One of the main reasons travel can be so stressful is because of how chaotic and hectic it can be to navigate airports. Between making sure you’ve got all the right stuff packed within the TSA’s guidelines, checking in, and making it to your gate, there’s a lot to keep in mind; it’s also bound to make you a bit hungry. You may not be sure how you feel about airplane food thanks to your mid-air taste buds, but thankfully the airport tends to have plenty of options.
It wasn’t so long ago that the food in the airport terminal was regarded about as highly as the food served on board. Some airports, however, have opened truly noteworthy restaurants in recent years. At The Daily Meal, we understand just how important food is to travel, and we believe it’s an important part of the journey to and from your destination as well. While taking a look at the airport options across the country, we considered the popularity of restaurants as well as quality of both food and service in addition to variety of menu options (unless the restaurant in question has earned a reputation for specializing in a specific food). For each state, we took to looking at dining options at the largest airports and then comparing their menu options, overall atmosphere, and customer reviews on Yelp, Google, and TripAdvisor.
You’ll find that a couple small states, such as Delaware and Vermont, aren’t on this list, as there was only one proper restaurant (we didn’t count cafés) in all of their civil airports and therefore we were unable to make any comparisons. Washington, D.C., is also missing from the list, as all of its local airports are actually located in Virginia or Maryland. Whether you’re looking for ideas to occupy your time on a layover or just hoping for a good bite to eat before your flight, make sure you know just which airport restaurant is the best in the state.
Enjoy some local craft beer and other great brews at Birmingham Brewhouse while waiting for your flight out of Alabama. Accompanying the drinks is a classic pub menu that features sandwiches, salads, and flatbread pizzas as well as “hoppetizers” such as their signature Birmingham Brewhouse Wings made with hot sauce or American Brown Ale barbecue sauce or Bama Chips, house-made potato chips with smoked barbecue brisket, queso, and green onion.
Relish some healthy Asian cuisine at Sushi On The Fly, a nice spot in Anchorage’s airport. In addition to a sports bar that has large flat-panel HD TVs, the restaurant also has a beer garden with delicious local craft beers on tap as well as fast Wi-Fi. Other delicious Asian dishes on the menu in addition to sushi include spicy pork bulgogi, Mongolian chicken, udon noodles, and salmon, chicken, and beef teriyaki.
Matt’s Big Breakfast offers the best breakfast in all of Arizona. Dedicated to using the best ingredients possible, Matt’s Big Breakfast sticks to cage-free eggs, all-natural pork and beef, and local organic produce. Offerings include a breakfast sandwich with two eggs, two slices of thick-cut bacon, American cheese, and grilled onions; three eggs scrambled with Molinari sopressata; two eggs served with an Iowa pork rib chop; and made-from-scratch waffles and pancakes.
A full service restaurant that you’ll have to get through security to reach, Ouachita Landing Bar and Grill has something to satisfy everyone. Not only can you get the usual wings, chicken tenders, and burgers, but the restaurant also serves catfish platters, Reuben sandwiches, and flatbreads such as the honey barbecue chicken and jalapeño BLT.
Open from 7 a.m. until as late as 1:30 a.m. (or after the last flight in the terminal boards), Ink.Sack offers custom sandwiches that reflect the many different cuisines Los Angeles is famous for. Sandwiches include cold fried chicken, spicy tuna, bánh mì, Cuban, and chorizo egg and cheese; and house-made Maryland crab chips, pineapple with chile y limó, watermelon with sriracha, and Mexican chocolate chip cookies are also available.
Denver’s Root Down is an homage the 1972 Jimmy Smith song and album (as well as the song’s 1994 Beastie Boys cover), claiming to adhere to its philosophy (going back to the “root” of a song or a dish) and its history, claiming that they “are imperfect but celebrate the flaws.” It shows in their consistent dedication to creating a globally inspired menu featuring organic, seasonal, and farm-to-table ingredients that create earthy dishes such as Thai carrot curry, edamame hummus, and Colorado lamb sliders, as well as an American spin on bento boxes.
A nice full-service restaurant located inside the security checkpoints, Black Bear Saloon is a great option while you’re waiting to catch a flight at Connecticut’s busiest commercial airport. Start off your meal with a Maine lobster roll, mile-high nachos, or crab cakes. The menu includes all kinds of burgers, flatbreads, and sandwiches, as well as multiple white wines and beers in a can, bottle, or on tap.
Columbia Restaurant Airport Café/Yelp
Florida’s oldest restaurant has a location in Tampa International Airport, where you can order delicious Cuban food for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. In addition to their café con leche and Cuban toast, menu must-trys include their signature 1905 Salad, made tableside with iceberg lettuce, tomato, baked ham, grated Swiss cheese, pimiento-stuffed green Spanish olives, and house-made dressing; their Original Tampa Cuban sandwich made with ham, salami, roast pork, Swiss cheese, pickle, and mustard; devil crab croquettes; and soups such as Spanish bean and black bean. The café also has a full bar with wines, mojitos, and sangria.
