The dining scene has significantly improved at Bush Intercontinental Airport with the official grand opening of Hugo's Cocina and Landrys on Tuesday, along with such favorites as Hubcap Grill, Pink's Pizza, Ray's BBQ Shack, Breakfast Klub and 3rd Bar Oyster and Eating House serving passengers at the various IAH terminals.
Now comes more good culinary news as United Airlines and airport restaurant management company OTG have announced eight additional restaurants planned for Terminals C-South and E, all inspired by Houston chefs and flavors. The new restaurants join five previously announcd eateries from top Houston chefs slated to debut in March in Terminal C-North. Thousands of iPads will be situated throughout the terminals so passengers can place orders and have food delivered at the restaurant, the gate or other airport locations.
The new restaurants include an illustrious array of Houston chefs and restaurateurs, including The Pass & Provisions creators Seth Siegel-Gardner and Terrence Gallivan, Tacos A Go Go founder Sharon Haynes, barbecue whiz Greg Gatlin, Lucille's co-founder Christopher Williams, and top chefs Antoine Ware, Ryan Pera, Chris Kinjo and Mike Tran.
With a lineup like this, perhaps we won't be as upset if our plane is delayed at IAH for a few hours. A round-up of the new offerings, which are expected to open by the end of this year, include:
• Magnolia Meatball Shop (Terminal C South) promises a fresh twist on classic comfort food from Christopher Williams, who spent his early years learning from his great-grandmother, Lucille Bishop Smith, the owner of U.S. Smith’s Famous BBQ in Fort Worth. According to a press release, Smith served her famous chili biscuits to such notables as Martin Luther King, Jr. and Eleanor Roosevelt.
• Agave (Terminal C South) is a casual taqueria with a focus on high-quality, minimally seasoned steak, chicken and mixed veggie fajitas. It is the brainchild of Sharon Haynes, who opened Tacos A Go Go in 2006 and Fajitas A Go Go in 2016.
• H-Burger Bar (Terminal C South) is a “ranch-to-table” restaurant offering a menu of local, fresh and natural dishes with a Houston spin from chef Antoine Ware (Harold's in the Heights), who grew up in the Ninth Ward of New Orleans, where he learned the art of classic Creole cuisine at celebrated restaurants.
• Q (Terminal E) features traditional southern barbeque staples from chef Greg Gatlin, a power player in Houston’s barbecue scene. Look for fresh-smoked meats crafted with a custom-built smoker and complemented with signature rubs.
• Gavi (Terminal E) offers chef Ryan Pera's (Coltivare) uniquely Houston take on Italian cuisine, featuring a combination of local foods and traditional family recipes. Pera also will open a previously announced pizza place calles Pala in Terminal C North.
• Yume (Terminal E), 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, comes from leading sushi chef Chris Kinjo (MF Sushi) and ramen master Mike Tran, the creator of Houston restaurant Tiger Den.
• Tanglewood Grille (Terminal E), from chefs Seth Siegel-Gardner and Terrence Gallivan, plans to specialize in hand-cut steaks, build-your-own burgers, fresh seafood, and farm-to-table greens.
• Beerhive (Terminal E), will focus on locally sourced small and large batch brews, with a menu of bar pies, sandwiches, salads and more, each created to pair with the curated assortment of beers by both bottle and draft.
In addition to these new restaurants, previously announced venues, all in the new C North Terminal, will include concepts from Pera, Roland Laurenzo, John Nguyen, Monica Pope and Chris Shepherd.
The design for all of the restaurants, by the architecture and design firm Rockwell Group, will include spaces known as “social media moments” to provide an eye-catching backdrop for travelers to snap and share photos of their travel experience.