Now open across from Rock & Brews ("serving those who rock!") in Terminal 5 of Los Angeles International Airport is the air-travelers satellite of the 80-year-old Original Farmers Market ("meet me at Third and Fairfax!"), dubbed Farmers Market at LAX.
On Thursday the airport version of the Original Farmers Market, which includes outposts of Loteria Grill and Monsieur Marcel gourmet market, celebrated its grand opening as part of the airport's sweeping restaurant revamp. (In the same terminal is a Ford's Filling Station and Skewers by Morimoto.)
A bas-relief replica of the Farmers Market clock tower stands at the entrance of what looks like a food court that also includes T&Y Bakery, the Coffee Corner, refrigerated shelves for "Farmers Market To Go" items and Bennett's Ice Cream, and kiosks for Magee's House of Nuts, Dragunara Spice Bazaar, the Dog Bakery and the Magic Nut & Candy Co.
Of the more than 100 restaurants and vendors at the historic Fairfax district marketplace, nine were selected by food service operator Delaware North Cos. "It was a matter of taking what sells best at the Farmers Market and figuring out how that would best work in an airport," said Delaware North Cos. concepts director Cindy Martin. "Will people buy Magee's nuts to snack on the plane? Absolutely."
Martin said that the Terminal 5 Farmers Market is meant to serve both departing and arriving travelers. Travelers on their way in or out of L.A. might want to pick up gifts or even gourmet items such as Parma ham, Taleggio cheese or sea-salt caramel topping from Monsieur Marcel, for example.
Delaware North Cos. also helped the Farmers Market develop branded to-go packaged foods such as salads, fruit plates and desserts.
"It's so cool to see people come in here and be surprised and delighted," said Jimmy Shaw, owner of Loteria Grill, which has been open for the past few weeks. Shaw says his most popular item has been the chicken enchiladas with roasted tomatillo sauce. The menu is a condensed version of the original at the Farmers Market. "It's the same dishes, same quality. Delaware North has been very respectful of not dumbing anything down."
Rocky Keever, owner of the Dog Bakery, stood with Phyliss Magee, owner of Magee's House of Nuts, whose mother-in-law opened the Farmers Market's first restaurant in 1934. Keever pointed out that Magee's peanut butter is used in some of his dog treats. "This is great," Keever said. "If you forget to bring something home for Fido from your trip, you can pick something up here."