One Flew South is an oft-lauded airport restaurant located in Terminal E of Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta International Airport. Self-described as “the first upscale dining experience at the world’s busiest airport,” One Flew South calls its travel-inspired cuisine “Southernational,” and the interior is impressive, with an 18-foot marble-backed bar and 30-foot pine and marble sushi bar in its dining room. An international wine list and extensive cocktail list accompany a menu that features sushi, sandwiches, soups, salads, and entrées such as thyme-roasted pork belly, Springer Mountain chicken, and pan-roasted New York strip.
Although named after the hippest city in Hawaii, Lahaina Chicken Company’s two locations are in Honolulu, one of which is located at the gates of Terminal 2 at the airport. Specializing in roast chicken and ribeye roast, the restaurant also serves fried chicken, pizza, stromboli, and pasta alongside classic sides such as veggies, green bean casserole, and mashed potatoes.
You may not expect to enjoy delicious Mexican cuisine in Idaho, but at Boise Airport, you can do just that. Order fresh and grilled marinated meats and vegetables accompanied by delicious salsas, sauces, and dressings made in-house and served in steamed tortillas.
The Berghoff is an iconic dining experience in Chicago, and a modified version exists in Chicago’s famous O’Hare Airport, serving classic German cuisine. Travelers in Terminal 1 can stop by to try out their self-service offerings, which includes sandwiches, salads, and other daily specials, for breakfast, lunch, or dinner.
Known for their St. Elmo’s shrimp cocktail and New York strip, Indianapolis’ popular Harry & Izzy’s steakhouse has an outpost in the airport that’s worth a stop if you’re looking for a bite while waiting. Try their thin-crust pizzas, sliders, and sandwiches too, and if you’ve got an early flight, they have plenty of breakfast burgers and sandwiches on the menu as well.
Locally sourced ingredients and local craft beers grace the menu of Portermill, which has 18 different Iowa beers on tap in addition to over 30 local bottled and canned beers, as well as a wine list and craft cocktails. On the food side, sustainability is important to the menu which includes many in-house items such as salad dressings, fries, and breads for their sandwiches and burgers.
When flying into or out of Wichita, you can’t go wrong with sticking to a classic: Chick-fil-A. Enjoy their delicious chicken sandwiches, wraps, and salads and more.
If you’re ever taking a trip to Louisville, treat yourself to some world-famous Kentucky bourbon for the last, or first, time right at the airport. In addition to a list of more than 85 local bourbons, which includes rare labels, you’ll also find classics on the craft cocktail menu such as a mint julep and Peaches and Beam. For food, enjoy a fried green tomato Benedict, buttermilk fried chicken sandwich, or smoked half chicken among other great Southern entrées.
anthony r./ Yelp
Located at Gate 4 of Maine’s busiest airport, The Shipyard Brewpub has the traditional offerings of soups, salads, sandwiches, burgers, and wings. Particularly of note, however, is their menu of draft beers, wines, and spirits to go along with a delicious Maine lobster roll, Buffalo chicken salad, and whoopie pie.
Since 1944, Obrycki’s has been known for bringing Baltimore delicious steamed crabs and fresh crab cakes. Its airport locations, both in Baltimore Airport, include a restaurant and bar, as well as Obrycki’s A-Bar, a smaller bar serving alcoholic beverages as well as finger foods such as their crab cakes; crab melts and other sandwiches; salads; and small plates, such as chicken wings, shrimp tacos, and a flatbread with crab meat and shrimp.
Legal Sea Foods/Yelp
Legal Sea Foods started out as a fish market in Cambridge, Massachusetts, in 1950, and its first restaurant opened next door in 1968. A Boston classic, Legal Sea Foods has four locations throughout Boston’s Logan International Airport. Dine like the president by ordering their famous New England clam chowder, which has been served at every presidential inauguration since 1981.
Founded by award-winning chef Luciano Del Signore, Bigalora offers up delicious Italian-American cuisine while you wait for your flight in or out of Michigan. Try one of their fresh salads or a delicious appetizer like focaccia or wood-roasted wings before delving into one of their many types of red and white pizzas or an entrée such as rigatoni bolognese or chicken parmigiana. Finish it off with a dessert classic such as gelato or tiramisu.
Minneapolis-based restaurant Ike’s Food and Cocktails has two locations at MSP Airport, providing a great dine-in option for travelers. Sandwiches, burgers, small plates, and even steaks populate the menu, accompanied by an extensive wine list.
Mississippi’s oldest packaging brewery has a brew house and restaurant outpost at Gulfport-Biloxi International Airport that serves not only local beer but some surprisingly good airport fare to fill your stomach. Enjoy their signature pecan beer along with a bacon cheeseburger or salmon flatbread pizza.
