OTG Offers Sneak Peek of New United Terminal at IAH

March 8, 2017
Check out what OTG and United have in store for Houston when the new terminal opens this month.

Restaurants and retail operator OTG Management and United Airlines recently partnered to offer a pre-opening preview of the new Terminal C North at Houston’s George Bush Intercontinental Airport. The new 265,000-square-foot terminal is scheduled to open in mid-March.

OTG wants to offer passengers a better experience at their gates by offering great views of the tarmac, a variety of comfortable seating, expanded shopping and locally themed restaurants.

James Beard award winner Chef Chris Shepherd, owner of Houston’s Underbelly, created the terminal’s flagship restaurant Embers, which will feature hand-cut steaks, burgers, seafood and locally sourced produce. It also has an open kitchen, a wood fired grill and an attached Texas-themed Cibo Express retail store. The top of the restaurant features a spray of 5,000 bronze stars.

The renderings of Ember looked like photos of the finished product, said OTG CEO Rick Blatstein. “I held this project to a high bar, and it was even better than I imagined,” he said. “Everything's bigger in Texas, and this restaurant represents that very well.”

Guests were treated to food and craft cocktails from the terminal’s new Houston restaurants Vida Taqueria by Chef Roland Laurenzo; Pala, a pizza concept by Chef Ryan Pera; Bam Bam, Vietnamese-cajun fusion cuisine by Chef John Nguyen; Olio, a panini eatery by Chef Monica Pope; and Shepherd’s Ember.

The passenger seating in Terminal C-North is a major upgrade from what travelers usually expect, said Blatstein. “If you look at airport seating now, the chairs are all lined up and the people sitting in them look like they are getting ready for a root canal,” he observed.

But Terminal C-North is different because it has seating that’s more like a lounge, said Blatstein. “We have upper and lower lounge-style seating at the gates and that’s part of the experience. People like it and actually want to stay,” he noted.

All the seats have access to outlets, USB ports and OTG’s ubiquitous iPads, where travelers can order food, read news and play games. “We can sit with our  legs in a natural position under the table. There's space under the chairs and next to you for your rollerboards,” said Blatstein.

As OTG celebrates its 21st anniversary, there’s more to come, said Blatstein. “American Airlines’ Philadelphia International Airport Terminal B is under construction now in phases and will be completed in the next 18 months,” he said. “And as we work to complete Newark, we might sneak in a couple of new things we haven’t announced yet.”

It’s important that OTG represent the cities that it is in, said Blatstein. “The airport is the doorstep to a community. It’s the first thing you see when you get off the plane and the last thing you see before you leave,” he observed. “So it’s important that we echo that city’s vibe and tastes and I think we are capturing that with our projects.”