United Airlines and OTG today announced plans to further expand the dining and retail experience in United’s Terminals at George Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston. The new concepts in Terminals C-South and E are expected to offer locally sourced ingredients to the two million United customers passing through each month.
In addition to re-imagining the customer experience in United’s new C-North Terminal as previously announced, OTG will add eight additional new restaurants in Terminals C-South and E, all inspired by local Houston chefs and flavors. OTG’s award-winning flo tech, featured across nearly 8,000 iPads situated at restaurants and gate lounges throughout all three terminals will also be seamlessly integrated into the customer experience. While C-North is slated to open in March 2017, these new plans for C-South and E are expected to be completed in the second half of 2017.
“We continue to improve the customer experience for travelers at our Houston hub,” said Gavin Molloy, United’s vice president of corporate real estate. “The additional dining and retail options planned for Terminals C-South and E, combined with the offerings we’ll feature in our brand-new Terminal C-North, will provide an unparalleled ‘taste of Houston’ for local travelers and visitors alike.”
“Our team at OTG has been working hard for months to bring Houston a re-imagined terminal experience at Bush Intercontinental,” said Rick Blatstein, OTG’s chief executive officer. “With the announcement of these expanded concepts, we are one step closer to making that a reality for Houston’s travelers.”
Chef-Led Dining with Distinctive Houston Flavor: Plans for the terminals include a variety of new dining venues with notable chefs developing the restaurant concepts and menus. They include:
• “Magnolia Meatball Shop” by Chef Christopher Williams: an intimately scaled venue that will offer a fresh twist on a classic comfort food and draw design inspiration from the chef’s table concept. Christopher spent his early years learning from his great-grandmother, Lucille Bishop Smith. She owned U.S. Smith’s Famous BBQ in Fort Worth where she published sets of recipes for home cooks and served her famous chili biscuits to such notables as Martin Luther King, Jr. and Eleanor Roosevelt. Along with his brother Ben, Chris co-founded Lucille’s Restaurant, introducing many of their grandmother’s recipes and philosophies to a modern Houston audience.
• “Agave” by Restauranteur Sharon Haynes: an authentic and casual taqueria, with a focus on high-quality, minimally seasoned steak, chicken and mixed veggie fajitas. Sharon Haynes opened Taco A Go Go in Houston in 2006. Her inspiration was that the right combination of a rockabilly vibe, old-school Mexican kitsch and simple, no-nonsense food made from scratch would put a unique Texas twist on the typical taco shop.
• “H-Burger” by Chef Antoine Ware: a “ranch-to-table” restaurant offering a menu of local, fresh and natural dishes with a Houston spin. Chef Antoine Ware‘s New Orleans culinary roots create a unique dining experience that feels close to home. Ware grew up in the hardscrabble Ninth Ward of New Orleans, where he learned the art of classic Creole cuisine at some of that city’s most celebrated restaurants.
• “Q” by Chef Greg Gatlin: will feature traditional southern barbeque staples. With his mom Mary’s welcoming charm and family recipes in the kitchen, Gatlin has quickly become a power player in Houston’s barbecue scene. In just a couple of years, his restaurant has been cited by publications such as Texas Monthly and Food & Wine magazine. Q will feature fresh-smoked meats crafted with a custom-built smoker, and complemented with signature rubs.
• “Gavi” by Chef Ryan Pera: a uniquely Houston take on Italian cuisine featuring a combination of local foods and traditional family recipes. House-made pizza, pasta, and antipasti will be served, paired with a wine bar offering a wide selection of wines by the glass as well as crafted cocktails. Chef Pera first appeared on the Houston food scene in 2003 as Chef de Cuisine at the Four Seasons Hotel Houston. Ryan next became the Executive Chef at the celebrated 17 Restaurant in the Alden Hotel, where his food was the “must have” meal for anyone in the city who enjoyed fine dining. “Gavi” will be Chef Pera’s second concept at the airport joined by “Pala” featuring seasonal pizzas using local ingredients and sustainable practices.
• “Yume” by Chefs Chris Kinjo & Mike Tran: a sushi exhibition kitchen and ramen bar with an Asian Biergarten that will focus on local and Japanese-sourced ingredients paired with rotating selections of international beers and imported sake. Chris Kinjo has been in the hospitality business for over 25 years, where his passion and dedication for making sushi has made him one of the leading sushi chefs in America. Mike Tran saw the ramen boom coming and brings a unique level of culinary insight on a dish that is much more than just noodles. His Houston restaurant Tiger Den is packed with eager patrons waiting to taste his long list of yakitori and famous ramen.
• “Tanglewood Grille” by Chefs Seth Siegel-Gardner & Terrence Gallivan: will serve inspiring dishes, including hand-cut steaks, build-your-own burgers, fresh seafood, and farm-to-table greens. Patrons can enjoy classic cocktails and a variety of craft brews. The chefs met while developing Maze at the London Hotel in New York City and formed an immediate bond. Collectively, the two chefs have worked in some of the industry’s most well-known and respected kitchens taking food from ordinary to extraordinary.
• “Beerhive”: focused on locally sourced small and large batch brews, Beerhive’s menu will be comprised of bar-favorites including an array of bar pies, sandwiches, salads and more, each created to pair with the finely curated assortment of beers by both bottle and draft.
Previously-announced venues to be located in the new C North Terminal planned to open in early 2017 include:
• “Vida Taqueria” by Chef Roland Laurenzo
• “Pala” by Chef Ryan Pera
• “Bam Bam” by Chef John Nguyen
• “Olio” by Chef Monica Pope
• “Ember” by Chef Chris Shepherd
Innovative Design and Leading-Edge Technology:
As in Terminal C-North, Terminals C-South and E will feature innovative design by world-renowned architecture and design firm Rockwell Group. Their cutting-edge transformation of the dining and retail spaces will include “social media moments” to provide an eye catching backdrop for travelers to snap and share photos of their travel experience.
Nearly 8,000 iPads, equipped with OTG’s award-winning customer experience platform flo®, will accompany new forward-thinking concept designs, allowing customers to order food, retail and other amenities and have it delivered to their seat, whether within a restaurant or at their boarding gate.
United and OTG have collaborated to enhance benefits for United MileagePlus members at Bush Intercontinental as well, now enabling members to use award miles to purchase items at select CIBO Express Gourmet Markets.
OTG has already rolled out several new concepts across Terminals E, B-South and C-South, including two Tagliare’s, a World Nectar, Republic Grille and seven of OTG’s award-winning CIBO Express Gourmet Markets. The markets feature locally sourced and inspired items from small businesses throughout Houston and the surrounding area.