vote 86ed ... for now
Houston City Council tables controversial Pappas Restaurants-Hobby Airport vote
Houston City Council tabled the crucial vote that will determine that fate of Pappas Restaurants at Hobby Airport on Wednesday, March 1. By rule, that "tag" from City Council means the vote will take place next week.
City Council Member Abbie Kamin (District C) tagged the vote; three yes votes were not present at council on Wednesday, City of Houston sources tell CultureMap.
"I tagged the item, along with Council Member Gallegos, to allow more time for consideration to ensure this item isn't rushed," Kamin tells CultureMap via email. "There were multiple Council Members absent today, and it is important that they are able to vote on this item as well."
That means a wait for the longtime and beloved Houston family restaurant empire as a proposed concessions contract would end the Pappas' 20-year run at Hobby.
As CultureMap food editor Eric Sandler previously reported, the 10-year, $470 million dollar deal is with Areas, a subsidiary of the Spain-based Areas SAU, which operates concessions in more than 80 airports worldwide and nine in the United States.
Pappas' potential end doesn't mean an end to local restaurants at Hobby. The proposed deal would see restaurants such as Killen’s Barbecue, SpindleTap Brewery, Thoroughgood Coffee, and Galveston’s The Spot coming to the airport, — as well as national chains such as Raising Cane’s and Longhorn Steakhouse.
Eliciting public support, Pappas Restaurants launched a social media campaign — dubbed #SaveOurPappas — calling on supporters to urge Houston City Council to reject the controversial contract.
Christina Pappas or Pappas Restaurant told Sandler that the company has concerns about how city scored the bids to determine the winner. The company’s proposal includes many of its popular restaurants, including Pappasito’s, Pappas Burger, Pappadeaux, and Pappas Delta Blues Smokehouse. It also includes local bakery the Original Kolache Shoppe and Chick-fil-A.
“We’re asking for transparency. We’re asking to look at the score cards,” she said. “We’re asking to see what the numbers look like. We’re asking why one of the RFPs was abruptly canceled. We’re asking that council is provided with all the information they need to make the decision that’s best for the City of Houston.”
The city has declined requests to release the scoring sheets, the Chroniclereports.
Mayor Sylvester Turner and Pappas went back and forth on Tuesday, February 28 over the deal — and even food-related semantics — CultureMap news partner ABC13 reports.
"The structure of the rent that the city is asking is different. It is not apples to apples, sir. It is not apples to apples, so if you're trying to make it apples to apples, our current contract versus what's in the bid, they're not made the same way. It's an apple and an orange," Pappas said to Turner.
"No, it's not," Turner responded. "I know apples and apples, and I know apples and oranges, and I know oranges and oranges," Turner responded. "But since you are criticizing the numbers, and you are here, let's deal with them."
Now, it seems City Council will deal with the apples and oranges involved with this crucial vote next week.
Eric Sandler contributed to this article.