Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises opens first airport restaurant
Chicago – O’Hare International Terminal 5’s concessions program is taking off with the debut of two new Chicago favorites. Locally based Vosges Haut Chocolat invites passengers to travel the world through chocolate, and Chicago’s Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises marks its first airport restaurant with the opening of Big Bowl. When complete, the massive Terminal 5 transformation by Westfield will bring 15 new dining and retail brands, cutting edge design and new passenger amenities throughout.
“With the openings of Vosges Haut Chocolat and Big Bowl, international travelers will get a taste of two Chicago favorites,” said Rosemarie S. Andolino, Commissioner, Chicago Department of Aviation (CDA). “It’s vital that Chicago based businesses can provide travelers with top quality cuisine while creating jobs and helping the local economy.”
“These incredible new offerings from Vosges and Big Bowl showcase Westfield’s commitment to providing travelers with a first class experience while at Terminal 5,” said Dominic Lowe, Executive Vice President, Westfield.
With Executive Chef Marc Bernard and Creative Director Patricia Yeo at the helm, the 800 square foot Big Bowl invites Terminal 5 travelers to explore the flavors of China and Thailand with a broad menu featuring potstickers, noodle and stir fry dishes, salads, cocktails with fresh squeezed juice, and more. An ardent supporter of using local purveyors, Big Bowl sources ingredients for its dishes from local farms such as Rustic Road (Elburn, IL); Kinnikinnick (Caledonia, IL); and Growing Home, a leading social enterprise focused on providing transitional employment with Chicago’s first USDA certified organic, high production urban farms. Big Bowl is also the first restaurant at O’Hare to carry local spirits, with a bar menu featuring FEW Spirits (Evanston, IL); as well as beer from Chicago based Revolution Brewing and Goose Island.
The 355 square foot Vosges “Purple House” boutique offers luxury chocolate creations using the finest ingredients from around the world. Embark on a trip around the world with chocolate bars such as the Oaxaca, with guajillo and pasilla chilis and Tanzanian bittersweet chocolate; Exotic Truffle Collections; caramels; baking mixes; and more. Under its Green Purchasing Oath, the chocolatier selects ingredients with sustainable merit and uses packaging made of 100% post consumer recycled materials.
“I am excited about the new International Terminal because of the green and sustainable requirements that the Commissioner has made obligatory to all concessionaires and to be representing the local Chicago artisanal movement,” said Katrina Markoff, founder and CEO of Vosges Haut Chocolat. “Green and craftsmanship is where Chicago is at now and it’s great to see some of that in the new terminal.”
The Terminal 5 Big Bowl is operated by Areas RHHG ORD, LLC and its Chicago based joint venture partner, Dee Robinson Reid of Robinson Hill, Inc., tenant partners of Westfield providing food and beverage offerings within T5.
“Waiting for a flight could start to look a lot more like date night as we upgrade T5,” said Xavier Rabell, CEO of Areas USA, a leading provider of food and beverage, news and gifts and specialty retailers in more than 70 airports worldwide. “Arriving early at the airport is a lot more fun when a traveler can pass through security and enjoy an expertly prepared meal in a bowl, a hand shaken premium margarita, or a slow simmered cazuela on the other side.”
“Big Bowl and Vosges are just the beginning of a complete re imagining of the dining experience in T5 into a more traveler friendly destination, with new brands, a new layout and new vitality,” said Dee Robinson Reid, President of the award winning food & beverage and news & gift provider Robinson Hill, Inc. “Travelers are seeing some of the changes already. In the months to come, we look forward to delighting our airport guests, one delicious experience after another.”
The openings of Big Bowl and Vosges Haut Chocolat follow the recent debut of award winning Chef Rick Bayless’ critically acclaimed Tortas Frontera – the first new restaurant to open at Terminal 5 in over 20 years. The 1,857 square foot space is the first dine in airport location for Frontera, but also offers to go service. Other recent openings include shops from iconic Swiss watchmaker Swatch, Hudson News and Dufry – all located post security to enhance the traveler experience.
With Westfield’s redevelopment of the Terminal 5 concessions program well underway, travelers have already experienced significant upgrades to the news and gift, duty free and food and beverage operations. Previously, 95 percent of the terminal’s dining and retail options were located pre security, making it difficult for passengers to access dining and shopping while waiting for flights. The redeveloped terminal will offer a re engineered layout, including a new TSA checkpoint and a Europeanstyle pass through duty free shop, to enhance the traveler experience.