Review: Bobby Van’s Steakhouse JFK (Priority Pass Lounge)

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Priority Pass is the world’s largest network of independent airport lounges, with over 1,200 locations around the world. The number of Priority Pass members has increased greatly the past couple of years, ever since the Chase Sapphire Reserve® Card was introduced, since now there are quite a few credit cards with lounge access.

Priority Pass has gotten creative when it comes to the “lounges” they’ve added to their network. For terminals in which they struggle to reach a deal with a traditional lounge, Priority Pass has in some cases come to agreements with restaurants.

The idea is that Priority Pass typically pays a lounge a fixed amount for each guest who enters, so instead Priority Pass pays restaurants a fixed amount, in exchange for giving their members a dollar credit that they can spend towards food and drinks. At this point Priority Pass has over a dozen restaurant locations at US airports, including the following:

Bobby Van’s JFK Priority Pass details

This February, Priority Pass added Bobby Van’s Steakhouse at JFK Terminal 8 to their network. Priority Pass members receive $28 of food and drinks per guest, and Priority Pass members can bring in at most one guest each.

I had a flight out of JFK last night, so decided to visit Bobby Van’s, even though I had access to the American Flagship Lounge (the comparison between the food in the restaurant and the food in the lounge may surprise you, so stay tuned for that).

Bobby Van’s is open daily from 6AM until 10PM, so you can visit for breakfast, lunch, or dinner.

As a reminder, here are some of the popular credit cards that come with a Priority Pass membership:

Card# of Complimentary GuestsAuthorized User AccessCost To Add Authorized User
Chase Sapphire Reserve®2Yes$75 Per Person
Citi Prestige® Credit Card2Yes$75 Per Person
The Platinum Card® from American Express

No access to Priority Pass restaurants as of August, 2019.
2Yes$175 For Up To 3 People, $175 For Each Additional Person Beyond That (Rates & Fees)
The Business Platinum Card® from American Express

No access to Priority Pass restaurants as of August, 2019.
2Yes$300 Per Person (Rates & Fees)
Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card

No access to Priority Pass restaurants as of August, 2019.
2No$0 (Rates & Fees)
Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card

No access to Priority Pass restaurants as of August, 2019.

Bobby Van’s Steakhouse JFK review

I visited Bobby Van’s at JFK yesterday at around 6PM. After passing through security at Terminal 8, Bobby Van’s is located immediately to the right.

The restaurant has two main areas. There’s the bar area, with high-top tables, bar seating, and also some lower tables.

Then there’s a dining room with white tablecloths.

My initial impression of the restaurant was negative, given my interaction with the hosts, which was awful. It was so bad that I was wondering if I was on a hidden camera TV show, or something.

The host seating people was actively hostile and aggressive. There was a Chinese guy checking in ahead of me who was friendly and his English was reasonably good, but not perfect. The guy berated him for not talking faster, and for asking questions. In the meantime the guy had asked three other people how many were dining in their parties.

Then another host showed up, and she said “follow me” without looking at anyone in particular, and there were four different parties standing there. She walked away without looking back, and eventually someone yelled “who should be following you?” and she responded “any of you.” “Really, any?” “The party of four, hurry.”

That doesn’t do justice to the rudeness and eye-rolling of the hosts, but my gosh, those people should not be working in customer-facing jobs.

I was presented with a menu as I sat down, and it was huge.

Here’s the drink menu:

Here’s the lunch and dinner menu:

And here’s the breakfast menu:

On the plus side, service was quick. When I sat down I was asked when my flight was. I had several hours, though despite that, all my food came out within 15 minutes.

To start I ordered the soup of the day, which was a beef and vegetable soup. In reality it had mostly potatoes and pasta, and was all right (it wasn’t bad, but wasn’t exactly good either).

Then I ordered the Harry Salad, with chopped shrimp, tomato, red onion, pimento, green beans, bacon, and red wine vinaigrette. I don’t eat bacon, and stupidly I forgot to request it without bacon (I saw bacon listed as an ingredient on the menu, reminded myself to tell the server I’d like it without bacon, and then forgot).

The salad was okay, but nothing special. Would I be happy if I were served a salad like this at Applebee’s? Yes, I suppose. Would I be happy if I were served this at a nice steakhouse? No way. The shrimp and veggies just tasted watery and bland. They weren’t terrible, but just bland.

