The city of Houston awarded a lucrative Hobby Airport concessions contract to a new company, pushing out Pappas restaurant amidst controversy. Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner and 10 other council members voted “yes” in favor of awarding the contract, with six voting “no.”
Areas, a Miami-based company, defeated Pappas by a razor-thin margin in the original presentations, but the formal approval process has come under fire up until the moment council members made the final vote.
Pappas launched a public campaign to stay at Hobby, even launching an online petition that got tens of thousands of signatures. The mayor said a team evaluated all the bids and made a recommendation and that sticking with Pappas would not be the best and most profitable option for the city.
“This is a competitive process, not a popularity contest,” the mayor said. “Pappas chose not to go up. In fact, what Pappas is offering the city for the next 10 to 20 years is less than what they’re giving the city right now.”
Councilmembers who voted against pushing Pappas out argued the process was flawed.
“Hobby Airport is a five-star Airport and to bring somebody new like that when we just recently got the designation of a five-star airport is concerning,” said Councilmember Robert Gallegos.
A spokesperson for Pappas restaurants said they are disappointed in the city council’s decision.
He said all employees working at Hobby Airport will be offered jobs at other restaurant locations around the city