Bistrot: local quality and international success

From Autogrill and UNISG a concept with an innovative and sustainable vision of catering

Outcome of the partnership between Autogrill and the Università degli Studi di Scienze Gastronomiche di Pollenzo, Bistrot represents a new way of catering: sustainable, attentive to local traditions and artisanal quality. A new-generation concept with an integrated vision of all the elements  - from the decor to the menu proposals – that have a specific relevance and contribute to creating the soul of this concept in responding to the dietary challenges of the future.

Structured like a modern urban market, Bistrot promotes local products and recipes, sustaining the short food supply chain and local producers and bringing back the artistry of craftsmanship with an in-store pasta and bread workshop open to full viewing by the customers. A stop in a Bistrot restaurant offers the traveler an experience in wine and food characterized by authentic flavors and age-old craftsmanship respecting local culinary traditions and using seasonal ingredients.

In anticipation of the upcoming openings in France and North America, Bistrot arrives in 2016 for the first time in a motorway location in the historic service area Autogrill of Fiorenzuola d'Arda, the first in the world ever with a bridge-style structure.

The beginning: Bistrot Milano Centrale

The first place to open with a Bistrot sign was inaugurated in 2013 inside the central train station of Milan, in what was once the third class waiting room. In a "non-place" par excellence, according to the definition coined by Marc Augé, Bistrot gives travelers a quality break by offering bread and pizza naturally leavened with sourdough, dishes from Lombardy's regional tradition like mondeghili meatballs as well as locally produced products selected in collaboration with UNISG and coffee brewed in the traditional Neapolitan coffee pot.


All in a warm and welcoming environment decorated with environmentally-friendly recycled  materials and equipped with the most modern comforts and digital services. Bistrot's debut was immediately crowned with success when it won the FAB Award for the Best Railway F&B Offer, reaffirmed in 2015 by winning at the Italian Foodservice Awards, at the CNCC Retailer Awards 2015 for Innovation in the Food & Beverage category and in 2016 with the accreditation of “Best brand Identity” in the Retail category at Brand Identity Grand Prix 2016.

The first openings in airports and abroad

After the success of Milano Centrale, in 2014 Bistrot opens for the first time in an airport, with the inauguration in the German airport of Dusseldorf and later in Rome Fiumicino. In 2015 Bistrot makes its way for the first time into an urban location, in the Autogrill flagship store "Il Mercato del Duomo" in Piazza Duomo in Milan. In the same year Bistrot's expansion continues parallel with the international expansion of Autogrill, with an opening in Helsinki International Airport, a key stopover connecting the Baltic region with the Asian continent, closely followed by openings in the Dutch railway station of Utrecht and in the airport of Geneva in Switzerland.



Sustainability and tastes of a territory

For each Bistrot, Autogrill selects suppliers with the collaboration of UNISG to identify local producers of excellence specialized in the agricultural food production of typical territorial products. The criteria for selection are rigorous taking into account the principles of good, healthy and fair food. The gastronomic experience is therefore unique as regards both quality and variety: If the Helsinki traveler can enjoy smoked salmon and sliced reindeer meat, the Utrecht traveler can take away a typical "krentenbollen", a raisin bap stuffed with gouda cheese and at the Bistrot Milano Duomo he can delight his palate with a tasty 'riso al salto' (rice frittata) while in Dusseldorf he can treat himself to an authentic "Curry Wurst", a typical German streetfood speciality.

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UNISG: gastronomic education

The University of the Study of Gastronomic Science in Pollenzo was founded in 2004 by the international Slow Food association, under the guidance of its founder Carlo Petrini with the collaboration of the Piedmont and Emilia-Romagna Regions. UNISG University is a non-state university legally recognized by the Italian State. The university produces gastronomists, new professionals with expertise in the agro-food sector: to this day over 1,600 students have attended or are attending the University.


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