LAX: Another restaurant may open at Theme Building, but it probably won’t happen soon

If you want to see the view from the LAX theme building, you'll have to check it out from the observation deck, open Saturdays and Sundays.

If you want to see the view from the LAX theme building, you’ll have to check it out from the observation deck shown here, open Saturdays and Sundays. The restaurant in the building is now closed. Photo: Katie Murphy.

If you were hoping the Encounter restaurant atop the LAX theme building would reopen soon under a new name, I have some bad news for you.

According to airport spokeswoman Nancy Castles, Westfield, a major company handling concessions at the airport, declined to take over the restaurant space when competitor Delaware North closed the place at the end of December. Westfield would have been the logical choice.

The space formerly operated by the Encounter offers some of the best airfield views you’ll see anywhere. The problem is that the food never was very good, and the place was difficult to get to. It was also last renovated almost 20 years ago, so whoever operates it next — assuming someone takes over — will have to do a lot of work.

Here’s what Castles wrote when I asked for an update.

Following Westfield’s decision to decline the opportunity to develop the concession space in the Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) Theme Building, Los Angeles World Airports (LAWA) will explore future development options. LAWA is currently in discussion with other concession operators who have shown interest in the space, and is considering several options.

The good news is that there is an outdoor viewing area above the restaurant. It is open to the public on Saturdays and Sundays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

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Question of the Week: What’s next for the restaurant space in the LAX theme building?

The Encounter restaurant atop the LAX theme building closed in December. Wikimedia Commons photo.

The Encounter restaurant atop the LAX theme building closed in December. Wikimedia Commons photo.

As we reported first earlier this week, the Encounter restaurant atop the iconic Theme Build at Los Angeles International Airport has closed for good.

I’ve been trying all week to figure out if a new restaurant might open in its place. But this all airport officials would tell me. “We are discussing operating concepts and options with several other concessionaires.”

Of course, the theme building is a special place. But do you think another restaurant will open in the space?

I imagine it’s not the best place to put a restaurant. First, you have to pay a living wage. Second, cheap parking is limited. And third, the restaurant is located outside security, so it’s not a great place for connecting passengers to visit during a layover.

I’m curious about your thoughts. What do you think is next for that space?

Tell me in the comments section.

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The Encounter restaurant at the LAX theme building is now closed

The Encounter restaurant atop the LAX theme building closed in December, but likely will reopen under another name soon. Wikimedia Commons photo.

The Encounter restaurant atop the LAX theme building closed in December, but likely will reopen under another name soon. Wikimedia Commons photo.

The Encounter restaurant atop the iconic theme building at Los Angeles International Airport closed at the end of December when the operator’s lease ended, airport spokeswoman Nancy Castles said.

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