Café Intermezzo, Buckhead Books opens at airport

Thirty years after opening in a suburb of Atlanta, Café Intermezzo has landed at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport.

The restaurant, and its companion Buckhead Books store, held a grand-opening celebration earlier this month at their 5,000-square-foot unit on Concourse B.

Airport officials said Café Intermezzo has a French-inspired patio, which gives patrons a view of the bustling concourse, and windows which overlook the airport tarmac.

Bill Swift, managing partner of Airport Retail Management, which operates the stores, said their hours are Monday through Sunday, from 9 a.m., to 11 p.m.

Connie Callis, a passenger from Keyser, W.Va., said she was "just looking at something different that had some class" when she stopped by the cafe recently.

"When I saw the books [I] couldn't resist," added Carol White, of Cumberland, Md., who was dining with Callis.

According to David Husack, chief financial officer and managing partner of Airport Retail Management, Café Intermezzo has been operating for 30 years in the Atlanta area. According to the cafe's web site, the first location opened in Dunwoody in 1979, and its second location, on Peachtree Street near Midtown, opened in 1987.

Airport Retail Management named its bookstore Buckhead Books after Atlanta's upscale Buckhead community, which offers residents and visitors an array of entertainment venues and restaurants, said Husack. Buckhead Books sells novels, magazines, newspapers and snacks, according to store operators.

"We [Airport Retail Management] are a small business, so what we try to do is capture what Atlanta is about," Husack said.

Café Intermezzo offers a variety of international coffees and teas. Beer, wine and liquor are also served. The menu includes food items such as New England potato soup, crostini, lasagna, salads, gnocchi, hummus platters and crêpes.

Brian Olson, president of Café Intermezzo, said he is pleased with the architectural design of the restaurant space at the airport, because it is highly visible and elongated, which is typical of a European café.

"I really like the windows overlooking the tarmac, which brings a sense of place," he said.

"Café Intermezzo has earned a reputation for high-quality food and a sophisticated atmosphere, so we are delighted that this local favorite is joining our diverse concessions," Ben DeCosta, aviation general manager for Hartsfield-Jackson, said in a statement. "The combination with Buckhead Books adds another level of customer service, giving travelers a place to relax with a good book and an excellent cup of coffee or dessert."

John Cugasi, director of the Concessions Unit at Hartsfield-Jackson, said Café Intermezzo and Buckhead Books is one of the final concessions to open as part of the airport's retail renaissance program, which was aimed at boosting non-airline revenue and increasing passengers' shopping and dining options.

"A tremendous amount of work went into this," Cugasi said.