I wouldn’t go so far as to say that my server was friendly, though unlike the hosts, he wasn’t actively hostile, so my interaction with him was the best one I had at the restaurant.

At the conclusion of the meal I had $28 taken off the bill by presenting my Priority Pass card, leaving me with a balance of about $8. As you can see, they tried to draw notice to the suggested gratuity amount.

There was even a separate pamphlet stating that a tip of 18-20% is customary.

I don’t at all mind that they do this, given the number of international visitors, and also given that a lot of people are using Priority Pass, and may not think it’s necessary/appropriate to tip. So I left a $6 tip on my meal (which was probably too much given the not-great service).

Bottom line

I’m thrilled to see Priority Pass add restaurant to their network, as it presents a great alternative in those instances where they can’t strike a deal with a lounge in a terminal. JFK’s Terminal 8 didn’t previously have a Priority Pass lounge, so this is a nice addition.

Unfortunately Bobby Van’s disappointed me, though. The restaurant is okay — the food is unmemorable but edible. What surprised me was the outright hostile service. I’m not sure if the two hosts were just having a bad day or what, but I’d expect friendlier service from the DMV. I’m always surprised when high-end restaurants decide to open locations at airports. I’ve never been to one of the other Bobby Van’s locations, but based on this I wouldn’t visit, even though I imagine the others are much better.

So if you have a Priority Pass membership and don’t otherwise have lounge access then it’s worth visiting Bobby Van’s. This is a great addition.

However, in this case I had access to the Flagship Lounge, and I wanted to do a side-by-side comparison of the food at Bobby Van’s and the food in the lounge. Much to my surprise, the lounge had more restaurant quality food than the restaurant (more on that in another post).

If you’ve visited Bobby Van’s at JFK, what was your experience like?

The following links will direct you to the rates and fees for mentioned American Express Cards. These include: The Business Platinum® Card from American Express (Rates & Fees), The Platinum Card® from American Express (Rates & Fees), and Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card (Rates & Fees).

The comments on this page have not been provided, reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any advertiser, and it is not an advertiser's responsibility to ensure posts and/or questions are answered.
  1. I went to this place a couple of times before the flagship lounge with food was around.

    The service is awful and the food is ok at best. 100% agree with you Lucky.

    These are the type of places that will go for Priority Pass, as far as I’ve been able to see.

  2. Give us a break. You’re complaining about essentially free food at an airport restaurant. The same credit cards that you rave about give PP access and lead to overcrowding and servers that must remind their customers to tip. You can’t have it both ways. If you want a better experience, open up your wallet and go to another restaurant. These sites complain about PP access and then when PP adds another restaurant you complain about the service. This is one ridiculous, entitled review.

  3. As someone who loves Bobby Van’s in East Hampton, your experience sucked Ben. Sounds like they need to clean house at JFK. What an embarrassment to the brand.


  4. @B1991

    You make a good point. I would never get a credit card for the “free” food PP gets you. Definitely not worth it. PP pays off when it gets you into a lounge in a place where there is no other lounge and the alternative is the main terminal (mainly overseas). It is a limited benefit of credit cards, at best.

  5. @B1991 How is this food free? Priority Pass is nowhere near free. Not paying cash doesn’t mean something is free, just as paying with a credit card, voucher or anything else.

  6. Why did you tip? Ridiculous. And why write thank you when your experience was so bad? Basically, why so fake? You’re providing false info for the restaurant manager, who likely will see the receipt and have no clue anything was wrong….and the next customer gets screwed just like you. At least give $0 tip and write why on the receipt. Manager is almost certain to see that and you’re doing everyone a favor, including the jerks who shouldn’t be in the customer facing job to begin with like you say.

  7. We had a very similar experience. Awful service, food that made us feel terrible. I think the only way I would go back is to get some free drinks at the bar – something from a bottle, I dont trust their draft lines!

  8. @Bob Trial,

    I’m pretty sure that the restaurant wrote “thank you” on the bill. Usually in America this happens a lot. ie. The waiter writes a cute note, smiley face or something on the bill in order to get a better tip.

  9. Pretty much the same experience as you. I would have hate to pay full price so the savings help. Exceptionally unpleasant staff. I’ll grab fast food next time.

  10. Anybody eating steak should have to pet baby goats for 10 minutes before they are allowed to order.

    That should be the law of the land.

  11. That menu looks like it should feature in a Ramsay’s Kitchen Nighmares episode. With many dishes you know it can’t be good or fresh.
    The hostile staff would make for great TV!

