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The San Jose restaurants leaving the airport next year

Several San Jose institutions are set to stop serving food and drinks at the city’s airport next year as part of a change in concessions.
San Jose Joe’s and The Brit — offshoots of Original Joe’s downtown and Britannia Arms, respectively — will shutter, along with nearly a dozen other restaurants, in June 2020 when their contract to operate at Mineta San Jose International Airport expires.
On Tuesday, the San Jose City Council unanimously approved a series of new agreements that will bring Olla Cocina, Jim Stump’s Taproom and Kitchen, and a mini San Pedro Square Market, along with other eateries, to the airport instead.
“Cumulatively, the new packages provide a rich blend of concepts that highlight both San Jose and the Silicon Valley and features several well-known local chefs and concepts,” the city’s aviation director, John Aitken, said in a memo.
Yet several of the outgoing restaurants, including The Brit, don’t think they were given a fair chance to stay. The airport handles food and beverages by selecting, with input from judges from a variety of U.S. airports, several concession companies that put together packages of restaurants to fill the terminals. And with the airport pursuing contracts with new concession companies instead, that’s essentially left restaurants affiliated with an outgoing concession company that chose not to apply to stay at SJC feeling stuck.
“We were left on the outside looking in,” said John Conway, an owner of Britannia Arms. “We’ve been extremely loyal to San Jose.”
Reverend David Bird of Trinity Cathedral, a Brit supporter, said the pub has donated thousands of turkeys at Thanksgiving and toys to children in San Jose over the years.
“I’m not pleading against what you’re going to do,” Bird said, “but I’m pleading for a business which has shown enormous commitment to the poor and disadvantaged of the community.”
Mayor Sam Liccardo acknowledged the frustration and said he did not enjoy being put in a position of choosing some local restaurants over others.
“No one likes to see great local restaurants like Original Joe’s or The Brit be pushed out and it’s fair to say I’ve spent more than a few hours in each of those institutions,” Liccardo said. “But the question for me was is there a fair process and was the process competitive, and from what I can tell, everyone of the seven independent judges scored the set of proposals that included many local restaurants higher than the other package, and I think it’s also important to keep in mind that there are local restaurants in both proposals and there are many residents eager to see concepts from David Kinch [of Manresa], Jim Stump [of The Table] and others in the airport, as well.”
In response to a question from Liccardo about why SSP America, the primary new concession provider, had gone with new restaurants instead of working with existing ones, a company representative said passengers want new, sophisticated options.
“If we were to come in with those same brands,” said SSP’s Paul Loupakos, “we wouldn’t be providing anything new.”
Vice Mayor Chappie Jones agreed with that idea.
“We want to have an airport that’s looking forward to the future,” Jones said.
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Councilman Johnny Khamis noted that former San Jose Mayor Tom McEnery has ties to some restaurants — including San Pedro Square Market — slated to come to the airport, but Aitken said the judging process was fair and involved people for whom the former politician’s name means little.
“They were really able to judge based on the raw proposal,” Aitken said. “We did that on purpose.”
The contracts with the new concession companies are set to run through at least 2035, with a possible extension to 2040.
And not all of the airport’s restaurants are involved in the changes. Some, such as Starbucks, will continue to operate. As part of another contract, several other restaurants — including a Chick fil A slated to be the “gayest” in the country — are scheduled to open soon.

Outgoing Establishments: 
Terminal A
– Einstein Bagels
– Sip Savvy
– Red Mango
– Tres Gringos
– Peet’s Coffee
– First Class Deli
Terminal B
– Pizza My Heart
– Menchie’s Frozen Yogurt
– La Boulanger
– The Brit
– San Jose Joes
– Jamba Juice
– Flames
– Peet’s Coffee will be operated by a different company, but will be rebuilt as a Peet’s
Incoming Establishments: 
Terminal A
– Olla Cocina
– California Market by David Kinch
Terminal B
– San Pedro Square Market (Konjoe Burger, Straits Hawker Street Singaporean Kitchen and Vietnamese Eatery, District, Earthbar, Market Beer Co.)
– The Farmers Union
– Peet’s Coffee will be operated by a different company, but will be rebuilt as a Peet’s
– Jim Stump’s Taproom and Kitchen
– Dish n Dash
– San Jose Mac + Cheese Kitchen

 

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