsies offers weary travelers a warm Southern welcome and an entertainment experience to last a lifetime. Live musical entertainment is regularly featured on the Tootsies stage.
“The selection of Tootsies for the Nashville airport was an easy one,” Biello said. “We understand Tootsies is a local icon that is known throughout the world and their presence in the airport will surely provide travelers with a true Nashville sense of place.”
Tootsies Orchid Lounge is one of several concepts opening as part of the airport's $44 million renovation project that began in the fall of 2006.
The addition of Tootsies is part of the first wave of concept changes that Delaware North is bringing to the airport to create a dynamic mix of local and national brands and offer a broad palette of flavors, cuisines and menu choices popular with Nashville visitors.
“Our mix of concepts at the Nashville airport is intended to provide customers with a one-of-a kind experience, reflective of the Nashville community,” Biello said.
Delaware North opened two other local Nashville favorites at the airport in January - Swett’s and Whitt’s Barbecue.
Swett’s, founded in 1954 by Walter and Susie Swett, has been a Nashville staple for over half-a-century. The hometown restaurant won “Best Meat ‘n Three” in Best of Citysearch 2005 and has won or been nominated for several Citysearch categories in the past six years. Swett’s features good ol’ Southern cooking and helps continue the Delaware North tradition of offering travelers the best in local and regional food within the confines of the airport, Biello said.
Whitts Barbecue has also undergone changes and now fills a renovated space in the airport. A Nashville establishment known for preparing its barbecue “slow-cooked” the old-fashioned way, Whitts atmosphere is reflected in its famous motto: “We aren’t fancy - just plain good.” The fact the restaurant has been voted “Best of Nashville” in the prestigious Nashville Scene every year since the contest began in 1988 is proof that Whitt’s lives up to its reputation as the best barbecue in the city.
Last year, Delaware North opened O’Charley’s, a casual dining restaurant well-known in the Southeast and Midwest and also headquartered in Nashville. Jeff Warne, O’Charley’s concept president, said this is the company’s only airport location and it has been well received.
“When our newest franchisee, Delaware North, opened an O'Charley's restaurant in the Nashville International Airport in July 2007, we knew their proven track record as an airport food service company and our signature menu items were a winning combination. Refreshingly different from other airport restaurants, O'Charley's is light, airy and gives guests a view of the airport runways. The unique additions to the menu, including ‘Grab & Go’ and continental breakfast, are welcomed by travelers familiar with the O'Charley's concept and have taken off with first-time guests too. We’re miles ahead of schedule on sales and guest satisfaction,” said Warne.
Delaware North is bringing several other national and local concepts to the airport as renovations continue. In the coming months travelers can look forward to seeing Manchu Wok, a nationally branded Chinese cuisine concept in a quick-serve environment; Villa Pizza, authentic old world Italian recipes in a fresh Italian kitchen setting; and Wendy’s, a well-known national brand famous for its high quality and broad selection of menu items, and especially for its famous hearty burgers.
This summer, Delaware North will open an airport location of the Loveless Café, a well-known, historic Nashville café offering an authentic Southern dining experience. The Loveless story has been told the world over, from the Gourmet magazine and Bon Appetit to the Food Channel, U.S. News and World Report, CBS television and People magazine, which called Loveless’ country ham the “best in America.” The historic café also has been featured multiple times in the Best of Citysearch, Nashville. With an extensive menu and charming ambiance, Loveless Café will treat visitors of the airport to true Southern dining and hospitality at its best.
The authority expects the recent changes being made to the airport will help total food service offerings bring in more than $26.2 million a year, up from the $16.1 million annual gross.