  12. I was there yesterday as well, albeit at breakfast time (7:30a). The 2 hostesses were pleasant and my service was good as well. Granted I got the oatmeal and black coffee, which are hard to mess up, but it was frankly better than the breakfast at Andaz 5th Avenue in mid-town.

  13. @Adam, ahh my bad. Correct I don’t live in the US. I still think it’s foolish and counterproductive to tip in this situation – a bad cycle is perpetuated because the customer isn’t willing to do the thing that is difficult but right (no tip for blatantly rude / hostile staff…lol if you’re too cowardly to not tip then, what does it take? The hostess or waiter has to punch you in the face?) – but my first read was Lucky wrote that on the receipt. I assume you’re right the waiter wrote that. Who is just taking advantage of Lucky’s guilt when they know damn well they deserve nothing. Writing a smiley face on the receipt to save the tip after a f**k you when you walk in the door…lol what great service!

  14. This post reminds me of the Palm in JFK terminal 4. The Palm in east Hampton is wonderful. At JFK terrible, although the service wasn’t as bad as what’s described by Ben. I’m sure it’s difficult to execute fine dining steakhouses in an airport terminal, and these two restaurants are examples.

  15. @B1991 first of all, the food wasn’t free, PP paid a part and the remainder was paid by Ben. Additionally that doesn’t excuse the hostile and rude service. The only thing I would criticize Ben is for tipping anything.

  16. @ Bob Trial — In the US it’s very normal for the server to write “thank you” on the check, especially near the section about suggested tip amount. That wasn’t me.

    As far as why I tipped goes, it’s because that’s how the server makes money, and the server himself wasn’t that bad. The people at the host stand were terrible, while the server more or less did his job, so I don’t think his service was so bad that it wasn’t worthy of tip. Maybe I should have tipped one or two dollars less since service wasn’t great, but this isn’t a situation where I would have felt comfortable not leaving a tip.

  17. I ate breakfast at Bobby Vans with my child and it was good. All the service people were nice. I would definitely stop by again for breakfast.

    Has anyone had the Steak? Is it any good?

  18. @ B1991 — Two points on that. First of all, as I said in the post, one of the questions I wanted to answer was whether it’s worth going to Bobby Van’s with Priority Pass if you otherwise have access to the Flagship Lounge. Generally a restaurant has better food than a lounge, so what’s the case here? This isn’t a function of complaining about free food, it’s a comparison of two “free food” options, if you want to look at it that way.

    As far as your overall point about complaining about free food, Bobby Van’s is probably the highest end restaurant in the terminal, and otherwise is a well regarded steakhouse. Sure, you expect the experience to be watered down a bit, though I imagine the owners would be horrified if they knew how bad service was at the airport location, since I imagine it decreases the chance of people visiting their other locations.

  19. I’ve been here once before and agree- good and service is lacking. I often eat at the Bobby Vans in the city, and they are far and above better (what you would normally expect from a relatively high end steak house).

    Disappointed in the BV at JFK, but can’t complain at having a convenient priority pass option when flying from Terminal 8. I don’t fly international, so no Flagship lounge for me. Wish I could get into the Alaska lounge- haven’t had success in getting in the Alaska Lounge at JFK yet. Anyone else had luck getting in? If yes, any specific times work better than others?

  20. @Lucky @Bob Trial:

    Just another case of Europeans not comprehending how the service industry works here.

    To not tip is an extraordinary act. Servers in New York City make a wage of $10 an hour. To survive in New York City with any quality of life, you need to make $23-$25 an hour. It is a social contract between restaurant patrons, the servers, and the state (who sets the minimum wage) that you as the patron will tip 18-20% on your bill so that the server can keep his lights on and pay his rent and maybe take a day off now and then. Unless they scald you with coffee or punch you in the face or insult your dead mother, that’s the way it goes.

    If the service is actively bad, you knock off a few dollars – perhaps tipping 12% – 15%. If it’s incredible, you tip 25%. But the thought of just crossing out the tip line and walking out makes me feel gross. Your server has bills to pay too and decent people don’t stiff servers.

    You can have all the qualms you’d like with the system, but that is the system. It’s a bizarre unspoken American social contract, but it’s just the way things work here.

