archivelogo
 Eat @ Joe's

YOUR CHOICES FOR THE BEST
AT-THE-AIRPORT DINING


BY JOEL ANN REA

May 7, 2003 -- You may travel globally on business, but you want to eat locally while on the road. This is true even at the airport, at least judging by your submissions to the Eat @ Joe's Where to Eat at the Airport mailbox.

You overwhelmingly rejected chain options at the nation's airports, preferring instead to find and patronize the local dining needles in the airport fast-food haystacks. Another thing you prefer: finding more extensive restaurant choices in attached airport hotels. Whenever time permits, it's clear you're not shy about wandering out of the all-too-familiar food courts in search of more interesting fare at a nearby airport-hotel restaurant.

Consider this just the first installment of what I hope will become a more comprehensive list of reader-preferred dining options at American airports. Coupled with my last column, we've made a good start in finding better places to eat on the fly. If you have an airport favorite you want to share--or want to weigh in on the barbecue feud in Memphis--please send your comments and recommendations directly to eatatjoes2003@excite.com.

ATLANTA HARTSFIELD
The self-service Hartsfield Bistro on Concourse T is a great source of freshly prepared, very portable Southern-style hot entrees, sandwiches and salads in small, medium and large portions. Readers also mentioned the "scrumptious" and generously sized pastries.

AUSTIN BERGSTROM
An Austin original, The Salt Lick, offers a taste of Texas Hill Country barbecue, while Amy's Ice Cream, another homegrown favorite, serves homemade ice cream treats in theatrical fashion. Both are located in the West Food Court on the Concourse.

BOSTON/LOGAN
The Logan branches of the hometown Legal Seafoods chain offer "Boston's best fish and seafood," including its seafood raw bar and the "delicious" Icelandic arctic char. There are locations in both Terminals B and C.

CHICAGO/MIDWAY
A small outpost of Manny's Coffee Shop and Delicatessen, the Chicago landmark, has opened in Midway's Concourse A. Travelers say the MDW branch offers Manny's "wonderful" potato pancakes and great sandwiches, minus the boisterous atmosphere of the original on South Jefferson Street.

LOS ANGELES INTERNATIONAL
El Paseo Café in Terminal One near Gate 7 offers "good, authentic" Mexican food "that never fails to please." There's an adjacent bar if you're in a margarita mood. This first El Paseo outpost, named for an Olvera Street institution, has been joined by a second location in the Tom Bradley International Terminal. (There are El Paseo branches in Terminals 2 and 4 of Los Angeles/Ontario Airport, too.)

MEMPHIS INTERNATIONAL
Memphis International has several excellent barbecue spots, all with passionate supporters. Oddly enough, they are all located on Concourse B (for BBQ?). Interstate BBQ at Gate B-14 serves "the world's best chopped beef sandwich" and a "travel pack that will make you a hero at home." Others favor Da' Blues restaurant (Gate B-34) for live music and Corky's ribs, touted as "Memphis' finest." Then there's the Tennessee Tavern (Gate B-17), which features Interstate BBQ in "outrageously delicious," smoky and potent bourbon sauces.

MIAMI INTERNATIONAL
The Top of the Port restaurant, located atop the MIA Hotel at Concourse E, offers "a good meal with a great view" as well as a fitness center and pool for a refreshing pre-flight workout. Others rave about the snacks and sushi to go from the hotel's Concourse level Lobby Bar.

NEW YORK/KENNEDY
Erwin's Glatt Kosher Delicatessen, on the third floor of the West Wing of Terminal 4, serves deli favorites such as "great corned beef sandwiches" as well as hot dogs, burgers, soups, snacks and salads.

PHILADELPHIA INTERNATIONAL
It isn't what everyone thinks of as Philly cuisine, but the upscale take-out fare at Caviar Assouline, at the entrance to Terminal C, includes sushi, salade Niçoise, wraps and other elegantly prepared sandwiches. Plus, there's a nice surprise: "They often put a Valrhona chocolate square in the lunch bag."

PORTLAND, OREGON
The Rose City Café at the Oregon Market serves popular Northwest specialties and "very fresh sushi" (also to go) with great tarmac views. There's a good selection of craft beer and local wines by the glass, too. The Market is located on the second level between the United and Delta ticketing areas.

VANCOUVER, CANADA
The Globe @ YVR in the Fairmont Vancouver Airport hotel, which is situated above the U.S. departures area, offers "creative West Coast cuisine and stunning views" of the North Shore Mountains. Travelers can also order prepared-to-order "food for flight" in the hotel's casual Jetside Bar.

This column originally appeared at joesentme.com.

Copyright © 1993-2004 by Joel Ann Rea. All rights reserved.