Customize yourself an artisan pizza with high-quality ingredients while waiting for your flight at Pizza Studio. You can go with any of their pre-made pizzas such as their Big Cheese Margarita or Backyard BBQ Chicken, and if you’re more daring, go “wild style” and have it with a firecracker crust and diced jalapeños. When customizing a pizza, you get your pick of four crusts (including gluten-free), seven sauces, four cheeses, and all kinds of vegetables and meats before finishing it off with garlic olive oil and basil or cilantro. Pizza Studio also offers custom salads for the more health-conscious flyer.
Open in Bozeman Yellowstone International Airport since 2010, Copper Horse Restaurant serves classic American dishes with locally sourced ingredients, and is a great stop for those seeking vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free options. The bistro, located before the security checkpoint, has oatmeal, omelettes, taco platters, burritos, and nachos, as well as specialty beef hot dogs on a Montana-made bun with all sorts of toppings. The restaurant, located after security, has a fuller menu with pancakes, French toast, customized omelettes, specialty salads, sandwiches, and burgers made with Montana grass-fed beef, bison, or turkey.
Featured on CNN Travel’s “Best Eats at the 20 Busiest U.S. Airports,” the family-owned Village Pub & Grill is a great place to grab a drink and some fantastic comfort food. If you’re not building your own burger, their beer-battered fish and chips or some delicious homemade Southern fried chicken.
Shipyard Brewing Co. makes another appearance on this list with Shipyard Pub, their restaurant location in New Hampshire’s main airport. Like its Maine counterpart, Shipyard Pub has a menu full of soups, salads, sandwiches, burgers, and wings as well as plenty of beers, spirits, and wines.
We can’t tell you exactly where Classified is located in Newark Airport because, well, nobody knows. If you do manage to score an invitation from United Airlines, however, we hear that the exclusive eatery features a world-class menu that’s more than worth the steep price tags. Menu items have reportedly included their signature dishes, a 42-ounce tomahawk steak and a chili lobster, as well as chicken biscuit sandwiches, oysters, shrimp salad, crab cakes, and all other kinds of top-quality seafood dishes as well as many expensive drinks and cocktails.
Exclusive to Albuquerque International Sunport, Black Mesa Coffee Company has two locations there. Known as a coffee shop with all kinds of coffee drinks, both hot and cold, they also serve breakfast, lunch, and dinner with a distinctively Southwestern flavor. Get a Southwest breakfast panini (egg, ham, cheddar, green chile, and red pepper on jalapeño cornbread), green chile chicken soup, or one of their signature seasonal specials such as the Mediterranean turkey (turkey, provolone, lettuce, tomato, and an olive spread on ciabatta bread) or ham and yam (ham, roasted yams, lettuce, and tomato with honey Dijon sauce on a ciabatta roll).
Specializing in authentic Carolina pit barbecue, Brookwood Farms has outposts in two of North Carolina’s major airports. Run by the Wood family since the 1970s, Brookwood Farms brings you smoked meats you can eat right at the gate and still have it taste like it came from an authentic Southern barbecue joint.
There aren’t a great deal of dining options in North Dakota’s small airports. At Hector International Airport, which serves the biggest city in the state, Fargo, you can’t go wrong with Subway. The world’s largest fast-food chain has plenty of submarine sandwich options, as well as wraps, salads, and breakfast sandwiches in addition to cookies, chips, and fruit to accompany your meal.
Celebrity chef Michael Symon owns a restaurant chain that has graced the food options of multiple airports, including Ohio’s biggest. Signature dishes include Symon’s award winning Fat Doug burger with coleslaw, pastrami, stadium mustard, and Swiss cheese; as well as his potato and cheese pierogi with kielbasa, griddled onions, and mustard sour cream. At Bar Symon, not only will you find power outlets at each table or at the bar for you to keep your devices charged, but they also make sure to have screens displaying flight statuses so you can make sure that your delicious meal won’t make you forget entirely about your flight.
A local burger spot, Tucker’s Onion Burgers has a location inside Will Rogers World Airport where you can eat their Oklahoma-style onion burgers made with 100 percent premium Creekstone Farms Black Angus beef. Try the Mother Tucker — made with three times the beef and onions as a single onion burger and weighing over a pound — and wash it down with one of their shakes.
Rogue Ales Public House/Yelp
Considering it’s one of the best cities for beer lovers, it’s no surprise that Portland has a pub in its airport where you can enjoy Rogue’s ales, ciders, and spirits alongside a full menu of delicious bar foods. Order a platter of eggs and bacon, ham, or sausage, or go for a breakfast sandwich or burrito in the morning. Later in the day, their wings, burgers, sandwiches, and salads are more than enough to fill you up.
