When you factor in security lines, delayed flights and the anxiety of boarding, airports aren't always enjoyable. If there's one thing that helps us when we're stressed, it's a cold drink and a good meal. Luckily, some U.S. airports have great restaurants that deliver just that. Here are the six best airport restaurants in the U.S.
Salt Lick BBQ (Austin and Dallas)
The menu at Salt Lick BBQ is mouthwatering — pulled pork, brisket, bison ribs and homemade pecan pie are all part of the fare. That’s probably why Salt Lick BBQ took first place in the Daily Meal’s ranking of the World’s Best Airport Restaurants. In the Austin-Bergstrom International Airport, you can find Salt Lick between Gates 20 and 21 (for ticketed passengers only); in the Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport, Salt Lick is located by gate A-16. It’s the ultimate Texas experience for tourists and Texans alike.
Chicken + Beer (Atlanta)
The next time you’re passing through Hartsfield-Jackson, stop by concourse D, gate 5 for some chicken and, well, beer. The restaurant is the brainchild of Jackmont Hospitality and recording artist Chris “Ludacris” Bridges. It serves Southern comfort food with a twist — think battered catfish with corn edamame succotash and stout braised beef cheeks with sweet potato mash. All beers on the menu are locally-sourced from breweries such as Sweetwater and Monday Night Brewing.
Sushi Maki (Miami)
Sushi Maki serves delicious sushi in the Miami International Airport. Start your meal with an order of spring rolls; then go for the spicy tuna salad. Next, order your sushi either by the piece or get a poke bowl. Platters and raw or cooked rolls are available as well, and sushi burritos and bento boxes also grace the menu. Sushi Maki is the first sushi chain in the U.S. to receive the Marine Stewardship Council Certification, which means that the restaurant purchases its seafood products from sustainable fisheries.
Napa Farms Market (San Francisco)
Self-described as “the artisan marketplace that celebrates the best of Northern California’s agricultural bounty,” Napa Farms Market is located in Terminal 2 and International Terminal G in the San Francisco International Airport. Stop by to enjoy the bagel bar or granola bar in the morning, or opt for the hummus platter if you just need a snack during a mid-afternoon layover. Other popular dishes include the slow roasted pork shoulder, the tomato bisque or any of the pizzas on the menu. The restaurant sources ingredients from local suppliers to focus on sustainability. Vegan and gluten-free choices are available.
Shapiro’s Delicatessen (Indianapolis)
The same family has run Shapiro’s Deli for over 110 years, and it’s an Indianapolis institution — a must-visit for sandwiches, macaroni and cheese and matzo ball soup. All of the deli’s meats (such as brisket, pastrami and corned beef) are prepared in-store. Find Shapiro’s at Gate B14 and try to get your mind — and your mouth — around one of the piled-high sandwiches. And before you rush off to catch your flight, save room for a slice of devil’s food cheesecake.
Brioche Doree (8 U.S. Airport Locations)
Brioche Doree is an urban cafe-bakery with a French influence. Simple, fresh ingredients are at the core of the restaurant, and the menu changes according to the season. The menu also varies based on the location, but you might see a cinnamon brioche, a spinach omelet croissant, quiche Lorraine, a raspberry tartlet and cappuccinos on the menu. Brioche Doree can be found in the following airports: Atlanta, Charlotte, Chicago O’Hare, Miami, Orlando, San Jose and St. Louis.