Let Them Eat Beignets

Dining options slated for new airport terminal promise much more than a yogurt cup
Illustrations by Tony Healey

Jennifer Gibson Schecter was once a tourist in New Orleans herself and is now proud to call NOLA home. She also writes the Wednesday Tourism Blog on BizNewOrleans.com.

When the new North Terminal opens at Louis Armstrong International Airport on May 15, 2019, the most exciting of all the features for locals and lovers of our culture are the new dining options.

“The new terminal is specifically designed to accommodate modern concessions facilities,” said Erin Burns, director of communications at New Orleans Aviation. “When the new terminal opens, passengers will have access to 45 concessions once they are beyond the newly designed centralized-security checkpoint. Currently, passengers only have access to an average of 13 concessions beyond the existing security checkpoints at each concourse which limits passengers to only those concession offerings on that particular concourse.”

Instead of trying to chug that Dunkin’ Donuts latté before TSA yells at you to take your shoes off, you can delay your caffeine fix until you get to New Orleans’ own Pulp & Grind on the other side of security and settle in at your gate to sip your coffee.

The planning team made a consistent effort to populate the new terminal with vendors that represent the culture of New Orleans, as well as nationally recognized options.

“The airport’s goal is to provide award-winning concessions options that celebrate New Orleans and appeal to both the local and visiting passengers with varying levels of discretionary funds,” explained Burns. “We wanted to include brands with national and local notoriety, especially with regard to the specialty retail concepts.”

The new facility will feature a food and beverage program by two different companies – Delaware North-Chase Catering and Concessions (Chase North) and HMS Host-Coaxum Enterprises-Kaleidoscope Strategies (HMS Host). The airport aims for its food and beverage program to be world-class and provide competition among vendors with a mix of local and national brands that fit all price points.

“The options include local James Beard Foundation-recognized restaurants and chefs and national brands that everyone recognizes, so there is something for everyone no matter the budget, taste or time available. Local favorites like Café Du Monde, Munch Factory, Ye Olde College Inn, Angelo Brocato’s and so many more will make you feel like you’re in the city” said Burns.

Chase North will run the following: Leah’s Kitchen, Midway Pizza, Chick-Fil-A, Ye Olde College Inn, PJ’s, Heritage Bar, Angelo Brocato’s, Bar Sazerac, MoPho, City Greens, Folse Market and Café Du Monde.

HMS Host will also run locally owned vendors, with a few more national chains. Its vendors include: Emeril’s, Shake Shack, Starbucks, Great American Bagel, Cure, Munch Factory, Chili’s, Auntie Anne’s, Mondo, Panda Express, Lucky Dogs and Smoothie King.

The specialty retail concepts are also being run by two different companies. The news and gift stores operated by Paradies Lagardere and Pacific Gateway will provide a mix of local brands that are representative of Louisiana and New Orleans, as well as several national brands.

Paradies Lagardere will operate The Advocate, Dylan’s Candy Bar, Brother’s Food Mart, The Score Board, CNBC, Trip Advisor, Brighton, InMotion, Fleurty Girl and Nola Couture.

Pacific Gateway will run two Pulp & Grind locations, News Stand, Lolli & Pops, Dirty Coast, Preservation Hall, EJE Duty Free and Xpress Spa.

Burns said all vendors were selected through an open and competitive bid process last year. She also pointed out that the construction project is an evolving one, and the airport will be hands-on working with the vendors to revise or update the concession program as necessary.