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Ellie Sharp

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Tour the Newest Food Options in IAH

Delivery straight to the gate

When the new Terminal C North opens for business at George Bush Intercontinental Airport in mid to late March, travelers will have a smorgasbord of dining options thanks to collaborations with five local chefs with five distinct concepts. There’s no need to even leave the gate when hungry or thirsty: nearly 8,000 iPads will be available and severs will deliver food, drinks and other goods directly to the gate if desired. In addition, each location will have an attached “grab and go” shop with selections inspired by the associated eatery. The opening will mark airport hospitality innovator OTG’s Texas debut and take the idea of “airport food” to new heights including a space designed by the Rockwell Group. Layovers never tasted so good.

Restaurant Name: Ember
The players: Chris Shepherd (One Fifth, Underbelly, The Haymerchant)
The details: Find a mix of Gulf seafood, hand-cut steaks, burgers, and locally sourced produce at this tavern-style eatery that also features a large selection of draft beers and spirits. Specifics include grilled ricotta salata, smoked chicken wings, spicy Caesar salad, pot roast style short rib, and whole grilled snapper. Spacious digs include a bar, plus lots of tables for spreading out, and a glass-enclosed kitchen; the entire space sits below a canopy of 10,000 bronze stars strung to resemble the curved brim of a cowboy hat.

Pizza at Pala

Restaurant Name: Pala
The players: Ryan Pera (Coltivare, Revival Market)
The details: Travelers can choose from oven-fresh pizzas including a smoked pork pie, Brussels sprouts pie and classics like Margherita and pepperoni plus snack-y fare like figs and prosciutto and meat and cheese plates. Vegetarian options includes salads, marinated peppers, and stuffed portobellos, while desserts range from apple pie to chocolate hazelnut torte. Italian tiles cover the eatery’s signature tower feature and glass shelves for wine and herb boxes line the space. Communal tables flank the space, and painted pizza paddles add extra pizazz.

Restaurant Name: Bam Bam
The players: John Nguyen (Cajun Kitchen)
The details: Bayou flair abounds with signature oyster nachos, Vietnamese-Cajun crawfish boils and lots of po’ boys in a setting highlighted by bamboo columns and rickshaw-style carts. Look for local and regional beers to complement each bite.

Tacos at Vida Taqueria

Restaurant Name: Vida Taqueria
The players: Roland Laurenzo (El Tiempo Cantina)
The details: Tex-Mex favorites run the gamut from tacos and enchiladas to fajitas and fresh seafood plus starters and snacks like guacamole, queso, stuffed jalapeños and ceviche tostadas. Strings of lights add ambiance to the black and blue space punctuated by Mexican folk art and a tiled bar prepped for margaritas, palomas, and cerveza.

Restaurant Name: Olio
The players: Monica Pope
The details: A gourmet panini bar turns out sandwich goodies like mushroom ragu toast, braised short rib with burrata, and bacon cheddar plus tomato basil soup, grilled shrimp butter lettuce salad, and small bites like polenta fries and smashed carrot bruschetta. The blue and green palette represents the freshness of ingredients, and pixelated produce art offers an interactive experience.

Ellie Sharp/EHOU
Shop by Ember
L to R John Nguyen, Ryan Pera, Chris Shepherd, Monica Pope (not pictured Roland Laurenzo)

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