Houstonians traveling through Bush Intercontinental Airport lately know the hub has been a hive of construction, as evidenced by the temporary wooden walls plastered with posters promising that yes, cool things will open soon. Now comes the completion of two new restaurants that should up the ante on airport dining.
El Premio and Forno Magico are now open in the south section of Terminal C. Both are concepts from OTG, a hospitality brand that operates more than 350 restaurants in 10 U.S. airports. These two restaurants were developed by OTG’s vice president of culinary and James Beard Award-winning chef Nate Appleman.
El Premio, located by gate C34, offers a menu of Tex-Mex specialties. Think classic queso and chips and chicken and steak fajitas. The restaurant is using tortillas for Houston favorite El Tiempo, and the rest of the menu looks to bring new twists to a beloved style. There are selections such as crispy cauliflower made with mole poblano sauce, toasted almonds and cotija cheese, and also jalapeño cheese curds, served with warm spicy tomato sauce.
The interior aesthetic of the restaurant is what its creator call “a modern interpretation of a traditional eclectic Tex-Mex dining experience.” Mexican tiles and custom-designed murals line the walls. The exterior is reclaimed painted barn wood, adding to the casual, rustic vibe El Premio seeks to create. Prices range between $10 and $20, and for travelers who can’t stop and dine in, the restaurant has a grab-and-go counter.
Adjacent to El Premio is Forno Magico, with a menu of Neapolitan pizzas, salads, and small bites. Diners can expect selections like Margherita, pesto, and prosciutto and arugula pizzas, and a wide variety of salads, including a classic Caesar and an antipasti chopped made of radicchio, olives, chickpeas, salami, provolone, radishes and tomatoes. There are also items such as Cauliflower Cacio e Pepe and Burrata and Roasted Peppers served with pizza bread.
Decorated with a black-and-white tiled floor and matching subway tiles on the walls, Forno Magico strikes a modernist Italian vibe. The open kitchen showcases the restaurant’s pizza ovens and whole space is accented with metal and oak touches. Menu prices range between $10 and $20.
El Premio’s and Forno Magico are open daily from 5 am to 10 pm.