When Dead Armadillo Brewing Co. founder Tony Peck was offered the opportunity to burnish his local brand at Tulsa International Airport, he seized it.
“It’s awesome,” he said Wednesday inside the Dead Armadillo Tarmac Taproom, a bar-restaurant that is operated by Creative Food Group on Concourse A. “We love sharing our product, and we love sharing our craft.
“This just gives us a huge audience, and if their flights are delayed, we have a captive audience.”
The Tarmac Taproom was among the new Concourse A restaurants and stores that were celebrated at Wednesday’s grand opening. It will feature a food menu, seven varieties of Tulsa-based Dead Armadillo beers, a full liquor bar and many local, national and international premium beers.
“I say one word, ‘beer,’ and people show up,” Mark VanLoh, CEO of Tulsa Airports, said to a small group gathered for a news conference. “We know from many passenger surveys what our customers want: They want a place to be able to sit, eat and drink and then also be able to buy those last-minute gifts or food to (take) on an airplane, because we know the airplanes aren’t going to feed you.
“We’re very excited (Wednesday) to be here to open up our two newest concession opportunities. As you walk through the airport, you see a lot of plywood up, and that means there are a lot more concessions coming.”
Another Concourse A dining option, operated by Local Food Concepts, is Einstein Bros. Bagels and Caribou Coffee. On the same concourse are new retail locations run by Hudson Group, including three of their signature brands: Hudson, for travel essentials; 5th and Sunset, a sunglasses and accessories venue; and Spirit, a Native American and Western-theme store.
“Creative Food Group is excited to bring the great mix of local and national brands to the Tulsa airport,” CFG General Manager Jill Browell said. “Creative Food Group believes Tulsa will become a showcase for CFG and the industry.”
Slated to open in the coming months at the airport are Eau de Vie Wine Bar, Topeca Coffee, Smok’d BBQ and Fat Guy’s Burger Bar. Cherry Street Beer Garden, to be located in the area before security, is scheduled to open in the spring.
Construction on the recently opened stores and restaurants began after the new concession contracts began May 1, and the airport’s food, beverage and retail concession program will undergo a complete transformation by the time construction is complete in 2018.
When the revamp is finished, the airport will have 10 retail outlets and 10 dining options.
“We are pleased to partner with the city of Tulsa and the Tulsa Airports Improvement Trust … management team in revitalizing the travel retail program,” Joseph DiDomizio, Hudson Group president and CEO, said in a statement.
“We look forward to building upon regional and local themes that capture the cosmopolitan feel and rich heritage of Tulsa.”
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