A local Chicago resident is hoping to show the Latino community the quality of opportunities at airports starting with positions at local favorite, The Dearborn, when it arrives at O’Hare International Airport’s (ORD) Terminal 5.
John Wober is part of the team along with Chicago Hospitality Partners to bring the airport outpost of The Dearborn which is expected to make its debut next year. We are proud to partner with John and his team on this momentous opening.
“Opening a restaurant at O’Hare is something I always dreamed of,” John said. “But bringing a Chicago favorite and women-owned business to an airport is even more rewarding. It is an incredible feeling being able to leave my mark and show my young children the legacy I am building. We want to make a difference to travelers, our employees and the City of Chicago.”
The Dearborn is an urban American tavern with an upscale, yet approachable menu that will offer sit-down service and a grab-and-go marketplace with fresh coffee. The original establishment, located in Chicago’s iconic theater district, was opened in 2016 by Irish immigrant sisters Amy and Clodagh Lawless. The Terminal 5 restaurant, expected to open the first half of 2024, is The Dearborn’s first location in an airport.
As a first-generation Argentine American, John wants to take this opportunity to showcase all airport opportunities to Latinos in Chicago neighborhoods. But he is extremely excited to play a key role in minority hiring practices for the restaurant.
He understands the importance of becoming Airport Concessions Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (ACDBE) certified. In fact, it was a top priority when he started his company, Airbrands, more than six years ago.
“Being ACDBE certified gives us an opportunity to participate in a world that we wouldn’t otherwise have a chance to participate in,” John said. “It fosters engagement with other ACDBEs and provides a strong network of people and resources that really make a difference in doing business at airports today.”
ACDBE certification is a U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) program designed to level the playing field for small businesses who wish to participate in contracting opportunities at airports.
Certified firms must meet eligibility standards established by the USDOT including ownership of at least 51% by socially or economically disadvantaged individuals and management and daily business operations control by one or more of the socially and economically disadvantaged individuals who own it.
With a background in food and beverage consulting, John has helped many companies get off the ground in a street level setting. Now he has turned that knowledge and expertise into opening concessions in airports. He also volunteers with SCORE Chicago, a nonprofit organization, dedicated to helping small businesses get off the ground and grow.
“Bringing a local favorite that showcases another one of Chicago neighborhoods is an exciting moment for O’Hare and its passengers,” said Sherain Thompson, URW Airports Asst. General Manager, O’Hare. “But it makes it even more special that we are adding a Latino business owner to our lineup of ACDBEs. We continue to strive to have Chicago residents reflected in the makeup of our businesses here at the airport.”
John is looking forward to opening The Dearborn and other restaurants in conjunction with the Chicago Department of Aviation.