Press Releases

Jan 27, 2020

Southern Grounds Set to Open at Jacksonville International Airport

HMSHost brings JAX travelers a new local business opening this fall

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (January 27, 2020) – Florida-based Southern Grounds will debut at Jacksonville International Airport (JAX) this fall. Southern Grounds prides itself on creating a community around great food and drink, and soon travelers will be able to experience this chef-driven coffee house in Concourse A.

In addition to Southern Grounds, Florida-based BurgerFi will open at a later date in the airport’s Concourse B. BurgerFi’s opening timeframe is in conjunction with JAX’s construction in the concourse. The two new locations are part of a new 10-year contract valued at approximately $60 million that the Jacksonville Aviation Authority awarded to global restaurateur HMSHost, and its Airport Concessions Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (ACDBE) joint venture partner Lee Wesley Group Inc.

“We’re thrilled to partner with the Jacksonville Aviation Authority to bring local businesses into the airport, especially one like Southern Grounds that has deep local roots and delivers a beloved community gathering place into the concourse,” said HMSHost Vice President of Business Development Stephen Douglas. “With the upcoming opening, we’re sending travelers off with one last bite and sip of a hometown favorite.”

Southern Grounds collaborates with chefs and farmers from around the Southeast to craft menu items that are sourced from local purveyors, whenever possible. Southern Grounds serves all-day options, with a keen focus on healthful goodness and sustainable ingredients.

“Coffee remains one of the most popular products amongst our passengers in the airport,” Jacksonville Aviation Authority CEO Mark VanLoh said. “With Southern Grounds presence in the terminal, travelers will have a fresh gourmet coffee shop experience from a local favorite.”

Travelers will enjoy breakfast, lunch and dinner, plus snacks, pastries and other bakery items, which are paired perfectly with its gourmet coffee and teas. On the menu line-up are artisan sandwiches, salads, and tartines, including gluten-free, vegetarian, and health-forward options for various eating preferences. Keeping busy travelers’ needs in mind, a convenient selection of freshly prepared, grab-and-go items are available for those in an extra hurry.

\"Traditionally, being in transit has been the least enjoyable part of travel. With our partnership with HMSHost & JAA we aim to change that with a sense of community, great cup of coffee, and a relaxing customer centric atmosphere. We aim to connect our community and passengers with a unique and memorable experience along their journey. HMSHost being a leader in the hospitality space was a natural fit. We are very grateful to JAA, Lee Wesley Group and HMSHost for selecting our brand for this exciting opportunity,” said Southern Grounds owner Mark Janasik.

The Concourse A location is easily accessible from all gates, making Southern Grounds the new go-to spot to enjoy a freshly prepared meal and beverage. The upcoming location offers travelers ample dedicated seating, with options to sit by the concourse for people watching, or near windows overlooking the tarmac for plane spotting.

Southern Grounds is Florida through-and-through, with a philosophy that a great cup of coffee connects people, starts conversations, and creates communities. The locally-owned shop opened its first location in nearby Neptune Beach and expanded to San Marco with additional locations in the works. The JAX fall opening will mark Southern Grounds first airport location. Learn more about Southern Grounds at the following link:

About HMSHost
Global restaurateur HMSHost is a world leader in creating dining for travel venues. HMSHost operates in more than 120 airports around the globe and at more than 80 travel plazas in North America. The company has annual sales of more than $3.5 billion and employs approximately 41,000 associates worldwide. HMSHost is a part of Autogrill Group, the world’s leading provider of food & beverage services for people on the move. With sales of €4.7 billion in 2018, the group operates in 31 countries and employs over 60,000 people. It manages more than 4,000 stores in more than 1,000 locations worldwide. Visit for more information and connect with HMSHost on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

About Jacksonville Aviation Authority
The Jacksonville Aviation Authority operates Jacksonville International Airport (JAX) and the city’s three general aviation airports – Cecil Airport, Jacksonville Executive at Craig Airport (JAXEX) and Herlong Recreational Airport. The Authority, funded through user fees and not local taxes, contributes over $6 billion annually to the local economy. For more information about the Jacksonville Aviation Authority’s airports, please visit

About HMSHost
Global restaurateur HMSHost is a world leader in creating dining for travel venues. HMSHost operates locations all over North America, and is part of Autogrill Group, the world's leading provider of food & beverage services for people on the move. Visit for more information.