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Public Transportation and Smart Growth

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Mon May 27, 2024, 12:54 PM May 27

Amtrak's Acela upgrades its menu to match its speed [View all]

Amtrak’s Acela upgrades its menu to match its speed

After enlisting Stephen Starr to revamp the first-class dishes, Acela applies the same spirit to business class.

By Emily Heil
May 22, 2024 at 6:00 a.m. EDT

An assortment of the new sandwiches and salads at Amtrak's test kitchen. (Photos by Deb Lindsey for The Washington Post)

WILMINGTON, Del. — When Amtrak launched the high-speed Acela Express train in 2000, the big selling point was a faster ride for time-pressed passengers looking to zip from city to city along the East Coast.

But Acela riders don’t crave just speed, it turns out; they expect an experience that’s better than the one they might find on the regular Northeast Regional line. And that, Amtrak officials say, means charcuterie. And pesto. And sandwiches on oat baguettes.

After introducing a menu for first-class Acela travelers that was developed by famed restaurateur Stephen Starr, Amtrak is turning its attention to the rest of us in the cheap(er) seats in business class. On Wednesday, Amtrak plans to introduce a revamped menu for its Cafe Acela that caters to the more refined tastes of its clientele. Now, when riders weave their way into the cafe car for a lunch or snack, they’ll find a selection that’s meant to be a cut above the one offered on the Northeast Regional.


By Emily Heil
Emily Heil is a reporter covering national food news and trends. Previously, she co-authored the Reliable Source column for The Post. Twitter https://x.com/emilyaheil
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