The Best Restaurants At The Austin Airport

There are a ton of locally-owned restaurants at the Austin airport, but these are the best ones.
The Best Restaurants At The Austin Airport image

Austin prides itself on supporting local businesses, and it’s a sentiment that extends out to the airport—where dozens of bars and restaurants from all over the city have built tiny little outposts in case you also have a codependent relationship with breakfast tacos. That means that as soon as you finish retying your shoes, you’ll be able to eat things like smoked brisket, cheesesteaks, and fried chicken sandwiches (and of course, tacos).

It’s not the exact experience you’d get dining at the restaurant counterpart in town, but what you’re getting is infinitely better than what you’d find at much bigger airports. Besides, what other airports in the world smell like barbecue? We have it pretty good. There’s live music playing at most hours, art installations to pass the time, and there are even local shops selling toys and souvenirs so you can grab a last minute present for your younger cousin that you haven’t seen in six months. Whether you’re looking for a snack after landing, fueling up before a long flight, or just passing through during a long connection, these are the best spots to eat at the Austin airport. 


photo credit: Nicolai McCrary



Austin-Bergstrom International Airport

$$$$Perfect For:Quick Eats
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While the original Second Bar + Kitchen on Second Street might not exist anymore, its memory—and many of its signature menu items—still live on at the Austin airport (there’s also a location on the East Side). That means you can still get dishes like the “Congress burger” (very much not on Congress Avenue) plus lighter dishes like the cold soba salad with grilled chicken. Maybe if this location sticks around for a while, we’ll be talking about the signature “airport pizza” in a few years. 

Located near Gate 16

If you’ve been in Austin for any amount of time, there’s a good chance you’ve already eaten at a Tacodeli—home to one of our favorite breakfast tacos in town. It’s the perfect meal before a crack-of-dawn flight because it's a great source of potato and egg-based energy, and because the fiery Salsa Doña will wake you up better than any latte ever could. And if you’re not in the mood for breakfast tacos (available all day), you can also get non-breakfast tacos, plus chips and queso to help pass the time. 

Located near Gate 15

We love the Korean steak tacos at The Peached Tortilla’s original location, and their airport outpost lets us linger on those sweet, spicy, and savory bulgogi flavors until right before it’s time to take off. Of course, you can also get Chinese BBQ chicken, brisket, and cauliflower as tacos or a rice bowl. ABIA has pretty good food by airport standards to begin with, and The Peached Tortilla is right up there near the top. 

Located near Gate 16

When we’re dealing with an early morning departure, we like to start with a coffee (and maybe a breakfast sandwich) from Medici to kickstart our brains. It’s fast, reliable, and significantly more local than a certain other popular chain coffee shop with long lines just a few gates away. 

Located near Gate 7

The massive slices at Salvation spill off both sides of the paper plate they arrive on, and are covered in a thick layer of nicely browned, stretchy cheese. Eat it with a beer in hand, and you can recreate the experience of dining at their Rainey Street location. Stylistically, it falls somewhere between a bar pizza and a New York slice. But realistically, you’ll finish it before you can even think too hard about the difference between the two. 

Located near Gate 11

It may not have the same foot traffic, people-watching potential, or patio appeal of the original location on South Congress, but Jo’s at the airport is one of our favorite spots for a quick coffee or a grab-and-go snack, like breakfast tacos or sausage wraps. And when we want something just a little bit sweeter, there’s no better option than an Iced Turbo—a sweet, creamy iced coffee with chocolate and hazelnut. 

Located near Gate 19

At Noble Sandwich, you can watch everything get prepared on a hot griddle in front of you—something of a rarity in the world of airport dining. Don’t expect some kind of Benihana-like spectacle, but do expect food that arrives fresh. We like the Knuckle Sandwich—with roast beef, caramelized onions, and cheddar cheese, plus a little horseradish sauce for added kick. We’ve found it pairs pretty well with a cold pint from the Austin Beerworks bar in the same dining area. 

Located near Gate 13

There was a time when half of Austin spent their weekends making the 45-minute pilgrimage out to Driftwood for barbecue at The Salt Lick. Now, we have our very own location at the airport—it’s perfect for when you need one last brisket fix before boarding a plane to a barbecue-deprived city. 

Located near Gate 22

It’s a promising sign when the server at an airport restaurant asks you “how would you like your burger cooked?” And it’s even more promising when you can watch the bartender squeezing fresh limes for the margarita you ordered to accompany that burger. Parkside at the airport might not have all the appeal of its (temporarily closed) downtown counterpart—known for things like oysters and steak frites—but it’s one of the more reliable bets at ABIA for a pre-flight burger and a margarita. 

Located near Gate 3

When we hear the word “Juiceland” our mind goes to some whimsical fantasy world where smoothies grow on trees and the rivers flow with fresh-pressed juices. This universe unfortunately doesn’t exist at Gate 17, but they do make some great juices and smoothies. The menu is a little smaller than the other locations in town, but you can still order most of the classics, including one of our favorites—the percolator, a.k.a. a cold brew smoothie that’s both a filling breakfast and your morning coffee in one convenient cup.

Located near Gate 17

Way before Komé was a brick-and-mortar, they sold sushi out of a little cart called Sushi-A-Go-Go. The cart is long gone, but the name (and the sushi) lives on once again, this time between Gates 12 and 13. Don’t come looking for high-end nigiri or even much of a sit-down experience, but if you want some pretty good grab-and-go airport sushi, this is a solid option. Technically, it’s your only option, too. 

Located near Gate 13

This Haymaker location might not draw quite the same crowds as the original sports bar, but it’s still one of the most popular spots in the airport for a pre-flight beer. There’s usually a line to get in, but it tends to move pretty quickly, and if you’re in the mood for an Electric Jellyfish IPA and a decent patty melt, it’s worth the wait. 

Located near Gate 24

Flyrite does one thing, and they do it pretty well—fried chicken in sandwich and tender form. The sandwiches use breast meat, but through some combination of brining and good luck (or maybe that’s just called experience), the chicken manages to stay juicy on the inside with a nice crunch on the outside. The best part is their six different house-made sauces to choose from (we like the cucumber yogurt).

Located near Gate 22

I Vini feels a bit like a small countertop restaurant at a high-end Italian grocery store. If you have some time to kill, it’s a great spot to hang out for a little while with a glass of wine and personal pizza. There’s also a small grab-and-go counter with sandwiches and salads for when you’re on the move. 

Located near Gate 30

While you can get a good burger at Thurman’s, the sleeper hit here is the cheesesteak. The bread is fluffy and toasted, the steak (or chicken) is full of flavor, and, most importantly, it’s packed with melty cheese. While there isn’t exactly any competition, we can definitively say this is the best cheesesteak at the airport, and the fries are great, too. 

Located near Gate 21

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