By Andrea Swayne

Proposed surf concept restaurant at John Wayne Airport pits Hobie Alter against Corky Carroll

An expansion and renovation now underway at John Wayne Airport that is expected to be complete by November of 2011 will result in new dining and bar options based on Orange County themes. The county put out a request for proposals for new dining and lounge concepts to fill a number of locations in the revamped terminal. One of the proposed theme restaurants/bars has been narrowed down to a choice between two surf icons-Hobie Alter and Corky Carroll.

Carroll is a five-time US Surfing Champion, musician, author and personality on TV and film. Alter is known as a pioneer in the world of surfing manufacturing, having been behind the foam and fiberglass surfboard, the Hobie Cat, a champion tandem surfer and all around waterman. How will the final decision be made? No doubt, both are important to Orange County surf culture.

The two proposals-HMS Host International and their “Hobie Hut” vs. Delaware North Companies and their “Corky Carroll’s Surf Bar”-were evaluated in five categories. The panel rating the concepts is made up of four airport management personnel and one member of the public chosen for their subject matter expertise. They met and rated the two proposals based on experience/qualifications, financial viability/background, proposed rent, store concept and improvement plan for the space.

After rating the two concessionaires, Delaware North Companies was determined to be the front-runner.

Next, the John Wayne Airport Commission will review the Evaluation Committee recommendation of the proposals, then the final determining body-Orange County Board of Supervisors-will weigh in and make the final decision.

According to airport spokesperson Jenny Wedge, John Wayne Airport management was hoping to have this and other concession decisions determined by January 2011 but a definite date is yet to be determined.

“Whichever one is ultimately chosen, they will both offer more variety and food and beverage options for passengers,” said Wedge. “We are looking forward to everything this project will do to enhance the experience for the traveling public.”

Either way, the project is set to modernizing existing terminals A and B, add additional parking and maintain a convenient and first-class airport in Orange County, Wedge said. But for the local surf community, one can’t help but debate the question-Which one would best represent Orange County surf culture?

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