Where To Find The Best Food At Denver International Airport

DIA is home to some excellent food, alongside some out-there conspiracy theories.
Where To Find The Best Food At Denver International Airport image

photo credit: Anne Cruz

In many ways, the Denver International Airport is a microcosm of Colorado itself. Skis and snowboards come through dedicated baggage carousels, giant windows show off views of the nearby mountains, and the sheer amount of hiking packs going through TSA will remind you of a REI commercial. 

While food is far from the most interesting thing at DIA (that would be a tie between the airport’s many conspiracy theories), there are plenty of places to grab a great pre-flight meal. Here are our favorite spots for waiting out a weather delay with a beer and duck wings or starting the morning with a chile-doused breakfast burrito. Just don’t forget to wave to the gargoyles and Blucifer while you’re passing through. 


photo credit: Anne Cruz


Denver Airport

$$$$Perfect For:Keeping It Kind Of HealthyGluten-Free OptionsLunch
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The outpost of the local Denver spot has plenty of vegan and gluten-free options, and dishes like the bàhn mi turkey burger are comforting without feeling too heavy. If you don’t want to commit to a full meal before takeoff, snack on some chile crunch duck wings here instead of mindlessly browsing the $200 backpacks at the Topo Designs store. 

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Even if you’re the type of traveler who rolls up to the airport 10 minutes before boarding, the breakfast burrito from Mesa Verde will inspire you to show up hours before your flight. It’s even worth a detour after you land for the carnitas bathed in green chili sauce on your way to the baggage claim. Mesa Verde also serves standard Mexican plates like nachos and street tacos, but you can ignore those and just fully commit to the weighty breakfast burrito. 

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After getting turned around trying to figure out where you’re supposed to go for TSA Pre-Check, it’s time for a sweet treat from Voodoo Donuts. The chain from Portland makes great fluffy donuts topped with handfuls of crushed oreos, Cap’n Crunch, and entire strips of bacon, but there are glazed old fashioneds and jelly-filled options, too. There are also lots of vegan selections, so you can split a box with your coworker who forgot to pack their baby carrots. If you read up on any of DIA’s lore, you’ll be delighted to find a little photo area right next to Voodoo, complete with an alien statue and references to the airport’s vast network of underground tunnels. 

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Smashburger is essentially the Shake Shack of Colorado—these burgers are reliable for a quick, cheap meal to grab on the way to your gate. You can customize your meal with beef, turkey, or bean patties, but stick with the signature burgers that come loaded with toppings like smoked bacon and brisket or truffle mushrooms. You’ll definitely want some rosemary and garlic fries to nibble on as you scroll on your phone at the gate.

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