The Plane Truth

Fly dining: New celebrity chef restaurant to open in IAH, giving the airport an expansion boost

Fly dining: New celebrity chef restaurant to open in IAH, giving the airport an expansion boost

La Futeria, Mexican food, Bush Intercontinental, IAH, February 2013
A rendering for The Frutería at IAH. Rendering by Ideation Design Group/Courtesy of HMS Host
Johnny Hernandez, chef, La Fruteria, Mexican restaurant, February 2013
Johnny Hernandez, celebrity chef and restaurateur, is about to add airport eateries to his growing empire.  Johnny Hernandez/Facebook
La Futeria, Mexican food, Bush Intercontinental, IAH, February 2013
Johnny Hernandez, chef, La Fruteria, Mexican restaurant, February 2013

San Antonio celebrity chef Johnny Hernandez is expected to make headway in Houston soon: The Houston Chronicle's Greg Morago reports that The Frutería — Botanero is expected to open at George Bush Intercontinental Airport later this year. 

That concept only recently opened in San Antonio's Lone Star Arts District, a green grocer by day selling fresh-pressed juices, fruit cups, tortas, tostadas and salads. At night, the place transforms into a Mexican-style botanero, offering snacks, tapas, antojitos and cocktails.

 The expansion — expected to be complete in late 2013 — will mean a 500 percent increase in concessions.  

According to the San Antonio Express-NewsHMSHost, a provider of airport dining and retail services, approached Hernandez about opening five eateries at the San Antonio International Airport, too, and making other possible entrées into the airports of Dallas, Denver and Boston.

"Hernandez's Houston airport version of The Frutería — Botanero will fill a 1,200-square-foot space and be operational by mid-March," the Express-News writes. "The airport terminal in which the restaurant will be located must open by April 1, [Hernandez said]."

Given context clues, we're guessing that it will open with the first phase of Terminal B, a $1 billion redevelopment project headed up by the Houston Airport System and United Airlines

HAS spokesperson Darian Ward told CultureMap that the first phase of the first phase will open in late March; the rest of the phase one expansion — expected to be complete in late 2013 — will bring with it a 500 percent increase in concessions.

That can only mean good things for domestic travelers, who have previously described the food and drink selection in the terminal as "abysmal."