Two local favorite restaurants pushed out of San Jose airport

Restaurants with iconic San Jose brands could soon be forced to move out of Mineta San Jose International Airport. City leaders are set to vote Tuesday on new concession contracts at the airport. The new contracts don't include two local favorites, San Jose Joe’s and the Brit.

Come next year, travelers at Mintea San Jose International Airport will be given a wide variety of new dining options, but not everyone is happy about it. 

“A lot of my customers aren't happy about it either,” said Original Joe’s Owner Brad Rocca.

Brad Rocca is the owner of Original Joe’s in Downtown San Jose. The restaurant has been around since 1956. Back in 2010, Rocca’s family signed a leasing licensing agreement to create San Jose Joe’s at the airport, which is an offshoot of Original Joe’s. 

“We are the number one grossing space in the airport,” said Rocca. “Every flier I see all the time stops at Joe’s. They love the place. It’s comfortable. It’s like being at downtown Joe’s kind of thing.”

Now San Jose Joe’s and another local favorite the Brit, part of the Brittania Arms brand, are likely going away.

“We are all really disappointed and the Brit’s very upset,” said Rocca. “It’s been in town since 1988.”

On Tuesday, San Jose city leaders will vote on a new proposal of food and beverage vendors at the airport to replace a contract that expires next spring.

“It’s typical for airports to have contracts with our food and beverage and retail and go back out and refresh the concepts,” said Mineta San Jose International Airport Spokeswoman Rosemary Barnes. 

Barnes said travelers are seeking a mix of international and local flavors, particularly Asian fusion. The airport is recommending 14 new offerings. More than half of them have local ties including the Farmer’s Union and Olla Cocina from the San Pedro Square Market and Straits from Santana Row.  

“Those vendors really hit it out of the ballpark in terms of what they will be able to offer our customers,” said Barnes. 

The airport predicts the new eateries combined will bring in more than $3 million, a 20 percent increase in revenue. For Rocca, he's angry with the process.

“It didn't give anyone that's already there an opportunity to remain,” said Rocca. “No one came and reached out to us and say we'd love to have you stay, what do you think.”

Rocca said he understands the airport must change up its menu but he doesn't believe the new brands are as established and reputable as his restaurant.

Rocca is hoping San Jose Joe’s will remain but he said the restaurant and the Brit will likely be gone by June of next year.