Tony Luke’s boasts an offering of “the real taste of South Philly,” and their many varieties of cheesesteaks give you plenty of ways to enjoy it. In addition to classic cheesesteaks and chicken steaks, sandwiches can be made with chicken cutlets, roast pork, and mixed veggies served alongside natural-cut fries with all sorts of toppings, or egg sandwiches, bagels, muffins, croissants, and hash browns for the morning.
Enjoy an authentic taste of Rhode Island at Providence Oyster Bar, an airport restaurant with an oyster and shellfish bar full of fresh offerings. If you’re not in the mood for raw mollusks or shellfish, however, you can still have a delicious Rhode Island crispy cod, the POB Burger, or their chicken Alfredo.
At DeSano Pizza Bakery, you can have traditional pizza the way it’s made in the dish’s hometown of Naples, where the art of pizza twirling was perfected. In the morning, you can wake yourself up with a frittata pizza or even a Nutella pizza among other choices, and the restaurant also offers salads and calzones. Cocktails, wines, and beers are also on the menu, as is the option for a sweet cannoli or gelato.
South Dakota’s airports are relatively small and, therefore, there are fewer dining options. At Sioux Falls Regional Airport, however, once you go past security you’ll find SkyDine, a full-service restaurant that specializes in wood-roasted pizza but also has the usual American fare such as burgers, salads, sandwiches, loaded fries, nachos, and more.
Neely’s Interstate Bar-B-Que is a famous Memphis barbecue joint with a convenient location right inside the city’s airport. Get some pork ribs, chopped or sliced beef, a barbecue spaghetti dinner, or one of their many other options alongside baked beans, slaw, or potato salad. You can also purchase their frozen meat, sauce, and seasoning to make it for yourself at home — or at least a T-shirt or hat to remember the experience by.
Barbecue is a Texas staple, which is why both the Austin and Dallas/Forth Worth airports offer the option of dining at The Salt Lick BBQ, widely regarded as among the best barbecue purveyors in the state, providing authentic Texas barbecue for a fantastic layover or if you’re simply hoping to get in on the Texas goodness one last time. Fan favorites include their signature beef brisket and pork ribs, but desserts aren’t to be overlooked either, with delicious options like peach cobbler, pecan pie, and blackberry.
Enjoy a meal from celebrity chef Cat Cora at Cat Cora’s Kitchen, which has also locations in Atlanta Airport, San Francisco International Airport, and Houston’s George Bush International Airport. This restaurant, which also serves as a cocktail and tapas lounge, emphasizes fresh and organic ingredients in its creative offerings, with natural or artisan ingredients being used where it isn’t possible to source locally. They also put great importance in going green, with eco-friendly to-go plates and boxes, as well as utensils and napkins made from bio-degradable materials.
Ben’s Chili Bowl is a Washington, D.C., staple, serving some of the best chili and hot dogs in the country, and if you missed out on them during your trip, Reagan National Airport in Arlington, Virginia, gives you one last chance to sample the goods. Try their classic chili dog (made with a unique local sausage called a half-smoke) or chili burger, or just eat the chili straight. The airport location also serves eggs, sandwiches, and hot cakes for breakfast.
The original Beecher’s Handmade Cheese retail shop is located in Seattle’s Pike Place Market, but travelers passing through Sea-Tac Airport can also grab a bite of America’s best mac and cheese, made with Beecher’s 15-month-aged Flagship Cheddar and Just Jack. Made with chipotle and garlic powder to give it some spice, as well as penne pasta instead of the traditional macaroni, this treat isn’t just for kids anymore.
West Virginia’s two largest airports have the same two options for food: Tudor’s Biscuit World and Gino’s Pizza & Spaghetti House. Tudor’s wins out on account of its varied options for both breakfast and lunch, with biscuits made from scratch on which you can have meats, cheese, eggs, hash browns, and even fried apples. For lunch, try one of their popular hot dogs or 1/3-pound hamburgers.
Vino Volo, which means “wine flight” in Italian, is a San Francisco-based airport wine bar with locations in 33 airports across North America, including Milwaukee’s Mitchell International Airport. You can purchase wine by the glass or bottle or with tasting flights, but they also have food for you to eat in or take to go, such as sandwiches, cheese plates, artisan meats, or pasta.
Restaurants are scarce at Wyoming’s small airports, but at Jackson Hole, you’re good to go with Jedidiah’s. Commiteed giving customers “a fresh taste of the old West,” Jedidiah’s has breakfast specials such as sourjacks (sourdough pancakes with bacon, ham, or sausage) and Road Warrior (an egg sandwich with bacon, ham, or sausage, Cheddar and Swiss cheese on a sourdough bread), as well as entrées such as sandwiches, hot dogs, burgers, wings, and more. That’s more than enough to fill your stomach before you finally board your flight and get served your in-flight meal.
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