Yeager Airport now has an eatery beyond the security checkpoint. The Kanawha Cafe officially opened for business Wednesday morning.
Airport General Manager Rick Atkinson says they’ve been working on the project for more than three years. The Kanawha Cafe is part of Better Foods, Inc. owned by former state Senator Oshel Craigo.
Before the new restaurant opened, the only food option at the airport was a Tudor’s Biscuit World, also owned by Craigo, that is outside the security area.
“When people got through [security] and they’re relaxing, they see through the window ‘Oh, there’s food there but I can’t get to it unless I go back out.’ And very few people are going to do that,” explained Atkinson.
That’s why the Yeager Airport Authority was adamant about providing an eatery inside the checkpoint.
“It gives people an amenity they want. People want food and beverage past security,” Atkinson said.
The Kanawha Cafe offers coffee, soft drinks, beer and liquor along with sandwiches and snacks. The key, according to Atkinson, was finding room for the restaurant.
“We maximized the available space and gave it a design that captures West Virginia but also makes a modern statement.”
The cafe sits next to the existing gift shop and offers two counter spaces to sit down and relax while you’re eating or having a drink. Atkinson says it was important for the Board to bring in a local vendor who they could deal with one on one and Craigo offered up the best option.
“We can talk about issues and [Better Foods] can make changes quickly to address changing needs, changing ideas and they’re a true partner with us,” Atkinson said.
Better Foods pays the authority a percentage of its profits.
“That’s important to our bottom line that this be successful because it helps us keep prices down,” according to Atkinson.
He says as they get more feedback on the cafe, they could make some changes that better suit traveler’s needs.