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Lake Erie Pub opens at Buffalo airport Tavern is accessible to fliers and nonfliers

The trip to the Buffalo Niagara International Airport to drop off or pick up fliers can now include a burger or a cold beer.

Buffalo's Delaware North Cos., which operates the airport's concessions services, has opened the Lake Erie Pub, the only spot to grab a drink or something to eat on the nonsecure side of the federal security checkpoint.

"The pub is an ideal, one-stop pre-security concept designed as a haven for people awaiting the return of traveling guests," said Delaware North spokesman Glen White.

Nontravelers have had slim pickings for food and beverages for the past several months as the airport terminal has gone through a series of renovations that will include a new $7.2 million Transportation Security Administration checkpoint and a new $7.6 million post-security food court.

The physical reconfigurations at the terminal led to the closing of Burger King and Niagara Grill last year, both of which offered food service to those dropping off or waiting for travelers.

Delaware North has attempted to fill that void with a limited assortment of cold sandwiches, bottled water, soda and fruit sold from a small kiosk in the airport's ticketing hall.

Nonfliers have not been able to get an alcoholic beverages at the airport since the September 2001 attacks, after which only ticketed passengers have been allowed beyond the security checkpoint to access its line-up of bars and restaurants.

"One of the things we wanted to add to our customer amenities was food service for meeters and greeters. We think this will make their time at Buffalo airport more enjoyable," said Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority spokesman C. Douglas Hartmayer.

The Lake Erie Pub features a full bar, as well as a menu that includes panini and beef on 'weck sandwiches, bacon blue cheese burgers, and chipotle chicken wraps. Grab and go fares includes an assortment of cold sandwiches, wraps, bagels and pastries.

The Lake Erie Pub is open daily from 5:00 a.m. until the last arriving flight has arrived at the terminal.

A new Anchor Bar restaurant, the first element of the airport's new post-security food court, opened Jan. 16. The full slate of food court eateries and retailers will debut next month.

The TSA is also scheduled to open its new, expanded security checkpoint in March.

e-mail: slinstedt@buffnews.com

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