Bobby Van’s JFK Priority Pass restaurant: worth a visit

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Bobby Van’s at JFK’s Terminal 8 is a Priority Pass restaurant. That means that Priority Pass members can present their card and receive $28 per person towards food & drinks. This morning, Greg wrote about some Citi Prestige hidden benefits (see: Citi Prestige: Weird but valuable benefits); one of the not-so-hidden benefits of premium cards like the Prestige is Priority Pass access, which typically includes guest privileges on premium cards like the Prestige. I recently flew out of Terminal 8 on Cathay Pacific, and I arrived at the airport early specifically to check out Bobby Van’s. Truth be told, I wasn’t that hungry when I stopped at the restaurant, but after Cathay Pacific ran out of my meal selection at the first meal time and I slept through the second meal, I was glad that I had eaten at Bobby Van’s before boarding my flight! If you’re flying out of Terminal 8, I’d say Bobby Van’s is definitely worth a visit.

The Restaurant

First of all, the restaurant doesn’t look that big from the entrance. It kind of looks like it is just a barroom on a raised platform as you only see the front seating area and front of the bar from the entrance. However, when you come inside along the side of the bar, you’ll find that there is an entire back seating area that was empty when I arrived around 8:30pm (as shown above). One of the advantages of a lounge is its quiet atmosphere. With a Priority Pass restaurant, you are theoretically giving up that atmosphere in exchange for an actual meal.

In my case, I got the best of both worlds. While the front section of Bobby Van’s was quite full and noisy, the back section was silent – and that’s where I got seated. I definitely had both a full restaurant menu and a quiet place to work. As Bobby Van’s is located almost immediately after security in Terminal 8, I think it was also somewhat separated from the hustle and bustle of the terminal since it is located away from the gates.

Access

Many cards in addition to the aforementioned Prestige card come with free Priority Pass membership that also includes free guest privileges. Here are a few cards that give a Priority Pass membership that allows at least one free guest:

The Food

I just ordered a burger, but it was large and filling and came as ordered (medium, despite the fact that it looks pretty well done in the picture). The fries were crispy, hot, and fresh.

If you are looking to stay under $28, there are plenty of options on the appetizers / salads / sandwiches menu.

You might make out even better at breakfast time as Bobby Van’s has a pretty extensive breakfast menu, with nothing more expensive than the $28 credit you’ll receive and most dishes cheap enough that you might even be able to get two items. If you’re traveling with someone else and you have a Priority Pass membership that allows a free guest, I’d imagine that $56 total will get you more than enough food for breakfast.

The Drinks

If you’re going to want a glass of wine or a cocktail with dinner, you’re going to end up paying a few bucks most likely as your $28 credit probably won’t cover both food and alcoholic drink — though still not bad all things considered. Here were the wine and cocktail menus during my visit.

Drinks certainly aren’t cheap….but then again, if you’re on a Priority Pass visit and you’re just looking for a cocktail or two, it’s still not a bad deal.

Bottom line

I’m a fan of the expanded Priority Pass restaurant options as they provide an option for a full meal prior to takeoff. I also visited an Admirals Club before my flight (as I was flying business class on Cathay Pacific), but I was glad to have had the option to stop at a restaurant before my flight. Little did I know that I wasn’t going to eat much again until breakfast 12 or 13+ hours later due to a mixture of bad luck (running out of my meal choice) and sleep (slept through the second meal service). It might have been a pretty hungry flight if not for the fact that I had eaten at Bobby Van’s, so I was glad to have visited and I would definitely stop in again on a future trip through Terminal 8.

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