TravelCenters of America Turns Up the Heat With New Chef

Maira Isabel to create new, healthy menu items
Maira Isabel TravelCenters of America
Photograph courtesy of TravelCenters of America

TravelCenters of America (TA) has revealed that it is further improving its restaurants with a new corporate executive chef, Maira Isabel.

“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 of hospitality at TA. “Every culinary decision will be focused on ensuring we deliver on our mission of returning every traveler to the road better than they came.”

Isabel plans to add healthy food offerings while integrating food trends and regional specialties into the menus of TA’s Country Pride and Iron Skillet restaurants.

  • TravelCenters of America is No. 29 on CSP’s 2023 Top 40 Update to the 2022 Top 202 ranking of U.S. c-store chains by store count. Watch for the full 2023 Top 202 in June.

TA will continue supporting the health and well-being of all travelers through its collaboration with Cleveland Clinic. Isabel’s menus will offer healthy meal options approved by Cleveland Clinic, 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.

“Cleveland Clinic recognizes the power of nutritious food in supporting optimal health,” TA said on its website. “Identifying those foods that help you feel your best can be a challenge, but we want to help make those choices easier.”

Before moving to the United States, Isabel was a chef and on-air talent for multiple television shows and was the Puerto Rico hostess of a Travel Channel show, Bizarre Foods. Her career has spanned TV, print and online publications including the Cooking Network, Travel Channel and Food & Beverage Magazine, and she is also 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 for all travelers and a destination spot for the community with unique food options in a casual, 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.

TravelCenters of America, a publicly traded, full-service travel center network, has 280 locations in 44 states and Canada, 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 (QSR), travel stores, car and truck parking and other services. The company operates more than 600 full-service and quick-service restaurants and nine proprietary brands, including Iron Skillet and Country Pride.

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