USA. Indianapolis Airport Authority has approved six food & beverage contracts, bringing 19 new concepts to Indianapolis International Airport.
HMSHost will open ten dining locations under a 10-year contract valued at approximately US$147 million, while SSP America will open six concession spaces. OHM Group will open three outlets.
The contract awards mark the second round of approvals the airport has made as part of its Concessions Refresh initiative. It was launched in 2016 to address the pending expiration of 43 existing retailer, services, and food & beverage contracts.
A major emphasis has been placed on local concepts and in reflecting Indianapolis’ culture, community, and burgeoning culinary scene, the authority said. The selected operators were chosen from a field of 16 entities.
“Today is yet another culmination of our discussions over the past three years with diverse business vendors, which has resulted in a good mix of locally owned and local products to provide a customer experience that reflects the taste and culture of Indianapolis,” said Indianapolis Airport Authority Executive Director Mario Rodriguez.
Global restaurateur HMSHost will open its new dining locations at the airport in partnership with Airport Concessions Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (ACDBE) programme partners VDV Concessions and Diversified Concessions Group.
The restaurants will start opening this year. Among them is Indiana Pacers Courtside Club, which celebrates the tradition and history of Indiana basketball and hometown NBA (National Basketball Association) team, the Indiana Pacers. The Pacers Club in the airport’s Civic Plaza will feature a lounge inspired by luxury suites and the LightBound Courtside Club at Bankers Life Fieldhouse [the Pacers’ home arena], a showcase pop-a-shot basketball game, and Pacers memorabilia. The concept’s menu will feature legendary Pacers players’ favourite dishes.
Circle City Beer Garden – so-called because of Indianapolis’ nickname – aims to introduce travellers to Indiana’s growing craft beer scene in an outdoor-themed taproom in the Civic Plaza (rendering pictured above). The food menu offers tapas style shareable appetisers such as house popcorn and hand-crafted sandwiches. Several dishes feature local charcuterie company Smoking Goose, the Dorman Street meatery located in downtown Indianapolis.
Indiana-based company Ben’s Soft Pretzels (rendering below) offers handcrafted jumbo soft pretzels based on an Amish-inspired recipe. Located in both Concourses A and B, it will also offer breakfast pretzel roll sandwiches, pretzel dogs, and combo meal options.
HMSHost will also open Indiana’s first Shake Shack location in Concourse B, and four Starbucks Coffee stores (in concourses A and B, the Civic Plaza, and in Baggage Claim).
Circle City News (rendering below) will adjoin Starbucks in Baggage Claim, offering Indianapolis merchandise and retail convenience items.
“We are truly excited to create a reflection of Indianapolis in the airport through authentic dining experiences,” said HMSHost President & CEO Steve Johnson. “HMSHost thanks the Indianapolis Airport Authority and is proud to have this opportunity to serve its travellers with some of the most innovative and popular local and national brands that people love, including Indianapolis’ first Shake Shack restaurant.”
SSP America’s line-up includes local restaurant Harry & Izzy’s, which the company describes as “the very essence of Indianapolis regional gastronomy—a sought out, culinary destination”. SSP will expand the existing Harry and Izzy’s location in Concourse A, to include a larger, full-service bar and additional seating. The Indiana style grill’s menu will highlight premium regional ingredients including succulent steaks from Midwest farms.
Bento Sushi is one of North America’s largest Japanese food companies and was founded in 1996. It offers traditional sushi, speciality rolls and combos prepared with the freshest high quality ingredients as well as made to order poke bowls and other Japanese foods including bento boxes, rice bowls and ramen.
Bento Sushi is located in Concourse A, as is Bub’s Burger – a “veritable Indy institution from Indiana native son Matt Frey”. Bub’s Burgers delivers a modern-day burger joint experience.
Created in partnership with Indiana Grown (the local food-branding initiative for the Indiana State Department of Agriculture), The Farmers’ Market Featuring Indiana Grown aims to showcase Indiana’s rich culinary landscape and the region’s multiple artisans. Located in Concourse B, menus have been created by Indianapolis chef Greg Hardesty.
Sun King Brewing, located in Concourse B, is an Indiana craft brewery founded in 2009. It will feature an array of handcrafted seasonal and speciality beers, alongside core beers like Sunlight Cream Ale, Pachanga Mexican-Style Lager, Wee Mac Scottish-Style Ale, Osiris Pale Ale, and SKB IPA along with tapas and small plate offerings.
HotBox Pizza offers hand crafted, customised pizzas served fresh from the oven in five minutes. There are more than 20 HotBox locations throughout Central Indiana, having grown from a single downtown location in 2004.
“On behalf of the entire SSP America team, we want to thank [the airport authority] for this incredible win,” said SSP America Vice President of Business Development Bob Stanton. “Ours is a strong portfolio of local hometown hero brands and a national brand anchored by a market that showcases the best of the Indiana farm region and an expansion of one of the best restaurants in the country, Harry & Izzy’s.
“[The airport] was just awarded its seventh straight ‘Best Airport in North America’ win by Airports Council International. We are passionate about being part of an airport community that continues to demonstrate the highest standards in our industry, and proud to showcase the very best local restaurants to the passengers.”
OHM Group will open the three other F&B concepts at Indianapolis International as part of the new wave of contracts. These are Social Cantina (Concourse A), Tinker Coffee (concourses A and B and Civic Plaza), and Stacked Pickle (Concourse A), each offering a taste of Indiana.
Additional Concessions Refresh contract approvals will be announced later this year, the Indianapolis Airport Authority said.
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The company also organises the annual Airport Food & Beverage (FAB) Conference & Awards. Last year’s FAB took place on 20-21 June in Helsinki. FAB 2019 will be held at Dallas Fort Worth International Airport on 26-27 June.