Best Domestic Airport Restaurants

Grabbing a Starbucks muffin or a pizza slice may be easier when you're in a rush to make a flight. But if you've got time to kill during a long layover, there are plenty of good airport restaurants where you can enjoy a tasty, fresh meal. Airports are getting better at providing such options. Chicago O'Hare International Airport recently opened an aeroponic garden to grow produce without soil. Located between terminals 2 and 3, the garden's 44 different types of organic herbs and vegetables will be used in dishes at some airport restaurants. If that's not an indication that airport food is evolving, we don't know what is. 

Here are some picks for the best airport restaurants, which range from casual to fine dining. Check them out the next time you stopover in the following major US cities.

The Plant Cafe Organic

The Plant Cafe Organic began in San Francisco. The executive chef at its 3 downtown locations, Sascha Weiss, attended the Natural Gourmet Cookery School in NYC and was formerly film director George Lucas' private chef. The restaurant features a range of light, organic options made from quality local produce. It also offers earthy, California-inspired dishes such as wild mushroom pizza, wasabi plant burgers and avocado salad. Located in Terminal 2.

Jim Neely's Interstate Bar-B-Que

Try some Southern-style barbecue, smoked turkey sandwiches, baked beans and a slice of sweet potato pie at an outpost of this 15 year-old Memphis establishment. Jim Neely inspired his nephew, Food Network host Patrick Neely, to become a restaurateur. Don't be surprised to find slow-cooked favorites that inspire dishes featured on Down Home with the Neelys. Located in Terminal B.


Paschal's is an upscale Atlanta restaurant specializing in Southern cuisine, such as blackened catfish, braised short ribs and shrimp and grits, which are also available at the airport location. Paschal's flagship, which opened in 1947, is in the heart of Atlanta's Castleberry Hill District. Located in the Atrium and in Concourse A.

The Yankee Deli & Clipper Restaurant

The Yankee Clipper is one of the last truly independent airport restaurants left in America, says pilot and author Patrick Smith. It's also “unpretentious, inexpensive and tucked away in a quiet corner of one of the most historic airport buildings in the world,” he says. Located in the Marine Air Terminal.

The Great American Bagel

This casual restaurant based in Westmont, IL, has 52 locations in 12 states, and specializes in big, fresh bagels mixed from scratch. There's nothing like eclectic creations, such as a hot tomazzo pizza bagel for an on-the-go, gourmet snack. Or try the chicken parmesan on a jalapeno bagel, a personal favorite of John E. DiScala, who flies 150,000 miles a year and owns budget travel website The restaurant is also located in airports in Little Rock, Ft. Myers, Miami, Wichita, Portland, ME, Kansas City, MO, St. Louis, Las Vegas, Long Island, Newark, Manchester, NH, Charlotte, Raleigh-Durham, Columbus, Cleveland, Salt Lake City, Norfolk, Washington, DC, and Seattle. Located in Terminal 3.

Deep Blue Sushi

Created by New York celebrity chef Michael Schulson, this full-service Japanese restaurant features a modern menu with items such as seared scallops, sashimi, crispy flounder and Kobe beef. As a result, travelers experience Manhattan dining esteem in a relaxed setting. Located in Terminal 5.

When in doubt about where to catch a good bite while you wait for a flight, follow flight attendants and pilots on Twitter for recommendations, says John E. DiScala of Then ask airline and airport staff where they like to eat and which restaurants are extensions of local establishments. And reference frequent flyer forums, such as, to see where good restaurants are popping up.

Kayleigh Kulp is a freelance lifestyle and personal finance journalist for Fox Business Network and CNN.

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