  21. JFK T8 is basically my “home” terminal. I stopped by Bobby Vans within a few days of it joining Priority Pass and was rather underwhelmed. The service I received sounds almost identical to yours from all but one person and I felt reluctant to even tip $3 on our $30 of food. Of the three people I spoke with none of them seemed to know how much credit my wife and could use given we both had Priority Pass (one said only $28, the other said $56, the other said $112 thinking we could each guest eachother!).

    The food was pretty decent but we just took it up to the Flagship Bridge/Annex where our usual bartender was happy to bring real plates and drinks out for us. We’ve used T8 about half a dozen times since then but my wife can’t be bothered to deal with it, given the pretty decent food options in the Bridge.

  22. @ JP In Chicago – I have no problem if that’s the system you have in the USA, I just wish that Americans didn’t export their tipping culture when they travel overseas!

  23. Going to a steak house and ordering soup and salad for a review seems to be missing the point. Soup and salads are available at even the most minimal of lounges. Why would I order that?
    It was informative to read about the poor staff interactions, but the food part of this review is pretty worthless.

  24. Although the service was bad, it’s a steakhouse…..order a freaking steak, otherwise don’t complain. As a former chef I hate when people complain about the food when they clearly didn’t order the specialty or what the restaurant is known for. And @Debit, beef comes from cow’s, not goats.

  25. So to recap, the PP value proposition is an airline lounge, where you are likely to be refused entry, or in lieu of this, a mediocre restaurant where food and/or service is probably poor.

  26. I’m another of those Europeans who can’t really understand the tipping culture in the U.S.

    It’s not the customer who needs to pay the salary to the worker. If the worker need to make X dollars an hour to make a decent living in NY and he can’t, he can get a better paying job or move to a cheaper city.People do it here all the time, even to different countries in Europe. And guess what. When it comes the time when restaurants don’t have people to work at 10 dollars/hour, they will increase salaries.

  27. I’m a priority pass holder through my credit card and have enjoyed the lounges but haven’t tried a restaurant yet. I have concerns that the only restaurants to partner with Priority Pass are those that can’t attract customers normally so are going to be biased towards mediocre food and service. After all, if you’re doing good business then why would you join with PP? This sounds like the case with Bobby Van’s, so I appreciate your reviews.

  28. I recently learned that waiters are paid a “tipped” wage, which is significantly less than minimum wage. So I understand why the people at a place like Bobby Vans would want to make clear, especially to international travelers from places that actually pay their waiters a living wage, that it’s customary to tip 18-20%. Honestly, in NYC, it probably should be more, given the wages the servers are making and the cost of living.

    I, like many of you, hate the tipping culture. But I don’t think the answer is not to tip. It’s to somehow find a way to fight the incredibly powerful restaurant lobby that has successfully kept tipped wages for servers much lower than the minimum wage.

  29. Fair assessment Lucky one 🙂
    No question the restaurant leaves much to be desired in its current state
    When it first opened it had a number of decent servers and a few standouts and quality was clearly higher as was execution
    As time passed on it became more and more like bad lower end chain restaurant
    On the other hand I have many years dining all over the world and there are certain things I wouldn’t do in an airport restaurant.One is order seafood with rare exceptions perhaps
    like Legal Seafood in Boston Philadelphia Washington DC etc
    where I know the quality control and standard is high even if I don’t end up caring for the preparation
    There is risk with seafood period let alone it not being to ones satisfaction
    even with a high standard
    Bobby Vans claim to fame is certainly not a salad or soup but realistically beef and some decent sides potatoes veggies etc
    So if I were to dine there I’d likely skip most of their offerings and order a hamburger which is better than average for any airport nationwide or a steak or similar offering
    My 2 cents

  30. If you want to give feedback on restaurant/ hotel quality or service , not tipping is not the path .
    Negative reviews with specific complaints on Yelp / TripAdvisor work best , especially for a restaurant that has a “brand” like Bobby Vans

  31. I ate there on Christmas in lieu of Christmas dinner on the way to LHR. Very meh food. I agree with your review.

  32. At the risk of going down the rabbit hole of another minimum wage argument, required minimum wage at the airports of the PANYNJ is NOT the same as federal minimum wage (it’s nearly double, actually). I absolutely think a tip of 18-20% was inappropriate for two reasons: mediocre service from the person being tipped and the price of food. (Did the waiter provide “excellent” service, as printed on the receipt?)

