Travelers using the 496-mile New York State Thruway will find an upgraded cuisine -- at least by some standards -- next year.
Details still are being negotiated, but early information points to the ouster of such Thruway standbys as Bob's Big Boy restaurants and TCBY Yogurt and the influx of such establishments as Panda Express Gourmet Chinese, Quiznos, Outback Steakhouse Post, Coldstone Creamery, Arthur Treacher's Fish and Chips and KFC as 16 of the 27 rest stops on the Thruway that runs from suburban New York City to Buffalo go through a changeover.
"The improvements we were looking for were updated offerings -- things that our customers have been asking for," Bill Rinaldi, acting director of operations for the state Thruway Authority, said in a statement.
HMS Host, the Maryland company that currently runs all 16 of the Thruway plazas that aren't under a separate contract with McDonald's, and Delaware North, with U.S. operations based in Buffalo, were the only two companies to bid on the 27-month contract that starts on Oct. 1, 2006, and runs through 2018.
Delaware North, which also provides food service at airports, sports arenas and national parks, will take over the Seneca, Scottsville, Pembroke and Clarence plazas from HMS Host. HMS Host, formerly known as Marriott, will keep its other 12 plazas, which include those at Pattersonville, west of Schenectady, and New Baltimore, just south of Coxsackie.
ON THE WEB
• NYS Thruway Authority
• Big Boy Restaurants
• Dowd's Guides