Escape Lounge opening at GSP chooses Rick Erwin Dining Group to design menu

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Seared tuna with a ponzu sauce and seaweed salad is one dinner option being considered for the new GSP Escape Lounge menu designed Rick Erwin Dining Group. Photo by Spencer Stanton.

An Escape Lounge will open in the Greenville-Spartanburg Airport this October with Rick Erwin Dining Group designing the menu.

Not to be confused with the Escape Room entertainment concept, Escape Lounges are premium, common-use airport lounges open to all guests. The popular concept was brought from the United Kingdom to the United States by MAG USA, which will be investing more than $1 million in the 2,500-square-foot space at GSP.

“The Escape Lounge is a great fit for GSP because of the high number of business travelers that utilize the airport, and this is one of the most-requested services that we don’t offer today,” said Scott Carr, Greenville-Spartanburg Airport District’s vice president-commercial business and communications. “We’re looking forward to opening the lounge on Oct. 22, and we know that it will be widely received by the traveling public based on the quality that Escape Lounges are known for around the country.”

The goal of Escape Lounges is to return the airport experience to the more pleasant one it used to be 20-plus years ago.

Guests entering the lounge pay a flat $45 fee at the door to receive unlimited amenities that include hot and cold food and a full bar; a variety of comfortable seating options with plenty of power outlets; high-speed, consistent Wi-Fi; local and national newspapers; and up-to-the-second flight information.

Rick Erwin’s corporate chef Jason McCarthy (right) presents a tasting of breakfast options for the GSP Escape Lounge to members of the MAG USA team. Photo by Spencer Stanton

With a focus on local, each Escape Lounge’s design includes local art, and the food offerings are developed by a local chef, using locally sourced ingredients wherever possible to create full dishes, rather than offering a simple plate of cubed cheese and cut fruit, as many airline lounges do.

The GSP Escape Lounge menu is in development by Rick Erwin’s corporate chef Jason McCarthy and will include pastries, a breakfast casserole, biscuits, and grits for the early morning travelers. Lunch and dinner options will include pimento cheese sandwiches, she-crab soup, fresh salads using Clemson blue cheese and local peaches, mac ‘n’ cheese, shrimp and grits, barbecue sliders, salmon, and tuna.

The idea was to create a menu representative of Greenville, one with which locals and travelers alike would feel comfortable.

“We are thrilled to be a part of the continued expansion in passenger amenities at Greenville-Spartanburg International Airport,” said Rosemarie Andolino, president and CEO of MAG USA. “Our Escape Lounge will deliver the flavors of the local community which has firmly placed itself on the map as a foodie destination.”

Other U.S. Escape Lounge locations currently include Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport (MSP), Oakland International Airport (OAK), Bradley International Airport (BDL), and Reno-Tahoe International Airport (RNO). Several more are in the planning stages.

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