Sports fans (and frequent flyer’s of Southwest Airlines) rejoice! The highly anticipated Anaheim Ducks Bar & Grill is now open at John Wayne Airport. Finally, a space full of flat screen TVs, adorned with Ducks’ hockey memorabilia, pucks and helmets where you can feel right at home. Don’t expect Stanley Cup champion and All Star right winger Corey Perry (above) to serve your appetizers, but there’s much to please your palate and your need for adrenaline sports while waiting for that final boarding call.
Located post security in the newly-opened Terminal C (servicing Southwest and Frontier Airlines) near Gate 18, the Anaheim Ducks Breakaway Bar & Grill is a joint effort between HMSHost, a world leader in travel dining and shopping, and the Anaheim Ducks. The restaurant pays homage to first hockey team to bring the Stanley Cup – hockey’s ultimate prize – to southern California and is the first restaurant at John Wayne Airport with a runway view. Ducks owner Susan Samueli was joined by 2007 Stanley Cup champions Corey Perry and Scott Niedermayer as well as airport, HMSHost, and Anaheim Ducks VIPs for the ribbon cutting,
Speeches were followed by tray passed small tastes and samples from the non-alcoholic drink selection. We quenched our thirst with the Ginger Swizzle, a refreshing blend of ginger ale, mint, and lime. Other beverage choices available at the Breakaway Bar & Grill include draft and bottled beer, wines by the glass, and hand crafted signature cocktails. The “Punch in the Nose” (Stoli, Pama, red berries, and Red Bull) could be the caffeine boost you’re seeking before an early morning departure, rather than standing in line for coffee at Starbucks or McDonald’s.
While only limited items were available for tasting at the grand opening, the menu offers travelers a broad selection of choices, from spicy wings appetizers or a charcuterie plate, to a selection of four flatbread pizzas and three salads. Personally, I’m super excited about having alternatives to my standard airport Egg McMuffin breakfast and looking forward to savoring a short stack of Blueberry Buttermilk Pancakes or Chilaquiles from their breakfast menu and hubby can stay healthy with the Steel Cut Oatmeal topped with toasted almonds and dried cranberries!
The Charcuterie taste was just that: tiny bites of Serrano ham, speck, salami, brightened with pickled onion, a rosemary olive, dot of fig jam with toasted raisin pecan bread was de rigueur and didn’t distinguish itself from other meat plates but would pair well with an icy cold Stella Artois on tap. Also from the appetizer menu, the Shrimp Tacos: soft corn tortillas filled with plump, perfectly-cooked shrimp with pasilla chiles, caramelized onion, cilantro, queso fresco, and avocado crema, offered an abundance of flavors and a healthy choice for travelers.
The Stacked Ribeye Sandwich was served as a slider (with and without cheese) during the grand opening festivities. Having all the necessary components of a robust steak sandwich: slices of tender choice ribeye with pink centers, melted Tillamook cheddar, crispy onion strings, and applewood smoked bacon with a smattering of BBQ sauce was further enhanced by a buttery brioche bun, grilled for a pleasing crispiness – no soggy buns here.
Serving breakfast (until 10:30 a.m.), lunch, and dinner, the restaurant has thoughtfully included a kids’ menu and specialty non-alcoholic drinks besides soda to attract sports fans and families looking for a comfortable place to watch the game and enjoy a great meal while waiting for your flight. Next time you’re at John Wayne, make a break for it and check out the action on and off the runway. Yes, those are real hockey pucks and the decorated helmets are for sale with proceeds going to charity.