    It’s a silly argument to say that you should tip a higher PERCENT because the cost of living in NYC is high. Remember, the prices you pay for your meal are already higher because it’s NYC. Naturally, a 15% tip will be more on your average meal in NYC than your average meal just about anywhere else in the country.

  33. I stopped by this place last month. The service was OK, but the food was not good. (Steak sandwich)

  34. @Andy

    Even if the PANYNJ mandates a higher minimum wage than the federal level, that misses the point. Restaurants are allowed to pay their employees much less than that level on the basis that the employees will make up the difference in tips. The following is from the PANYNJ’s minimum wage rules:

    “The federal government and certain states allow an employer to count all or part of an employee’s tips towards its minimum wage obligations and some states set a maximum “tip credit” toward the minimum wage. For purposes of these rules, only if a Contractor/Employer takes advantage of the applicable “tip credit” for federal, state or local minimum wage compliance, will the Covered Service worker’s receipt of tips be considered in determining whether the Contractor/employer is compliant with the Port Authority Minimum Wage Policy.”

    What is your basis for saying that prices at NYC restaurants are higher than elsewhere—and importantly, higher enough that a standard 15% tip covers the higher cost of living? I actually live in NYC. Yes, there are expensive restaurants. But I am unconvinced that on the whole, prices at restaurants are so much higher that waiters can live off of 15-20% tips, not to mention the people who think they shouldn’t tip.

    And just to be clear, I don’t and have never worked in the restaurant industry. I have just recently become more aware of what waiters/servers in the restaurant industry have to endure, and I think it’s wrong.

  35. Priority pass is not very valuable here in the US. Overseas it’s a whole lot better. Here you get Lounges with poor or limited food, the restaurants are TGIF, Chili’s type food. Not bad, but not great. overseas it can be a gourmet experience.

  36. This post should be called “My Experience at…” not “Review of…”
    What kind of review of a steakhouse only discusses a soup and a salad??

  37. Lucky – tips are how they make excessive money, not how they get enough money to get by.

    New York is considering abolishing the tip credit and making all business’s pay the full minimum wage. Who is most ferociously against that? The hospitality unions – because people like you who tip out of guilt are responsible for giving them much higher wages than any other unskilled service worker gets.

    If you aren’t hypocritical you really should be tipping people like Walmart employees too (especially in the states that don’t have tip credit).

  38. Andrew – What complete and utter rubbish. The tip credit is roughly $3 per hour, so Luckys $6 tip will cover two whole hours.

    Given the turnover in that kind of restaurant, you can tip much less than 10% and the staff would all still reach minimum wage.

    Like most people in the US, you are just gullible. I have a couple of friends who make almost as much in tips on a Friday and Saturday night as my weekly wage is…

  39. I fly AA regularly out of T8 and have used this restaurant for breakfast and for dinner. The host staff are always terrible. They’re rude. The place is almost always empty in the back seating area. The food is mediocre at best and it is expensive without the Priority Pass perk. They push the tip hard and while I won’t take the bad service out on the wait staff, they routinely do forget special requests and eye roll when you send the plate back to the kitchen.

  40. @Alonzo – if you can’t cook it, don’t put it on the menu. Former chef is about right with your brains.

  41. IVAN
    I get VIP treatment in every 3* hotel I go to better then the 30 or so 4 and 5* I’ve stayed in..Be nice if they going to B there ur whole stay TIP them how much did ur trip cost ?
    Pocket change to have a perfect time and make the front desk ect. Feel Good about themselves ..


  42. The person tipped was the waiter, not the host/hostess. If anyone believes they’ll receive very good to excellent service from waitstaff if tipping were based upon mere minimum wage, they’re in for a great disappointment. I’d prefer the tip for the service staff to be automatic. It’s up to management to train, retain and supervise staff.

    Tips shouldn’t be shared (also against the law) with anyone other than tipped employee classifications. The barista at Star Bucks is paid minimum wage or higher and does not meet this requirement. That’s why they can be made to share with management.

    Tip well my friends.

  43. I was there a few weeks ago. The hostess was extremely friendly. The waiter was gruff and unattentative and seemed annoyed I was using my PP benefit. But as for the food, I was there about 4:00 in the afternoon and ordered a beer and a burger that was absolutely fantastic. When the bill came they took off $56 total as I has 1person with me easily. They had me in, eating, and out in about 45-60 minutes so still had plenty of time to make my flight.
    Don’t know why so many people have had bad experiences here but mine was (mostly) great.

