Airport management company OTG has unveiled its designs for Newark’s new United terminal, and if one thing is certain, it’s that the much-maligned hub is about to become one of the country’s coolest places to fly through. So how is OTG taking the EWR from flop to fab? Well:
1. Design by David Rockwell: The famed architect is just one of the masterminds behind the terminal’s look and feel, but his lobby-like lounge, situated in the terminal’s main artery, is a total stunner, with sleek mesh metal curtains, silver-plated globe chandeliers, and plush seating areas next to an onyx bar. It’s about as sexy as an airport gets.
2. Rotating restaurant concepts: A main dining hall called the Global Bazaar will contain more restaurants than meet the eye. In a smart and pioneering move, spaces that house breakfast-oriented concepts in the morning (Poppy’s bagel shop; Eggy Weggy) will morph into lunch- and dinner-friendly options as the day progresses (think Notorious P.I.G., a BBQ spot by North Carolina’s Elizabeth Carmel, and Casciano’s, an Italian sandwich shop by Torrisi chef Mario Carbone).
Sure, some fliers will be disappointed to miss their chance at Carbone’s porchetta sandwich if they arrive off-hours, but this is a revolutionary way to think about airport dining that we can really get behind—especially if it means that we’re no longer limited to long lines at the single spot serving egg sandwiches before a morning flight.
3. More than a handful of exciting chef partnerships: Mario Carbone is far from the only chef on Newark’s marquee. Also on the list: Food Network’s Alex Guarnaschelli, French master Alain Ducasse, The Waverly Inn’s John Delucie, chocolatier Jacques Torres, Top Chef alum Dale Talde, taco wiz Alex Stupak, and New York’s queen of falafel, Einat Admony. They’re among 24 chefs—most with serious food cred—spearheading 55 dining options throughout the terminal.
4. A high-tech touch: OTG is deploying over 6,000 iPads throughout the terminal, which travelers can use to browse menus, order their food, scan their boarding passes, or just browse the web. What’s more, United frequent fliers can use their points to pay for purchases in the terminal—another notable first.
Nikki Ekstein is an Assistant Editor at Travel + Leisure and part of the Trip Doctor news team. Find her on Twitter at @nikkiekstein.