Prolific fine-dining chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten is adding his 37th restaurant to New York City this spring, at none other than John F. Kennedy Airport.
Paris Café will be open all day in the rebooted TWA terminal, which has not been used since 2001. It will come back to life with a 512-room hotel attached and will be open to the public, meaning no plane ticket is required.
The ground level of the hotel will house both Vongerichten’s restaurant and next-door cocktail bar Lisbon Lounge. There’s not much information yet on what the food will be like, but the Times reports that Vongerichten wants to combine lighter fare with classics from old in-flight menus from the 1950s and ’60s, with luxe dishes such as chicken Champagne with truffles. Despite that, a release for the restaurant says Paris Café will be at a “medium price point.”
An open kitchen will overlook 200 seats, where servers will dress in vintage-inspired outfits among mid-century furniture and design. Architect Eero Saarinen and designer Raymond Loewy created the original terminal design, and this will take cues from that.
Vongerichten made his name in French fine-dining at restaurants like Jean-Georges and Nougatine, though he does have more casual — in comparison — places like JoJo, ABC Kitchen, and Public Kitchen. Airport restaurant operator Tastes on the Fly will be his partner here.
New York-area airports are upping their food game in recent years. LaGuardia just unveiled a redesigned terminal with a Shake Shack, while Newark Airport poured millions into United’s Terminal C, partnering with bigger-name NYC chefs like Mario Carbone and Einat Admony.
This TWA terminal revival is part of that movement, bringing the iconic space — featured in the movie Catch Me if You Can — back to life. It’s connected to Terminal 5 and the rest of the hotel will have 50,000-square-feet of event space, a 10,000-square-foot fitness center, a rooftop pool and observation deck, and a museum devoted to TWA and the midcentury modern design movement.