Feb 28, 2023 - Food and Drink

Hobby Airport could see new restaurants soon

Photo: F. Carter Smith/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Hobby Airport's food landscape could look a lot different in the coming months.

Driving the news: Houston City Council will vote tomorrow on a 10-year contract with a restaurant company called Areas HOU JV LLC.

  • The restaurants that may come to the airport include some Houston-area favorites, like Galveston's The Spot, Killen's Barbecue, Yard House, Spindletap Brewery and Clutch City Coffee, according to the Houston Chronicle.

Yes, but: It means that Houston's Pappas Restaurants, which has long held a stake in the airport, will likely not be renewing its contract with the city and that several of its restaurants inside Hobby — including Pappas Bar-B-Q, Pappas Burger, Pappasito's and Pappadeaux — will likely close.

Catch up fast: The city opened up bidding for this latest contract in October, and Pappas and Areas HOU JV were among several companies to bid.

  • Areas HOU JV projects it would earn $470 million over the life of the contract.
  • Chris Pappas, CEO of Pappas Restaurants, blasted City Council last week, claiming the bidding process was flawed, the Chronicle reported.

What they're saying: Pappas claims his restaurant group met each of the criteria, which included a customer service plan, the amount of local participation, the menu's concept, the restaurants' design and innovation, the bidder's background and experience, and the amount the city would be compensated.

  • "We feel like if we lost, we're not sure how we could have lost in those categories," Pappas told councilmembers last week. "Because we checked the boxes as far as being all the things the city would want."

The other side: "If the administration made a decision based on who we like, we would be vilified for going against the procurement process and the results," Mayor Sylvester Turner told Pappas during last week's City Council meeting. "This is a competitive process, and in the end, the numbers dictate. And quite frankly, this administration doesn't have a choice."

What's next: City Council will vote on the contract on Wednesday.


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