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SSP Refreshes IAH With Bold New Concepts

SSP America took another step toward re-creating the food and beverage landscape at George Bush Intercontinental’s (IAH) Terminal C last month when it celebrated the grand openings for Le Grand Comptoir and Real Food Co.

Le Grand Comptoir is a French brasserie, notable for its wood finishes, leather stools and bistro fare. It’s also a wine bar, featuring more than 80 options by the glass and several high-end beers.

Real Food Co. is a 6,200 sq. ft. marche-style restaurant with eight serving stations where servers prepare and dish different fresh menus theater-style simultaneously so travelers can watch.

The eatery features an open kitchen with fresh food, artisan breads, several main course options such as barbeque brisket and roasted chicken, and side dishes. The upscale venue sits in space formerly occupied by fast food restaurants.

“We stripped it out and said, ‘Let’s do something very, very different,”‘ Les Cappetta, president of SSP, told event attendees during a brief presentation. “We think this is a perfect representation of what it is we’re trying to accomplish. If you don’t remember anything else about SSP, recognize that we are a restaurant company that does business in airports.”

The event, which started with cocktails at Le Grand Comptoir before moving down the hall to Real Food for dinner, drew nearly 70 attendees, including SSP and airport employees, current and former city council members and representatives from their staffs, and some city government employees.

Eric Potts, interim director of aviation for the Houston Airport System, thanked SSP for taking a chance on debuting the new eateries at IAH and for making a statement about how food and beverage at airports can look.

“Houston likes to be first in a lot of ways,” he told the audience. “This is out-of-the-box thinking for an airport.