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Taking Flight at Vino Volo

Map data ©2012 Google. Inset image property of Chute Gerdeman.

My fiancé and I planned a trip to Montana for our Memorial Day weekend. Not for sight-seeing, but for a family wedding. The town in which the wedding was held has a population of fewer than 600 people. Needless to say, I was not expecting to come away with any sort of blog-able experience from this trip. I should know by now, never say never because I was wrong! During a layover at Salt Lake City International Airport, we happened upon Vino Volo, a wine bar and ale house. With over two hours to kill, we rolled our luggage to a cozy table in this welcome respite in the middle of typical travel chaos.

Literally translated (thank you, Google), Vino Volo means “Wine Flight.” A breath of fresh air, it was an appreciated find during the usual (and sometimes brutal) hunt for airport food. High top tables and a casual bar in the front made it easy for travelers to stop for a bite without committing a lot of time, while more intimate seating with a lower light level in the back made it a comfortable place to relax and stay awhile. The materials were warm and inviting, but with just the right touch of sleek and modern. The aged barrels at the entrance added a touch of authenticity, as did the wine crate-inspired clipboard menu.

Image property of Chute Gerdeman

Image property of Chute Gerdeman

Image property of Chute Gerdeman

Image property of Chute Gerdeman

Image property of Chute Gerdeman

Being a wine bar and ale house, there were many “flight” options on the menu. Each wine flight came with a clever tray, housing an easily changeable graphic describing each wine. Having indulged in a sauvignon blanc I rather enjoyed, I was grateful for that little paper slip, as each coaster-sized section is perforated so you can take your favorite wine information with you. And the food? Well that was pretty good too. Below is the pork taco my fiancé ordered. Not bad for an airport joint!

Image property of Chute Gerdeman

Image property of Chute Gerdeman

Image property of Chute Gerdeman

Everyone knows it’s hard to eat well when traveling. Airport options can be slim, and just because a restaurant may look “nice” doesn’t mean the quality is very high. Thankfully, the landscape of airport retail is changing, with many businesses investing in well-designed restaurants and shops that deliver higher quality offers.

Celebrity chef Cat Cora is contributing to this growing trend with her Cat Cora Kitchen and Gourmet Market locations (one of which just happened to be across the way from Vino Volo). “We serve some higher end comfort food but the foundation is it’s healthy and local, and organic as much as possible. That’s what traveling diners deserve,” says Cora.

Image property of Chute Gerdeman

Cora’s market gives you the experience of an upscale grocery rather than a convenient grab-and-go spot. Inside, an elevated take out menu and displays featuring her namesake cooking products deliver on the gourmet promise. Accents of fresh items like lemons add playful pops of color and nod to Cora’s use of quality ingredients.

Image property of Chute Gerdeman

Image property of Chute Gerdeman

Things are looking up in the airport restaurant industry! Even though I only travel a moderate amount, I’m excited for these changes and find myself wanting to travel just to experience the new airport eats! Is that crazy? Maybe. But I’m guessing I’m not the only one.

To read more about Cat Cora’s restaurant development, click here. For an excellent article from MSNBC discussing the best of airport restaurants, click here.

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