Airport concessions operators HMSHost and Master ConcessionAir have partnered on two newly opened restaurants at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport (FLL): Dale Jr’s Whisky River and Florida favorite Rocco’s Tacos and Tequila Bar.
At a grand opening event this week, both Dale Earnhardt, Jr. and Rocco Mangel were present to welcome their eponymous restaurant concepts to FLL’s Terminal 1, located in the B and C concourses, respectively. This opening marks the third Whisky River airport location and the first-ever airport location for Rocco’s Tacos. During a speech ahead of the ribbon cutting, Mangel proudly recounted standing in the unfinished space of his restaurant months prior, listening to airport guests passing by, expressing excitement to their groups that a Rocco’s Tacos would be opening soon.
“Our partnership with HMSHost in the Fort Lauderdale International Airport represents a milestone in our brand’s growth,” Mangel added. “This venture is and will continue to be a thrilling chapter in our story.”
At the reception after the ceremony, HMSHost CEO and president Steve Johnson told AXN, “Rocco’s is a local favorite. HMSHost’s goal these days is to really bring more of the local community into the airport, and bringing Rocco’s in, to me, is a no-brainer. It’s one of the favorite restaurants here in Fort Lauderdale.” He added, “As far as Whisky River, Fort Lauderdale is the Spring Break capital of the world, Daytona 500 right up the road…we have two other restaurants – one in Raleigh and one in Charlotte – and they do amazing, customers love it. We suggested it to the airport, and they were thrilled.”
Whisky River’s signature honky-tonk hangout atmosphere is present in every element of the new FLL location. Edison-style bulbs in all the light fixtures, wooded tables and chairs, and a belt buckle wall surround a central bar. Rocco’s Taco’s plans to impress travelers with the same dynamic menu it offers in its street locations, including tableside guacamole and Rocco’s offering of more than 70 different tequilas.
“Finding a brand like Whisky River and being able to partner with Dale Earnhardt, Jr. just makes sense,” said William Alberni, COO of Master ConcessionAir, at the event. “And Rocco’s Tacos has been so successful in the local community is a great feature for the airport. It’s constant work with the brands [that make these ventures successful.]”