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The Five Best Airports for Filling Up on Fancy Fast Food

June 2, 2010 at 9:40 AM | by | ()

With in-flight food options worse than ever, many of us are subjected to whatever fried foods are available within the terminal. Thankfully some airports bring a little local love through TSA, and make city favorites available to folks like us. We took a look around and found the Five Best Airports across the country to get your Fast Food Fix. Here’s what we think:

· Hot Dogs with Tons of Toppings in Los Angeles
Los Angeles has some of the best and trendiest restaurants in the country, but the city also has some of the finest in cheap and unhealthy eats as well. If you missed waiting in the long line during your trip to Southern California, there’s the option to load up on chili dogs before your long flight home. Pink’s Hot Dogs is set to open soon at Los Angeles International Airport.

The menu might be more limited than the original location, but it’s great to see some local flavor make it to the airport. Annoy your seatmates by loading up on a take-out order before your flight if you’re flying out of the Tom Bradley International Terminal. The place will even have its own signature dog—the LAX International Dog—when it opens later this month.

· Not the Typical Tacos in Austin
When at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport, it’s hard to resist having dessert first, but if you can manage, there are some great options available in the terminal. One of the best is local institution Salt Lick Bar-B-Que within the West Food Court. It’s got all the options that make Texas barbecue famous, including plenty of brisket and smoked sausage, and they even give you a big piece of bread to sop up all the extra sauce. There’s also an outpost of the restaurant right after security that sells tacos too, but they are stuffed with barbecue brisket and pork rather than whatever stuff Taco Bell uses.

· An American Classic in the Nation’s Capital
Those on the West Coast are lucky enough to have In-N-Out Burger, but us on the other side of the nifty fifty got an equally delicious burger option a few years ago. Five Guys Burgers and Fries has been invading strip malls with their huge burgers and crazy portions of fries, and the burger place has made it to both Washington Dulles International Airport and Reagan National Airport. Burgers are available at two locations in Dulles near gates B71 and A3, and those greasy paper bags can be found within the North Pier at National. Just a tip: order the little cheeseburger—the regular burger is actually a double and way too much for a pre-flight meal.

· A Taste of the South in Atlanta
If you’ve ever spent anytime in the South it’s likely that you’ve come to experience the deliciousness and friendliness that is Chick-fil-A. It’s standard fast-food fare outside of the airport, complete with drive-thru windows, but it’s all chicken and no beef. For those that have never had the classic fried chicken sandwich with pickles and nothing else, you’re in for a treat (and don't forget a side of waffle fries). Our only warning is that the employees are usually crazy friendly, but we can’t guarantee that at the airport location. Help out the cows and “eat more chikin” next time you’re near gate A11 at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport.

· More than Just Meat In Memphis
Many cities claim that their barbecue is the best, but Memphis might just be telling the truth when they make that claim. Sure there are plenty of options outside of the airport, but if you’re stuck with a connection and an empty belly, there’s no better place to turn than Interstate Bar-B-Que within the Concourse B Rotunda at Memphis International Airport. Ribs, brisket, and pork shoulder are just some of the smoky saucy treats available to enjoy. Make sure you have a decent layover before digging in, because this is a place best enjoyed at a table within the terminal rather than a tray table within the plane.

Related Stories:
· The Best Domestic Airlines for Healthy In-Flight Snacking [Jaunted]
· A Website for Finding Out If Your Airport Has a Sbarro's or a Wine Bar [Jaunted]
· Airport Food coverage [Jaunted]

[Photos: paulsims & House of Sims]

Archived Comments:

Yeah about that...

I'm not sure how many states you travelled too, but Five Guys and Chick-ful-A hardly are "local love" for anything. Sure they may be good...but just as papa johns is good are either of those two places any good themselves. good food, fast and cheap. when I'm either on the west coast or east coast five guys is a gpod stop for cajun fries. but if this articles purpose is to show people hidden gems of fancy restaurants in airports with local flavor you are terribly misleading them with those 2. I mean Chick-fil-A? really? why dont you just reccomend this really homey down to earth place that i ran across the other day..it was called McDonalds.


Out of five recommendations one isn't open yet and two are at least semi-national chains? Here is a short list of a few local-local faves: PHL - Jet Rock Bar&Grill (Terminal F) - Authentic Philly Cheesesteaks (Not as good as Geno's, but still...) ORD - Billy Goat Tavern (Terminal 1- Concourse C) - Go for the Italian Beef Dip with giardiniera of course. JFK - Famous Famiglia Pizzeria (Terminal 5) - Closest to NY style pizza I've found in an airport. ATL - One Flew South (Concourse E) - Good southern influenced food with product from regional farms. One of the best new restaraunts I've seen. CLT - Taste of Carolina Bar - It's not fancy, but it's good ;)

Why We Picked What We Picked

@Incoherent - We picked Five Guys and Chick-fil-A for three reasons:
1) They are delicious
2) They aren't everywhere...yet
3) Five Guys was started in the DC area, and the Chick was started near ATL

We were going for fancier fast food options beyond the usual choices at the airport, and these two aren't in every major hub...and we just kind of love them both.

@untraveled - Awesome picks, One Flew South might be the best airport restaurant in the country. Maybe we'll stick to sit-down recommendations for airport eats round two.

Just say no to Christian chicken

If you don't hate gay people, think a woman has the right to choose whether to have a baby, or beating children is wrong... you might want to avoid Chic-fil-a as they are proud supporters of Focus on the Family. Focus on the Family's James Dobson has said things like: "[P]ain is a marvelous purifier. . . It is not necessary to beat the child into submission; a little bit of pain goes a long way for a young child. However, the spanking should be of sufficient magnitude to cause the child to cry genuinely." "Homosexuals are not monogamous. They want to destroy the institution of marriage. It will destroy marriage. It will destroy the Earth." http://gayrights.change.org/blog/view/is_your_chicken_sandwich_homophobic

Don't forget UK Airports

The main UK international airports have Harry Ramsden Fish & Chip shops - traditional British Fayre by franchise but some of the regional airports have local specialities which you should keep an eye out for. A couple of examples are Black Pudding Burgers in many northern terminals and various outlets offering traditional pasties in the South West