By Reg Chapman

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — New designs and local chefs at the Minneapolis/St. Paul Airport caught the attention of an airport industry group, which named our airport the Best Food & Beverage Program not just in the country, but in all of North America.

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The Airports Council International says they were wowed by 11 new restaurants on Concourse G — along with being able to order from iPads and locally-inspired menus.

Once you step into the airport mall, you can instantly notice local restaurants and the foods that made them famous.

“One of the things that we brought in was a chef-driven program where there’s a bunch of different venues where you can sit down and enjoy food from that has been created by menus from local chefs,” airport spokeswoman Melissa Scovronski said.

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But it’s the 11 new restaurants in Concourse G — a new look and high tech toys — that are getting all the buzz

More than 1,700 iPads are available throughout the Concourse, including one at each seat at every restaurant. The iPads can be used to check flight status, browse the Web or order food.

“You order your food on here, and you swipe your card and they bring it right to you,” one airport traveler said.

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From Andrew Zimmern’s Minibar to chef Sarah Johannesburg of Shoyu, there’s much for travelers to choose from and enjoy.

Reg Chapman