a virtual 360 tour of the Encounter... CLICK HERE
the center of Los Angeles International Airport stands the landmark Theme
Building which is home to the spectacular Encounter Restaurant and
Bar. With 135-foot high parabolic arches and a futuristic design,
the structure is certainly unique and has become one of the most recognizable
buildings in the U.S.
The building is surrounded by lush gardens, including a courtyard with
plaques commemorating the opening of the new jet-age airport in 1961 and
LAX's first employee in 1928, Henry Bakes. The Theme Building was completed
in August 1961 at a cost of $2.2 million; and the Encounter Restaurant,
with its space-age interior and spectacular exterior lighting, opened
in January 1997, serving fantastic cuisine and offering 360 degree
views of the airport.
The restaurant was created and is operated by a joint-venture partnership
between Delaware North Companies Travel Hospitality Services, Inc. and Connie
Bass, a Los Angeles entrepreneur and operator of the Ultimate
Symphony Event Planners, a full-service event planning and gourmet catering
service, and Cookies By Connie #1. As Director of Outside Sales and
Marketing for the Encounter Restaurant she is responsible for local
marketing efforts, community outreach and media relations. As a side dish,
the Los Angeles native positions the restaurant as an entity for airport
travelers, as well as for the diverse communities surrounding the airport
One provides food, beverage and retail operation in more than 30 U.S.
airports. It is a wholly owned subsidiary of Delaware
North Companies, Incorporated, based in Buffalo, N.Y., where
creativity, imagination and hard work have transformed a turn-of-the-century
popcorn and peanut vending business into a modern-day global corporation.
Delaware North's independent operating companies offer worldwide capabilities
in foodservice operations, hospitality and recreational services, sports
and leisure facilities management, and retail operations.
Everything (Else) You Ever Wanted to Know About
Q: Who designed the Encounter?
A: The interior of the restaurant was designed by Ed Sotto and
Ellen Guevara for Walt Disney Imagineering (WDI). WDI designer Michael
Valentino created the interior of the building and exterior lighting program.
(WDI is the master planning, creative development, design, engineering,
production management, and research and development subsidiary of the
Walt Disney Company.)
What is the building's history?
A: The Theme Building was part of an overall $50-million "Los
Angeles Jet Age Terminal Construction" project, which began in 1960.
The building itself was completed in August 1961 at a cost of $2.2 million.
On December 18, 1992, the Los Angeles City Council designated the Theme
Building a City Cultural and Historical Monument.
Q: Who is the architect?
A: The original construction of the Theme Building was a joint
venture between Paul R. Williams, Pereira & Luckman, and Robert Herrick
Carter; and the general contractor was Robert E. McKee.
Q: How is the building constructed?
A: With giant 135-foot-high parabolic arches, the Theme Building
was the first structure in the U.S. to utilize supporting steel arches
of this design. Approximatetly 900 tons of structural steel was required
for the building. Steel fabrication of the building was performed by Kaiser
Steel's Montebello Fabricating Division. Fabricated sections include four
upper arch sections, four lower sections, four horizontal legs, and tension
and compression rings.
Q: Does the restaurant or bar rotate?
A: No, the airport does (just kidding!). Seriously, no it doesn't
rotate; but this is a good thing, as patrons frequently like to keep an
eye on the comings and goings of their airline. This could get quite confusing
as your view changed from one terminal to another.
Q: Is there an outside "Observation Deck"?
A: Yes. The Observation Deck is supervised by Los Angeles World Airports Police Department. It is open on Saturdays and Sundays only from 8:00am to 5:00pm. There is no charge to visit the Observation Deck.
Q: Who manages the Encounter?
A: The restaurant was created and is operated by a joint-venture
partnership between Delaware North Companies Travel Hospitality Services, Inc. and Connie
Bass, a Los Angeles entrepreneur and partner of Bass Floyd LLC dba
World Way West Grill in LAX and World Way West Grills for Southern California Edison in the San Onofre Nuclear Center in San
Clemente, California. Delaware North Companies Travel Hospitality Services, Inc. provides food, beverage, and retail operations
in more than 30 U.S. Airports. It is a wholly owned subsidiary of Delaware
North Companies, Incorporated, which is based in Buffalo, N.Y.
Q: Is it expensive to dine at the Encounter?
A: No. The Encounter offers a variety of dishes, including our
Bar Menu & Full
Dinner Menu, with prices ranging from $6. and up (and don't
forget Happy Hour
Q: Do I need a reservation?
A: Absolutely not. But we do like to recommend that you make
a resvervation if time permits.
Q: Must I pass through Airport Security to
dine or have cocktails at the Encounter?
A: No. The Encounter is not within a screened security area of
Q: Where do I park when visiting the Encounter?
A: The restaurant offers "Valet Parking" for $6. Just
pull up to the building entrance and our valet will park your vehicle
in our adjacent "Valet Only" parking lot. You may also self-park
in one of the parking structures within the airport's Central
Terminal Area. But as rates at CTA lots have risen (anything
over an hour is at least $5.), and metered parking has become scarce,
why bother?... let us make it easy for you!
Encounter's hours are: Lunch from 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., 7 days
a week. Dinner: Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday 4:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. and Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday, 4:00 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. The observation deck is open to the public on Saturday and Sunday from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. It is
located at 209 World Way at LAX. To get there, be sure to enter
at the airport lower level (arrivals) and proceed past the third
signal until you see the Encounter signage. Valet parking is available.
For more information and reservations, call 310-215-5151.
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