Midway's Focus on Local Food Offerings Gets Mixed Reviews

The airport's modernization plan is primarily focused on bringing more local offerings to travelers

The restaurant offerings at Chicago’s Midway Airport are undergoing a dramatic change, but as new eateries open their doors, some travelers are wondering why well-known brands like McDonald’s and Starbucks aren’t part of the mix.

The restaurant rollover is part of a huge modernization project at the airport. That project includes $75 million in funds for new food concessions.

“When the program is finished, more than 70 new concessions will be in place, and the number of concessions jobs at Midway will have doubled to more than 1,400,” Chicago Department of Aviation spokesman Matt McGrath said in a statement.

This week, Harry Caray’s and Home Run Inn Pizza both cut the ribbon on their new locations at the airport, but some travelers are curious about the lack of more typical fare.

“For the kids and grandkids coming through this airport, I think it’s a good idea (to have a McDonald’s),” one traveler said.

“It’s strange to me that they took away McDonald’s, but they went ahead and did it,” another said.

Some restaurant chains still have a presence in the airport, including a Dunkin Donuts location in baggage claim, but for those who have gone through the TSA security checkpoint, the focus at Midway is on local offerings.

“(Our offerings) are drawn from iconic local institutions and national brands,” McGrath said.

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