Chef Jean-Georges Will Open Historic Paris Cafe at The TWA Hotel

NEW YORK—Jean-Georges meets the Jet Age. Chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten will premiere the Paris Café restaurant at the 512-room TWA Hotel at John F. Kennedy International Airport, opening in spring 2019. The restaurant will serve breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks and cocktails at a medium price point.

Located in the heart of the iconic 1962 Eero Saarinen-designed TWA terminal, the Paris Café by Jean-Georges will encompass the entire footprint of the terminal’s original Paris Café and Lisbon Lounge, which have been dark since 2001. The spaces were originally outfitted by famed Parisian industrial designer Raymond Loewy—the mind behind the 1955 Coca-Cola contour bottle, the 1959 TWA twin globes logo, the 1963 Studebaker Avanti, the 1962 Air Force One livery and the 1971 Shell logo. Vongerichten’s take on the restaurant will help reignite the magic of the Jet Age throughout the TWA Hotel.

The restaurant’s name holds special significance for Vongerichten: Raised on the outskirts of Strasbourg in Alsace, France, the chef trained in classical French cuisine at Auberge de I’lll in Alsace and L’Oasis in southern France before developing a passion for flavors of the East at luxury hotels in Bangkok, Singapore and Hong Kong. Vongerichten now operates 36 restaurants, including ABC Kitchen in Manhattan, Mercato in Shanghai and Simply Chicken in New York’s Madison Square Garden.

“Around the world, Jean-Georges is known for his delicious dishes and impeccable service,” said Tyler Morse, CEO and managing partner of MCR and Morse Development. “He is the perfect chef to reinvigorate the legendary Paris Café for our guests and JFK travelers.”

The former TWA terminal circa 1962.
The former TWA terminal circa 1962

“As an avid traveler,” said Jean-Georges Vongerichten, “I am very excited to be a part of recreating a culinary destination in this iconic landmark.”

Vongerichten will partner with Tastes on the Fly, a boutique airport restaurateur with more than 20 locations coast to coast, on the restaurant.

The Paris Café restaurant is just one of several F&B venues planned for the TWA Hotel. Hotel Business was recently invited to a highly secured airplane hangar at John F. Kennedy International Airport to meet Connie L-1649A, a Lockheed Constellation airplane—one of only four left in the world—that will soon be turned into a cocktail lounge in spring 2019.

“You’re going to be able to have a nice meal and great cocktails in there,” said Morse. “We’ll have a reservation-based system where you can book it for corporate or social events. We’re very excited because one of our first phone calls was from an engaged couple—a Delta pilot and a Southwest Airlines flight attendant—who will have a cocktail event on the plane as part of their wedding weekend. Onboard Connie, it’s going to be a full theatrical experience down to the uniforms, gift bags and the food we serve.”

Connected to JetBlue Terminal 5 via the flight tubes made famous by the 2002 film Catch Me If You Can, the TWA Hotel will have 512 ultra-quiet guestrooms, 50,000 sq. ft. of event space for up to 1,600 people, a 10,000-sq.-ft. fitness center, a rooftop pool and observation deck and a museum devoted to TWA and the mid-century modern design movement.