  44. @Mauricio Matos: The U.S. is not where you call home and your desires to want to change the system here will fall on deaf ears. Lucky explained how the system works here. If you don’t like the system and refuse to go along with it, don’t come. Seriously. All you would be doing by stiffing the wait staff (which splits their tips with the bus boys) is hurting the waiter–not the owner.

  45. @Fraser: “Of the three people I spoke with none of them seemed to know how much credit my wife and could use given we both had Priority Pass (one said only $28, the other said $56, the other said $112 thinking we could each guest each other!).”

    So what is the answer?

  46. @Mauricio Matos: The idea behind the American system is that giving the customer more control over the server’s income leads to better service. I’m not entirely convinced it works as well as restaurants say it does, and it sometimes leads to “over-service” (I really don’t need to be asked if “everything is delicious” every three minutes, thanks), but on the other hand most of the really bad, openly hostile service I’ve ever had in my life was in Europe, mainly in Italy.

    I also disagree with the idea that we are “exporting our tipping culture”. Americans do overtip when they travel, true, but if others start leaning toward our way than staying with your own and just taking the Americans’ money as a small extra bit, that’s on them, not us.

    @Debit – fine by me. I was at a farm-to-table sort of place in Devon once where we went out and saw the baby pigs, even patted a couple, then went in and ordered ham steaks. They were delicious. Nothing wrong with respecting where your food comes from. I worked on a dairy farm in high school, and happily eat ice cream. (And you might feel different about your vegetables if you saw the backbreaking conditions the harvesting crews work under.)

  47. Craig – You’re delusional. The American system is designed so capitalist businesses can pay their staff as little as possible. It has absolutely nothing to do with service quality – hence why you are still expected to tip bad service.

    As to needing to tip to get good service, maybe now you’ve raised generations of servers to be overentitled and expect bribes to do their job correctly you’ll have bad service if that’s all withdrawn, but in the civilized world where servers are paid properly and aren’t reliant on tips they are just as nice.

    Great idea though – maybe I should start demanding my clients pay me bribes to get decent service. I wonder how long my employer would keep me around…

  48. Very reflective of the terrible attitude of most employees at JFK. One of the worst airports in the US with regard to customer service

  49. I was there a few weeks ago, sat at the bar and had a salad, which was good. The bar staff was great! They really interacted with the patrons, and I much enjoyed my layover. Sorry to hear many of you didn’t have as much fun as I did!

  50. I still don’t understand why you tipped even if the server was alright as if the host were that mean and rude they bring it down for others that’s just the way it is

  51. I had the misfortune to eat here recently. Rude staff, poor service, very average food. I have to say I struggle to tip when the service was as poor as it was. I fully acknowledge that the tipping culture is prevalent in the US, but to leave 20% when you’ve had a poor experience is just not something I’m prepared to do.

  52. Here’s a post I would really enjoy seeing on OMAAT: how food service/ restaurant works at airports.

    Aren’t most just licensed to huge food service companies? IMO this isn’t really a Bobby Vans. I know some just sign the license and let the license do whatever. Plus there are security concerns past the checkpoints. And I understand there are restrictions on cooking techniques.

  53. Dreadful service = zero tip. Simple, can’t believe you’re still rewarding crap service, Ben.

  54. That restaurant left a mark on me. My friends and I ordered two supposedly medium rare steaks that tasted like rubber. When the server poured some water into my glass, it spilt all over the table. Worst of all, it cost us $100 which is an outrageous price considering that you could get a decent server and two juicy filets mignons for under $60 at any Outback Steakhouse. That restaurant was a disgrace to JFK.

  55. Does anyone know if you can access T8 even if your boarding pass is at another terminal? We were told by JetBlue (T5) that TSA doesn’t allow it, so we didn’t bother to try because of time constraints.

  56. @Roxy

    NO not at JFK. The stupid part of this is because each terminal is independently operated. On the contrary, TSA doesn’t care but it is the terminal operator that does. So if you do made it to TSA ask for a supervisor to allow you through, most of the time someone at the beginning of the line who checks your BP will turn you away before that.

    For the tipping part, I DO PUNISH subpar service with 0-5% tips. I think it’s fair to give something since you DO receive some sort of bad service. I do feel bad sometimes because they get unrealistic minimum wage and tips are expected to be part of the package.

