Coffee bar with local origins is latest enhancement for international travelers
CHICAGO, July 23, 2013 — Areas USA, Inc., the airport concessions giant that is transforming terminals nationwide, announces the opening of Kofe Powered by Intelligentsia in Terminal 5 of O’Hare International Airport. It’s the first coffee bar in Terminal 5, part of a massive reboot by Areas and joint venture partner Robinson Hill, Inc., designed to enhance food and beverage options for international travelers.
Areas and Robinson Hill specialize in modernizing tired airport concessions with vibrant options that offer more variety and healthier menu options. Kofe, pronounced “coffee,” is the result of a collaboration between Areas and Chicago-based Intelligentsia Coffee & Tea, Inc., which, since 1995, has established itself as the choice of connoisseurs. Intelligentsia doesn’t just buy its coffee from an importer; it’s on the ground in 20 countries, helping to cultivate the most sublime coffee beans grown in East Africa, Central America, South America and Indonesia, and roasting them at home to release each nuance of flavor and aroma.
“Cosmopolitan travelers know good coffee from bad, and nowhere is a great cup more appreciated than when you’re far from home. Air travel isn’t only about getting to your destination; it is about enjoying the journey,” said Oscar Hernandez, Vice President of Airport Operations for Areas USA. “We are proud to be presenting a Chicago brand that will please even the most discerning palates coming through Terminal 5.”
Kofe Powered by Intelligentsia will initially showcase a Yirgacheffe coffee with notes of jasmine and lemongrass from southern Ethiopia. Heirloom varietals from other regions will rotate through Kofe in subsequent months.
“As an airport concessions operator, Kofe Powered by Intelligentsia represents the perfect blend of local focus and international flair,” said Dee Robinson Reid, President, Robinson Hill, Inc. “Frequent international travelers will appreciate the variety and the fact the beans, from exotic regions around the world, are ground in Chicago. Because Kofe is the only coffee retailer in T5, it is vital that the concept remain consistent and fresh. We’re not taking anything for granted.”
Like eight other dining outposts slated to open in T5 this year, Kofe will be located past security checkpoints within a comfortable distance of ticketed passengers’ gates. Previously, 95 percent of the terminal’s dining and retail options were located before security checkpoints.
A European-style standing-room bar, Kofe was conceived for travelers on tight schedules. It will sell a house blend and Black Cat espresso by the cup and in 12-ounce bags. Souvenir mugs will be available for purchase.
“We work hard to get coffee from the tree to the table as fast as possible,” said Stephen Morrissey, Director of Communications for Intelligentsia. “You can taste the difference in coffee harvested at its peak. We want to make that first sip transcendent for T5 travelers.”
Areas USA and Robinson HiIl scout for restaurants and talent homegrown in the cities surrounding each airport where it transforms concessions. In April, Terminal 5 opened Tortas Frontera, the fast-casual Mexican concept from world-renowned chef Rick Bayless. It was the first new restaurant in Terminal 5 since it opened in 1993, setting the course for nine new dining introductions over the next several months.
Next is a spinoff of Chicago’s hip trattoria Tocco. Chef Bruno Abate’s airport outpost is scheduled to open in September. Areas USA and Robinson Hill also are working with the City Colleges of Chicago’s Washburn Culinary Institute to provide jobs for students.
“Areas USA intends to make each dining discovery in Terminal 5 a memorable treat,” Hernandez said. “We want to give these international travelers something to write home about — and to revisit on their return.”