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Howe travel plazas now open

Travelers crossing Indiana can spruce up their next road trip on the Indiana Toll Road and pull off for a bite to eat at the new travel plazas in Howe.

Two new state-of-the-art plaza facilities opened their doors to the public on July 3 in time for the busy holiday travel; Gene S. Porter Travel Plaza for drivers on the eastbound side and Ernie Pyle Travel Plaza for the westbound side.

Global restaurateur HMSHost, ITR Concession Company LLC, and Sunoco gathered Wednesday morning to officially celebrate the grand opening and welcome drivers stopping in for food, relaxation, and fuel. Each plaza offers food and beverage options from Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen, Starbucks coffees, and an HMSHost brand called Refresh and Co.

In celebration of the plaza’s opening in the community, a joint grant of $7,500 was made to the Faith Mission of Elkhart, Inc. by HMSHost Foundation, whose mission is to fight the root causes of poverty, ITR Concession Company, and Sunoco. Faith Mission is a locally-based social service agency which provides food, shelter, clothing and other services for homeless individuals.

“HMSHost is very excited to celebrate the opening of Howe Travel Plaza on the Indiana Toll Road,” said Michael Price, HMSHost vice president of business development. “We thank our partners with the Indiana Toll Road and the brands for their important roles in delivering this modern facility for the enjoyment of Indiana travelers. Howe will now be a destination stop for hungry drivers for the rest of the summer and for many years to come.”

Alongside popular national brands, Refresh and Co. is a concept by HMSHost that offers drivers high-quality dining options from a casual marketplace-style eatery. Guests can quickly order a meal via self-ordering and self-pay kiosks from a menu that features a variety of freshly-prepared food made with quality ingredients.

“We’re delighted to open the first newly built full-size travel plaza and we are committed to providing travelers of the Indiana Toll Road with a great experience,” said Alyssa Staley, director of human resources and customer service for ITR Concession Company LLC (Indiana Toll Road). “Our mission is to provide clean and modern facilities that everyone can use and enjoy.”

The Indiana Toll Road selected Sunoco to be the fuel provider along this corridor to Chicago, and now Howe offers has six gasoline dispensers and four diesel dispensers as well as a new outpost of Sunoco’s APlus convenience store, which provides a variety of convenience items to drivers.

The new Howe Travel Plaza is the latest segment of the Indiana Toll Road Travel Plaza Master Plan to be completed. HMSHost also operates restaurants at the George N. Craig and the Henry F. Shricker Travel Plazas in Indiana. The Rolling Prairie location will be the next Indiana Toll Road plaza redevelopment site to open.

In operation since 1956, the Indiana Toll Road (ITR) stretches 157 miles across the northernmost part of Indiana from Ohio to the Illinois state line. The ITR links Chicago with the largest cities on the East Coast and acts as one of the most important freight and transportation routes in the country.