As the recovery from the pandemic continues, Indianapolis International Airport is moving forward with its plan to bring more local flavor to its concessions offerings. The airport is preparing to open the new Pacers Courtside Club later this week, and new additions are also in the works. It’s all part of the airport’s Concessions Refresh initiative, which was first announced in 2016.
David Shaw, the airport’s director of concessions and air service, gave Around INdiana Reporter Mary-Rachel Redman a look behind closed doors of what’s on tap now and down the road.
“This is the people’s airport. When local businesses are featured here in the airport, that’s local jobs. That’s local products. It supports families that live here in the city and the state and that’s just so important to us.”
Among the additions is growing Harry and Izzy’s restaurant.
“As we enter the new expanded location of Harry and Izzy’s, you’ll see that the square footage is absolutely increasing,” said Shaw. “The existing bar is still here. That’s been torn out and rebuilt. But we’ll add a lot more dining and a lot more seating.”
Shaw says the pandemic put a pause on the Concessions Refresh program, but work has resumed.
“We’re still in the midst of opening locations that we’ve been working on for several years due to COVID halting that process,” he said. “So, we’ve got multiple locations that have opened over the last almost two years. Then we have a lot of other locations opening towards the end of this year.”
The Pacers Courtside Club is located inside the Civic Plaza at the airport, and Shaw says the location is very important.
“It’s really important for us, for our passengers, as well as our employees to feature a full-service, sit-down restaurant pre-security,” he said. “Not all employees have the access to go post-security, so we wanted to offer that asset to them to have meetings or just to sit down to have a meal. It’s also important for meeters and greeters when they’re coming to pick up their loved ones.”
A grand opening celebration for the Pacers location is set for November.
Last year, Indianapolis-based Tinker Coffee Co. opened its first storefront at the airport. Shaw says having local offerings is a big asset for the airport.
“It’s just crucial to have local ownership here and the airport makes sure that the location here in the airport is operating as it should be,” he said.
One of the additions currently in the works is the Indiana Grown market, which will be located in the middle of Concourse B and feature farm-to-table, grab-and-go offerings from local producers.
Some of the other Hoosier places you can sink your teeth into coming soon to IND include Ben’s Soft Pretzels, Hot Box Pizza, The Tap, Harmony Bubble Tea and a new bubble bar complete with champagnes at Just Pop In!.
“People just love the fact that they can come to the airport but still be able to buy and purchase things that they can purchase at their local grocery store,” said Shaw. “It’s also important that people that come to the airport here, and they see local brands, they know that they’re supporting local companies, which supports the local economy as well.”
Last week, J.D. Power ranked IND as the best medium-sized airport based on its North America Airport Satisfaction Survey. The airport received an overall customer satisfaction score of 842 out of 1,000 based on feedback from travelers on several categories, including terminal facilities.
You can view Mary-Rachel’s tour of IND’s concessions, as well as Gerry Dick’s interview with Indianapolis Airport Authority Executive Director Mario Rodriguez on the airport’s recovery in the video below: