United Airlines and OTG today revealed plans to develop the retail and dining environment and offer in United’s terminals at Houston George Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston, a key location in the airline’s global network.

This will include the creation of restaurants inspired by notable chefs from the region; thousands of iPads equipped with OTG’s customer experience platform, flo; farm-to-terminal offerings from local markets; and spaces designed by leading architecture firm Rockwell Group.

OTG will oversee all food, beverage and retail operations for Terminal B South, Terminal C (including the new C North Concourse which opens in 2017) and Terminal E.

OTG says the new concepts will “elevate the experience” at Houston George Bush Intercontinental

“United is pleased to bring this industry-leading airport experience concept to our Houston hub,” said United Vice President of Corporate Real Estate Gavin Molloy. “The collaboration with OTG will provide exceptional food, beverage and retail options with the comfort and high-tech amenities that travellers today want.”

“Our OTG team is excited about working with United to transform the airline’s terminals at George Bush Intercontinental Airport into a hot spot for wonderful food and great shopping,” said OTG CEO Rick Blatstein. “This will be a brand new airport experience for Houston travellers, including restaurants inspired by local chefs, the addition of modern amenities such as iPads, redesigned gate areas and world-class shopping. We are thrilled to be part of this partnership.”

Cutting edge design: Rockwell Group is adding ‘social media moments’ to the outlet backdrops to grab consumers’ attention while they dine

New concepts have already begun to open with five of OTG’s CIBO Express Gourmet Markets and the Republic Grille, all in Terminal E. The markets feature healthy options and offerings from local suppliers.

Travellers and employees will see the biggest transformation with the opening of the new C North Concourse planned for early next year, said the partners. This will be driven by chef-led concepts with local flavour.

They include:

– Chef Roland Laurenzo will create a Taqueria reminiscent of well-known El Tiempo Cantina. Laurenzo’s mother, Mama Ninfa, is credited with introducing fajitas to the USA via Houston in the 1970s, according to OTG.

– Chef Ryan Pera will bring local, seasonal pizzas to the terminal, a reflection of sustainable practices as demonstrated at his restaurant Coltivare. Named one of the best new restaurants in the country by Bon Appetit, Coltivare, inspired by Pera’s Italian heritage, uses Gulf Coast ingredients.

– Chef John Nguyen is known in Houston for merging Cajun seafood staples with Vietnamese style at the Cajun Kitchen.

– Chef Monica Pope will create a locally-inspired Panini Bar. Pope connects with local farmers and consumers through cooking classes as well as owning Houston’s own Sparrow Bar + Cookshop and Beaver’s restaurants.

– Chef Chris Shepherd, 2014 James Beard Best Chef Southwest, will open a Houston-focused tavern, featuring the flavours of the city’s diverse population. His restaurant, Underbelly, is inspired by the city and aims to tell the story of Houston food.

Leading architecture and design firm Rockwell Group will lead the transformation of the dining and retail spaces, which will include “social media moments to provide an eye-catching backdrop for travellers to snap and share photos of their travel experience”.

Another element will be OTG’s 2U feature that allows customers to order food, retail and other amenities from an airport iPad and have their choice delivered within a restaurant or at the gate. Nearly 8,000 iPads throughout the terminals will also offer a variety of pre-flight entertainment options for travellers.

United and OTG have collaborated to add benefits for MileagePlus members at Bush Intercontinental by enabling them to use award miles to purchase items at select CIBO Express Gourmet Markets in Terminal E. United and OTG will roll out this capability to more locations in the airport in coming months.

OTG said it is “investing significant capital to transform current and future spaces, including the development of tech-enhanced gate areas featuring lounge-style seating, USB power outlets and iPads from which guests can order food and amenities, browse the web, play games and more.”

Five well-known local chefs will create menus and designs that reflect the food and culture of the region