Travelers using Terminal D at DFW International Airport will soon have new food and drink options. Asian restaurant Shinsei and gastropub Flying Saucer Draught Emporium are expected to open inside the airport in 2018.
North Texas foodies may recognize these names -- both Shinsei and Flying Saucer are home grown. According to Zenola Campbell, vice president of concessions at the airport, that's no coincidence. Over the last three years, DFW Airport has intentionally been tapping local businesses to bring new energy into Terminal D.
"We looked at ways we could enhance our eating experience as well as retail experience," she says, referencing a passenger survey done by the airport. "Today's consumer really wanted to be engaged, they wanted to have great tasting food, they wanted to experience the same type of relationship inside the terminal as they did outside."
That feedback has led to the opening of several new restaurants and shops in the last year, including Cru Wine Bar, Abacus, Whitetail Bistro, Italian Kitchen by Wolfgang Puck, Coach and a combination retail outlet for Michael Kors and Kate Spade, among others. There's also a Gas Monkey Bar and Grill, Reata Grill, Cool River Cafe and Cantina Laredo.
Chick-fil-A and Subway are also slated to open outposts in Terminal D next year. Here's the skinny on the restaurants to come.
The Flying Saucer and The Flying Square
The Flying Saucer, which started in Fort Worth, will follow largely the same model replicated at its 16 locations nationwide -- at least on the ground level. The bar will offer 40 draft beers alongside 30 more in bottles and cans, plus pub food. This Flying Saucer will also sell breakfast.
For the mezzanine (pictured in the rendering up top), the airport is developing a new concept called the Flying Square. Plans are still in the works, according to Campbell, but renderings depict the Square with more of a lounge vibe featuring cozy couches and booths. There's also an area designed to host live music, which is becoming an increasingly common at airports.
"I think what they're trying to do is to bring the essence of our live music portion that is in Sundance Square," says founder and restaurateur Shannon Wynne.
Though the restaurant bears the Flying Saucer name, Wynne's 8.0 Management company is not the operator, so the Flying Square may not pop up elsewhere besides the airport. Same goes for the breakfast menu. (The airport is more like a franchise location, Wynne says, run by airport affiliates. That's not an uncommon thing at DFW Airport, confirms Kelsey Rae Young, the airport's business communications specialist.)
Tracy Rathbun and Lynae Fearing may have last names made famous by their current and former husbands, chefs Kent Rathbun and Dean Fearing, but these women "have proved that they can do just as well," says Campbell. That's why their concept, Shinsei, will have a new home at the airport.
The pan-Asian restaurant is known for its array of sushi and seafood, as well as its hot dishes like Thai fried rice, wagyu beef cheek, and garlic-pork potstickers. Diners can wash them down with one of several craft cocktails the bar plans to offer.
Campbell expects Shinsei will open first, in late spring or early summer 2018.