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New restaurant, chocolate shop open at O’Hare’s international terminal

A second restaurant — Lettuce Entertain You’s first airport venture — and a boutique chocolate shop have opened at O’Hare International Airport’s Terminal 5 as part of a $26 million makeover, officials said Thursday.

Both enterprises are Chicago-bred but offer an international flavor for travelers from around the world who visit O’Hare’s terminal for international flights.

Lettuce Entertain You’s Big Bowl explores the flavors of China and Thailand, while Vosges Haut-Chocolat, originally of Logan Square, offers luxury chocolate creations using ingredients from around the world, from Oaxaca chocolate bars with guajillo and pasilla chilis to Tanzanian bittersweet chocolate.

Their opening follows the recent debut of Tortas Frontera, a Mexican restaurant creation of award-winning Chicago chef Rick Bayless, which was the first new restaurant to open in Terminal 5 in more than 20 years.

Westfield Concession Management is now running concessions at the terminal under a 25-year, $26.2 million contract. Before that, Chicago Aviation Partners, a clout-heavy partnership that included Jeremiah Joyce, one of former Mayor Richard M. Daley’s closest friends in politics, ran the concessions on a month-to-month basis.

Previously, 95 percent of Terminal 5’s dining options were located before the security checkpoint, making it difficult for travelers to dine or shop while waiting for flights. The transformed terminal will funnel visitors through security and into a duty-free shop, with additional retail outlets and restaurants beyond that.

Other food establishments still to open in Terminal 5 are: Tocco, a rustic Italian restaurant from Wicker Park; Local Headlines Bar, a gastropub; Natural Break, a juice bar; Kofe, featuring Intelligentsia coffee, and three other Lettuce Entertain You ventures — Wow Bao, touting steamed sweet and savory Asian buns; Urban Olive, with a Mediterranean flair, and Hub 51, offering everything from sushi to sandwiches.

The makeover marks Terminal 5’s first renovation since it opened in 1993.



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