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Yeager offers food and drink beyond the security gate

CHARLESTON, W.Va.-- It's now possible to sit down and eat a hot sandwich and drink a cold beer after clearing the security checkpoint at Charleston's Yeager Airport.

Kanawha Cafe officially opened on Wednesday following a soft opening in early January. The new secure area eatery -- operated by Better Foods Inc., which also operates the Tudor's/Gino's restaurant franchise in the main passenger terminal -- features seating for more than 20 passengers along wood-grain bars and countertops with access to power outlets for laptops and smart phone chargers.

The sleek, airy cafe was designed by Mason Proudfoot, architect for Bascon Inc., which also designed the recently completed makeover of the Executive Air terminal, Yeager's general aviation passenger facility. Williams Cabinet of South Charleston was the contractor for the new cafe.

"A tremendous amenity has been added to Yeager Airport," said Rick Atkinson, the Charleston airport's executive director. "It's something the traveling public has been asking about for years, and now it's a service people will really enjoy for many years to come."

Former state senator Oshel Craigo, CEO of Better Foods, thanked Yeager Airport's staff and governing board "for their patience in working on this thing for three years. I also want to thank them for letting a local business run the airport's food service operations. Most airports across the country choose to have them run by big national companies. These guys let us participate, and we appreciate that."

In addition to offering a variety of cold salads and deli sandwiches, Kanawha Cafe features an assortment of grilled paninis, hot breakfast sandwiches and grab-and-go items ranging from yogurt and falafel to fresh fruit and pastries. Sandwiches range from $4.99 to $7.99.

Real cappuccino and lattes are available, along with wine and five varieties of beer on tap, including Long Point Lager from the Bridge Brew Works in Fayetteville.

A display of Blenko glassware occupies a shelf along the back bar.

"We'll be rotating our food choices seasonally," said Better Foods Vice President Greg Atkinson. "Our customer feedback so far has been very positive."

At a ceremony celebrating the opening of Kanawha Cafe, Kanawha County Commission President Kent Carper praised Craigo, as well as Yeager's governing board, for making the new restaurant a reality.

"It was Oshel Craigo's personal investment that made this possible," Carper said.

Reach Rick Steelhammer at rsteelhammer@wvgazette.com or 304-348-5169.


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