Local and Canadian companies add a ‘taste of place’ to Airport


SSP Canada, a division of SSP Group, has opened a collection of restaurants at Ottawa International Airport. The restaurants represent an important achievement in the Airport’s efforts to enhance the passenger experience as part of its strategic YOW+ program.


In 2019, the Ottawa Airport Authority announced the multi-year YOW+ terminal enhancement program which included a reimagined airport concession program. SSP Canada, the preferred food and beverage concessionaire, was tasked with the ambitious goal of creating new restaurant spaces and introducing local brands and content in concert with tried and true airport brands.


With the opening of the Ottawa restaurants, SSP now operates in nine Canadian airports which represents an important portion of its business across North America. Vice President of Business Development Bob Stanton commented, “We’re honored to be part of the YOW community and bring this group of local and Canadian concepts to the Capitol’s Airport. Our thanks to the entire YOW team led by Director of Operations Graie Messina for their passion and commitment to bringing a ‘taste of place’ to YOW passengers.


“It’s been years in the making, but we are truly delighted to offer our passengers more choice, local treasures, and SSP Canada’s signature ‘taste of place’ at YOW,” said Mark Laroche, Ottawa International Airport Authority President and CEO. “Early results confirm that travellers are embracing our iconic brands and loving the bright, beautiful spaces SSP has recently brought to life. And there is more to come!”


The majority of the concepts can be found within a newly developed food court area called Marché du Canal or Canal Market Hall and include the below concepts as well as quick casual pizza and burger concepts:


Bridgehead Coffee: The concept became the first in Canada to offer consumers ‘fairly traded’ coffee, and today, operates coffeehouses across Ottawa. Dedicated to great coffee, people and the planet, the Bridgehead team travels far and wide to bring exceptional coffees from small-scale farmers, and serve them in comfortable, community-focused coffeehouses. The Airport concept will serve passengers throughout the day with a menu that includes a wide range of hot and cold coffees, espresso drinks and specialty drinks as well as baked goods, cookies and an assortment of grab-and-go items.


La Bottega: This 30-year-old brand is Ottawa's favourite Italian grocer and supplier of quality Italian foods. La Bottega is ranked as one of the top restaurants in Ottawa on TripAdvisor, with an average rating of 4.5 stars. As a bona fide landmark of the Ottawa community, La Bottega will bring passengers all-day breakfast croissants, their famous panini sandwiches as well as a large variety of Italian specialty products and desserts.


Bento: Bento Sushi got its start in 1996 in downtown Toronto as a small takeout shop. Since then, Bento has grown to become Canada’s largest sushi company. The YOW outpost will offer the brand’s popular grab-and-go sushi such as California, Spicy Tuna, and Salmon Volcano. Passengers will also be able to enjoy the popular and satisfying tuna and salmon poke bowls. Sides of Seaweed Salad and Edamame will also be on offer.


The line-up of brands includes local favourite Big Rig Kitchen and Brewery which was first opened in 2012 by brewmaster Lon Ladell, Clocktower Brewpub co-founder Pierre Cleroux, restaurateurs Angelis Koutsos and Jimmy Zourntos, and famed Ottawa Senators defenseman Chris “Big Rig” Phillips. Big Rig Brewery began with a passion for pairing home-cooked, comfort-style food with handcrafted beer made from the finest ingredients.


Bringing together a wealth of knowledge in the industry, the founders have grown Big Rig to become the largest craft brewery in the Nation’s Capital. The full-service bar and restaurant will feature an exciting lineup including a variety of beers on tap such as Gold Lagered Ale, Big Rig Premium Pilsner and Big Rig Dropkick Irish Stout, as well as ciders, “adult” root beer and several national and global beer options. The all-day menu includes a full hot breakfast selection, wings, poutine, soups and salads, burgers, sandwiches and more.