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Johnny River’s Smokehouse

Written By Scott Joseph On November 20, 2009

So Im waiting on my flight to New York, sitting across from the assigned Jet Blue gate working on my laptop while keeping an eye on what’s happening across the aisle. The previous plane, to Cancun, left late, and the space was still unoccupied. I figured I had plenty of time to finish my article and publish it online. (Thank you Orlando International Airport for the free wi-fi, which most other airports charge for.)

Anyway, the scheduled time for departure has approached, and still no plane. So I get up and go to the gate to see what’s going on. Turns out my plane was switched to another gate. How could I not hear the announcement? I heard everything else. The woman at the gate told my it was now at Gate 12 and I should hurry over there while she called. I suddenly became one of those frantic people you see dashing through the corridor, my laptop under one arm and my roll-on suitcase wobbling behind.

I got to Gate 12 and the door was closed. But the plane was still sitting there, the jetway up against the door and various tubes still in place. But there was no one outside the gate, so I paced back and forth for a few minutes, then I grabbed the white paging phone to see if someone could help me.

The woman at my original gate was mistaken — it had been switched to Gate 10, which, by some strange quirk of design engineering, was nowhere near Gate 12. And it didn’t matter: the plane was on its way to New York without me.

So there I sat in OIA for the next three hours while I waited for the next flight to Newark.

Eventually hunger set in, and figuring that a package of Blue Chips on the plane weren’t going to cut it, I looked around the terminal for my dining options.

And there, not far from my original gate, was Johnny River’s Smokehouse. I stepped up and ordered Johnny’s pulled pork sandwich.

The pork is served on a hoagie-style roll rather than a round hamburger-style bun. And the meat was piled on so high that grabbing the roll to eat as a sandwich was not easy, and it could not be accomplished without some spillage. I was glad I was eating it while still in the terminal and not in the close confines of the plane. A fork was useful to finish all the meat, which was dressed with Johnny’s signature sweetish mango sauce. A fairly skimpish portion of coleslaw was also included with the sandwich.

So a potentially miserable situation turned out OK. I got a lot of work done while sitting in the terminal — more than I would have on the plane or at the hotel in New York. And I got a chance to taste Johnny River’s sandwich again. I should miss more flights. Not!

Johnny River’s Smokehouse is in the Jet Blue airside terminal at Orlando International Airport.

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