Restaurant Development & Design

September-October 2017

restaurant development + design is a user-driven resource for restaurant professionals charged with building new locations and remodeling existing units.

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1 4 • r e s t a u r a n t d e v e l o p m e n t + d e s i g n • S E P T E M B E R / O C T O B E R 2 0 1 7 TREND Elevated Airport Fare Terminal C-North Location: George Bush Intercontinental Airport, Houston Concepts: 5 local chef-driven operations Developed by: OTG Management New York-based airport hospitality firm OTG Management is behind some of the industry's most alluring examples of where modern airports and dining venues within them are headed. A case in point is George Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston. OTG is developing four terminals there that just might have you wishing for a longer layover. United's new Terminal C-North is the first to be completed, and it's a culinary, tech and design showstopper. "All told, we're deploying 8,000 iPads for the program, and we're bringing in great restaurants and chefs from the Houston market," says Justin Blatstein, OTG's director of aura. "In Terminal C- North, we have more than 1,500 iPads — one at every restaurant seat and many throughout the gate areas." Concepts developed with top Houston chefs include Olio, a gourmet panini bar whose design features an interactive pixelated overhead art instal- lation. "It appears blurred, but when you hold your phone up to it, the image comes into focus," Blatstein says. "It's one of many social media moments incorporated in restaurants throughout the terminal." Upscale Neapolitan pizza stars at Pala, a collaboration with Ryan Pera of Houston's Coltivare Pizza & Garden and Revival Market. Its 700-degree pizza oven reaches the ceiling and features nearly 30 unique Italian tile designs. And at Vida Taqueria by El Tiempo Cantina chef-owner Roland Laurenzo, travelers can enjoy authentic Tex-Mex cuisine and craft tequilas under hun- dreds of twinkling lights. Visitors with a taste for Texas beef can visit Ember for celebrated Hous- ton chef — and recipient of the 2014 James Beard Best Chef: Southwest Award — Chris Shepherd's menu of hand-cut steaks and fresh Gulf seafood. Situated at the entrance to the terminal, Ember's dramatic design provides a Texas-size wow factor. "The ceilings are 35 feet high. We really wanted to create a moment the second you step into the terminal to show that it's something different," Blatstein says. "Hovering over Ember is a design element, loosely in the shape of a cowboy hat, made from more than 6,000 copper stars." Inside, guests can settle into tufted red leather banquettes or take a seat in front of the large, glass-enclosed display kitchen. That element, Blatstein says, would once have been considered impos- A ir travel may be more cramped and less hospitable than ever, but what passengers have lost in terms of the on-board experi- ence is being more than made up for on the ground. Modern airports are becom- ing oases where travelers with time to kill can relax and enjoy all manner of goods and services, from massages and manicures to high-tech workstations, wine bars, specialty coffee shops, play parks, art exhibits and even pet patios. And they can dine — oh, can they dine. Along with traditional concessions and familiar restaurant chains, airports are bringing finer dining, often developed by award-winning local and regional chefs, into the mix. Here's a taste. BY DANA TANYERI, Senior Contributing Editor Ember guests can settle into tufted red leather banquettes or take a seat in front of the glass-enclosed kitchen with wood-burning grill, a feature that once would have been considered impossible to incorporate in an airport setting. Photo courtesy of OTG Management

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