  57. @ Bob Trial: Why write that on the receipt? Why not just man-up and call the manager over to have a conversation with him/her in person? Writing it on the receipt is passive-aggressive. Be direct, my man. The restaurant will better understand the context and can have a dialogue with you about expectations, and it gives them a chance to apologize or make it right.

    I’ve eaten breakfast at that Bobby Van’s a few years ago, and while I remember going there, I don’t remember the breakfast being memorable at all.

  58. lol this is so America. Gets yelled at by the restaurant staff and still gives a tip. I would suggest taking money OFF the bill for the rude behavior and bad food….

  59. Dear Friends, I went with my partner to Bobby Vans on July the 1st (2018) because there s NOWHERE to access if you have Priority Pass at JFK no matter what terminal you are (Alaska Lounge for expample, had this pathetic fake sign “Overcrowded – No Priority Pass accepted by the moment – Sorry for the inconvenience” but a customer going out told me it was half empty. I spent 3 hours trying to Access a lounge and it was not posible. There were these 2 aggressive hosts saying “usd 28 per person DRINKS excluded”. I can be a very aggresive person my self, so I talked to this guy in a very bad manner and he calmed down then. The food was great in a way….But the truth is that Priority Pass is NOT accepted for lounges at JFK. Cheers from Buenos Aires. Guillermo

  60. Folks, there are far nastier things to deal with when traveling to the US than the tipping policies. They are an anachronism from the 19th century like many others still alive today. I look at those with open curiosity as they allow me a glimpse into bygone times, just like tourists go to Europe and look buildings centuries old.

    A few habits of tipping I – and to the best of my knowledge – the service personnel found helpful:

    I do not include tips in the credit card charge but leave it in cash or in certain situations as a personal check.

    I adjust the amount tipped more to the time than the amount spent. When I sit somewhere more than an hour for lunch and just have a salad and a coffee for $10 then I would still leave at least a $5 tip. But having a $100 half bottle of champagne along with it would not automatically increase that tip to $30.

    I do reduce the tipped amount for bad service but I make a difference between a server with an attitude (which always yields -0-) and someone overworked because the place just has one server for 15 tables. Both is however very rare, maybe 1-2 out of 100 times.

    * Far more * common though is that I return the food because I find it unacceptable and leave the restaurant without paying much or at all. Particularly in so-called steakhouses. In this case I leave a tip with the server as a personal check in an amount reflective of what I had ordered, to make sure the tip does not get misappropriated by the mgmt. The servers have no control over the quality of the food and its preparation and should not be held personally liable for shortcomings in the kitchen and mgmt.

    As always, YMMV

  61. If you saw it was going to be a bad experience from the start why did you even stay? And if it was such a horrendous experience why didn’t you speak to a manager? I’m not saying the hosts were right but that just set off a bad tone to your overall experience. Instead of spending your time writing this negative post about a restaurant you could’ve taken a few minutes to speak to a manager and possibly have your experience redeemed and saved others from being treated the same way

  62. Why should I tip more in NYC compared to other cities in the USA? Because a living is more expensive? Food generally is more expensive as well so the same % tip will yield a bigger $ tip…

    In any case, I agree that basic salaries should suffice for living and a tip is what it is used for: to thank someone for an extraordanary job. If it becomes part of the expectation, it’s basically a VAT.

  63. Just visited Bobby Van’s in T8 recently (April 2019). No scan of boarding pass requested. My general take– the restaurant is poorly managed. Maybe a little understaffed, or employees not well trained, as everything took a long time even simple things like getting the bill. Sitting at the bar and waiting for my to-go order (so I could eat at the gate / on the plane), I could see that orders/requests are not communicated, written down, or prioritized effectively. So that explains the service. Also no dedicated host/hostess, so often it was unmanned and guests would stand around not sure what to do (and sometimes leave as no staff would take notice).

    That being said I think it’s still a decent value for Priority Pass. $28 is more than enough for a simple meal, even a meal + appetizer. Food quality is average, portion size good. I did end up tipping some amount, but no circles on my receipt (maybe because it was to-go and not expected?).

  64. I’d suggest 18-20%. Bad service? Tell management and don’t return. Voluntary tipping in areas with foreign travelers who are used to having it incorporated into the bill is a recipe for bad service.

  65. As of Aug 1, 2019 they no longer have the $28 perk for Priority Pass thru Amex Platinum at Bobby Van at Terminal 8 JFK.

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