By Bill Parry
World renowned chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten will premiere the Paris Cafe restaurant at the TWA Hotel at JFK International Airport in spring 2019.
Located in the heart of the iconic 1962 Eero Saarinen-designed Trans World Flight Center, the Paris Cafe by Jen-Georges will encompass the entire footprint of the terminal’s original Paris Cafe and Lisbon Lounge, which have been dark since 2001.
The $265 million hotel conversion project, shepherded by MCR Development, is expected to open this spring.
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.
“As an avid traveler I am very excited to be part of recreating a culinary destination in this iconic landmark,” Vongerichten said.
The restaurant’s name holds special significance for Vongerichten who was raised in 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 his passion for flavors of the East at luxury hotels in Bangkok, Singapore and Hong Kong.
Vongerichten currently operates 36 three- and four -star restaurants around the world including ABC Kitchen in Manhattan, Mercato in Shanghai and Simply Chicken at Madison Square Garden.
“Around the world, Jean-Georges is known for his delicious dishes and impeccable service,” MCR and MORSE Development CEO and Managing Partner Tyler Morse said. “He is the perfect chef to reinvigorate the legendary Paris Cafe for our guests and JFK travelers.”
Awarded Michelin stars for 14 years, Jean-Georges will serve breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks and cocktails at a medium price point. Vongerichten will partner with Tastes on the Fly, a leading boutique airport restaurateur with more than 20 locations coast to coast, on the restaurant.
The TWA Hotel features 512 ultra-quiet rooms, 50,000 square feet of event space for up to 1,600 people, a 10,000 square foot fitness center, a rooftop pool and observation deck and a museum dedicated to TWA and the mid-century modern design movement.
Reach reporter Bill Parry by e-mail at bparr