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Revitalization of IAH Continues With Chef-Driven Restaurants and High-Tech Ordering Systems

United Airlines announced today that its terminals at George Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH), specifically Terminal B South, Terminal C (including the Terminal C north concourse, slated to open next year) and Terminal E, are about to get some major upgrades, including chef-driven dining options. This news comes as previously announced extensions of restaurants such as Hubcap Grill and Hugo's are just on the horizon.

It is in the forthcoming Terminal C North that the most exciting restaurants are planned. They are as follows:

  • El Tiempo chef Roland Laurenzo will develop Vida Taqueria
  • Coltivare’s Ryan Pera is consulting on Alto, a spot for pizzas with local and seasonal toppings Updated 5/16/2016, 3:05 p.m.: Lindsey Brown, the public relations representative for Coltivare, wrote to say that the name of this concept is changing and discussions on that are in-progress. 
  • Chef John Nguyen of Cajun Kitchen will have a "Vietnamese gastropub" called Bam Bam
  • Acclaimed trailblazer chef Monica Pope (whose Sparrow Bar + Cookshop recently closed) is developing Panini Bar, which will feature local ingredients
  • James Beard award-winning chef Chris Shepherd of Underbelly is consulting on a “Houston-focused tavern” called Ember

The latest announced upgrades are a team effort that includes the Rockwell Group, which is overseeing the design and architecture of the dining and retail spaces.

Also involved is OTG, a firm that operates more than 200 restaurant and retail locations in 11 airports across North America. It’s already operating a few spots in Terminal E, specifically CIBO Express Gourmet Markets, which focuses on healthy food options, and Republic Grille.

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One of the services OTG specializes in is supplying travelers with iPads in the dining areas. From these, a feature called “2U” allows visitors to order food, drinks and even merchandise, and it will be delivered to them at the restaurant or even to their gate. The iPads even offer movies and other entertainment options, which sounds similar to United Airline’s recent rollout of “Personal Device Entertainment,” which lets travelers watch movies via Wi-Fi once they’re in the air.

The renovations promised include “world-class shopping” and redesigned gate areas. Another added service will be “farm-to-terminal” offerings from Houston suppliers.

A PDF with maps and more details can be found below. The upgrades will likely encourage travelers to fly in and out of George Bush Intercontinental Airport whenever the airfare and destination options make it feasible to do so.

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