A large travel center chain announced exciting updates to its full-service restaurant business. Chef Maira Isabel now serves as the chain’s corporate executive chef and will focus on adding flavorful, healthy offerings and integrating food trends and regional specialties into the menus of two of the chain’s restaurants.
TravelCenters of America Inc. (TA), nationwide operator and franchisor of the TA, Petro Stopping Centers and TA Express travel center network, operates Country Pride and Iron Skillet restaurants, which will incorporate the new menus. Before moving to the U.S., Chef Maira was a chef and on-air talent for multiple television shows for many years and was the Puerto Rico hostess of Bizarre Foods — Travel Channel. Her career has spanned TV, print and online publications including the Cooking Network, Travel Channel and Food & Beverage Magazine, and she is a best-selling cookbook author. She has spent time perfecting her culinary skills in Italy, France, Colombia, Spain, Mexico and Morocco.
With over 150 full-service restaurants nationwide, TA continues expanding its portfolio to serve the needs of all travelers. In addition to proprietary brands Country Pride and Iron Skillet, TA launched Fork & Compass in January 2023 in Perrysburg, Ohio. Fork & Compass is designed to be an attractive option for all travelers and a destination spot for the community, with unique food options in a casual, comfortable, family-friendly atmosphere. TA also added five IHOPs and two Black Bear Diners in 2022, with plans to open more full-service restaurants this year.
TA will continue supporting the health and well-being of all travelers through its collaboration with Cleveland Clinic. Chef Maira’s menus will offer healthy meal options approved by Cleveland Clinic and highlighted with a heart-healthy logo. TA plans to expand beyond these menu offerings by working with Cleveland Clinic to identify healthy snack and grab-and-go food options in its travel stores.
“Chef Maira’s diverse background working in restaurants around the world, coupled with her sincere passion and enthusiasm, will elevate the sit-down dining experience at our travel centers,” said Lloyd Sanford, senior vice president, hospitality. “Every culinary decision will be focused on ensuring we deliver on our mission of returning every traveler to the road better than they came.”
Founded in 1972 and headquartered in Westlake, Ohio, TA’s over 18,000 team members serve guests in 285 locations in 44 states, principally under the TA, Petro Stopping Centers and TA Express brands. Offerings include diesel and gasoline fuel, truck maintenance and repair, full-service and quick-service restaurants, travel stores, car and truck parking and other services dedicated to providing great experiences for its guests. TA operates over 600 full-service and quick-service restaurants and nine proprietary brands, including Iron Skillet and Country Pride.