The holidays are a time of food and air travel, which are two things that go together like two things that, well, don’t go together. Fortunately, if you’re flying into or out of a Texas airport, the folks at Eater.com have offered some tips on where to go. Whether you’ve got a connection at layover-magnet airports like DFW or George Bush Intercontinental—or if you’re the sort of person who buys a Cinnabon at the airport upon arrival—here’s some highlights from Eater on where to eat at the five airports in Dallas, Houston, and Austin. (People flying out of San Antonio, El Paso, and other cities without a local edition of Eater will just have go to hungry.)
There’s no shortage of options at the American Airlines hub, though the airport’s massive size means that you’re probably limited to whatever’s available on your side of the airport—which is unfortunate, because four of Eater’s five highlights in DFW are in Terminal D. If you are flying through that international terminal, though, they have a few recommendations, including the comfortable Sky Canyon:
Sky Canyon: Legendary chef Stephan Pyles brings his elevated Texas cuisine with international flair to a comfortable sit-down setting in the airport with dishes like barbecue brisket tacos, “Freeto” chili pie, veal tagine and butter chicken with cardamom rice, breakfast items including biscuits with chorizo gravy, and desserts such as salted caramel butterscotch pudding. There’s also a margarita bar with craft cocktails like a passion fruit-chile margarita for the much-needed post flight drink. [D14, post-security]
Pretty much everywhere a person can eat that isn’t straight-up fast food at Houston’s junior airport starts with “Pappa,” but all three of the flavors in the chain—seafood, BBQ, or Tex-Mex—still beat McDonald’s. And if you’ve got a long layover and don’t want to feel like you’re stuck in an airport, getting a table at Pappadeux is better than spending hours under flourescent lights at the gate:
Pappadeaux Seafood Kitchen: This Pappas seafood joint serves up satisfying Gulf eats, including po-boys, scallion-topped gumbo, oysters and fried shrimp. Even if you’re not in the mood for seafood, stop in and order a chicken-topped salad. Full service with a full bar. Hours: 8:00 a.m. – 9:00 p.m Monday-Friday; 8:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m. Saturday; 9:00 a.m. – 9:00 p.m. Sunday. [Central Concourse, Food Court]
Love Field barely counts as an airport, at least when compared to its gargantuan sibling in the Metroplex, so the options here are pretty limited. It does have another Sky Canyon, though, and the only airport Whataburger, which is nice for folks who know a good fast food burger when they see one, but who don’t live in Whataburger country year-round.
If you’re looking to avoid getting mowed down by the frankly mega-aggressive transportation cart drivers at George Bush, ducking into a restaurant is a good option. Lending credence to the “intercontinental” in the airport’s name is the fact that a bunch of the options here are in languages other than English: “Le Grande Comptoir,” “La Tapenade,” “The Fruteria y Botanero,” and more. Eater recommends “(almost) reef-quality seafood” for travelers in Terminal B:
3rd Bar Oyster & Eating House: Here, (almost) Reef-quality seafood is made convenient, even as you’re about to board the plane. Revered Houston chef and restaurateur Bryan Caswell also shows hints of his other Houston concepts too, with El Real-style Tex-Mex for breakfast and Little Big’s sliders for a convenient, on-the-go lunchtime option. Hours: 6:00 a.m. – 9:30 p.m. Monday-Sunday. [Post-security; Terminal B, near gates B1 – B31]
The much-touted gimmick of ABIA is that almost all of the restaurants (except an Auntie Anne’s that somehow snuck through) are local to Austin. Even national chain Schlotzsky’s Deli, which is co-branded with Cinnabon, has its headquarters in Austin. As Eater notes, that doesn’t necessarily mean that the experience of eating Salt Lick BBQ at the airport matches that of going out to Dripping Springs, but still, with Amy’s Ice Cream, Annie’s Cafe, and Ruta Maya, ABIA’s got a bit of that “keep it weird” thing going on, and provides Austin natives the opportunity to be snotty about tourists, which is the city’s top pastime:
Maudie’s: If you’re experiencing the special hell that is an early flight, say, post-SXSW or ACL, you know how necessary a decent breakfast taco can be.Maudie’s has them, as well as migas and a menu full of other classic, hot Tex-Mex dishes. Plus, you can enjoy hearing out-of-towners ask, “What is a miga?” [West Terminal, Gate 12.]
Click over to Eater at the links above for the full guide to each city’s airport.
(top image via Flickr)