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Amtrak Adds 3 New Meals for Acela First Class

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Victoria M. Walker
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Victoria M. Walker

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Victoria holds a B.A. in Broadcast Journalism from the Howard University School of Communications and is an award-winning journalist, travel reporter, and the founder of the “Carrying On with Victoria...
Edited by: Keri Stooksbury
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Keri Stooksbury


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With years of experience in corporate marketing and as the Executive Director of the American Chamber of Commerce in Qatar, Keri is now Editor-in-Chief at UP, overseeing daily content operations and r...

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Anybody who’s ridden the rails in the U.S. — even in Amtrak’s flagship Acela First Class — can attest to train food being less than appetizing.

But Amtrak aims to change that perception, working with new chefs to improve its menu. Now, 3 new dishes are coming to Acela First Class. Here’s what you need to know.

Dishes Rotate Every 3 Weeks

Amtrak is launching 3 new dishes for the Acela First Class dining menu for the fall and winter seasons. The rail company has partnered with James Beard award-winning restaurateur Stephen Starr, who heads the STARR Restaurant Group, in a collaboration that kicked off earlier in 2023.

The new dishes are:

  • Lobster Mac & Cheese: This dish comes from The Continental Mid-town, a Philadelphia eatery
  • Beef Bourguignon: A braised beef stew from Philadelphia’s Parc restaurant
  • Tropez Salad: A salad with cucumbers, feta cheese, couscous, and more from Le Diplomate in Washington, D.C.
Lobster Mac and cheese
Amtrak will soon be serving new meals, such as Lobster Mac & Cheese, in Acela First Class. Image Credit: Amtrak

“Expanding our partnership with the STARR Restaurant Group shows our continued commitment to enhancing the Acela First Class on-board experience,” said Amtrak Executive Vice President and Chief Commercial Officer Eliot Hamlisch.

The 3 meals will rotate every 3 weeks.

Booking Amtrak Acela First Class Tickets

Amtrak’s Acela trains operate on the busy Northeast Corridor line between Washington, D.C.’s Union Station and Boston. The train stops in several major cities along the way, including Baltimore, Philadelphia, and New York.

What’s different about Acela is that it’s an all-business and first-class train — there are no economy seats. Business class seats are primarily arranged in a comfortable 2-2 configuration, while some seats in first are 1-1. The first class car has its own dedicated attendant who prepares meals and takes drink orders, similar to what you’d find on a commercial airplane.

Acela — whether it’s business or first — is known to be expensive, and some one-way tickets can cost as much as $500. There are ways to ease the sting of the cost, such as taking advantage of Amtrak’s Night Owl sale or its frequent flash sales (which excludes Amtrak first). You can also use Amtrak Guest Rewards points, which we value between 0.8 to 3 cents per point, to pay for a ticket.

Final Thoughts

Amtrak is improving the passenger experience by investing in new meals on its flagship Acela First Class product. There are some exciting options — including meals for vegetarians — that business and leisure travelers will appreciate. We hope Amtrak will continue to improve its onboard products!

Victoria M. Walker's image

About Victoria M. Walker

Victoria holds a B.A. in Broadcast Journalism from the Howard University School of Communications and is an award-winning journalist, travel reporter, and the founder of the “Carrying On with Victoria M. Walker” newsletter.


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