First Stop: 25 Great Roadfood Eateries Near Airports


Airport Food

Food in airports is better than it used to be, but when we arrive by plane, we can’t get out of the terminal fast enough. By rental car, or even cab or Uber, we head for the nearest Roadfood eatery. These are our 25 favorite Roadfood locations that are minutes away from airports. They make great first stops or final farewells.

Top 25 List:

Buffalo, NY: Charlie the Butcher for beef on weck

Boston, MA: Santarpio’s for pizza

Philadelphia, PA: Leo’s for a cheese steak

Washington, DC (Reagan International): Weenie Beenie for a half smoke

Columbia, SC: Hite’s Bar-B-Que for barbecue (weekend only)

Atlanta, GA: Big Daddy’s Dish for barbecue; Barbecue Kitchen for vegetables

Tampa, FL: La Teresita for a Cuban sandwich

New Orleans, LA: Morning Call Coffee Stand for beignets and cafe au lait

St. Louis, MO: Natalie’s Cakes & More for caramel cake

Cleveland, OH: Little Polish Diner for hunter’s stew

Chicago (O’Hare): Gene & Jude’s for a hot dog

Minneapolis, MN: Hot Plate for waffles; Wise Acre Eatery for anything on the menu; Pumphouse Creamery for ice cream

Dallas/Fort Worth (in Grapevine): Bartley’s Bar-B-Q for barbecue; Tolbert’s Restaurant for chili

San Diego: El Indio for fish tacos

Los Angeles: Randy’s Donuts for donuts; Serving Spoon for soul food

San Francisco: Barbara’s Fish Trap for fish ‘n’ chips

Seattle: Des Moines Dog House for sausages and empanadas

Phoenix: Little Miss Barbecue for brisket

Boise: Bar Gernica for a Basque feast

Palm Springs: Felipe’s for Mexican food & margaritas



Charlie the Butcher

Charlie the Butcher serves Buffalo's unique beef on weck sandwich at its best, plus a wide variety of excellent butcher-block specialties.


Santarpio’s Pizza

Santarpio's thin-crust pizza is a long-standing Boston highlight. Also on the menu: BBQ, which actually is charcoal-cooked sausage and lamb. Delicious!



One of the top cheese steak shops in Philadelphia, Leo's makes especially huge sandwiches on high quality Amoroso Bakery bread.


Weenie Beenie

Half-Smoke sausages, the one dish unique to DC, are best at Weenie Beenie. They're yummy at lunch, also with egg and cheese for breakfast.


Hite’s Bar-B-Que

Whole hog and nothing but the hog! Hite's is a legend for weekend-only traditional and utterly delicious South Carolina BBQ. Everything is take-out.


Big Daddy’s Dish

Fried chicken, spare ribs, catfish, etc. accompanied by expertly-cooked vegetables and Georgia peach cobbler make Big Daddy's an Atlanta best bet for soul food.


Barbecue Kitchen

Barbecue Kitchen serves excellent BBQ, but its glory is Southern-style vegetables. It's a humble gem just minutes from the Atlanta airport.


La Teresita

A Tampa lunch-counter cafe where locals eat, La Teresita serves such Cuban specialties as cafe con leche, roast pork sandwiches, and chicken with rice & beans.


Morning Call Coffee Stand

** THIS RESTAURANT IS PERMANENTLY CLOSED ** Morning Call serves what may be the best beignets on earth. Expertly made cafe au lait and an on-the-ball uniformed staff make it a NOLA essential.

Natalie’s Cakes & More

Natalie’s Cakes & More

The specialty is caramel cake, moist and buttery, at Natalie's, a charming neighborhood bakery that survived the Ferguson, Missouri, riots, and now thrives.


Little Polish Diner

Little Polish Diner daily specials include bigos (hunter's stew), chicken paprikash, and Friday lake perch. Pierogi and kielbasi always are available.


Gene & Jude’s

Natural-casing, all-beef Vienna brand hot dogs are slim and snappy at Gene & Jude's. They come dressed to order and topped with excellent French fries.


Hot Plate

Decor at Minneapolis' Hot Plate is kitsch, including Paint-by-Numbers art; but there's nothing silly about the food -- a mindful exaltation of diner fare.


Wise Acre Eatery

Farm-to-table dining at its finest in Wise Acre Eatery, a casual, modern Minneapolis restaurant located in a former gas station.


Pumphouse Creamery

Small-batch ice cream is made at Pumphouse using local dairy products and fruits. The result: ice cream with big, fresh flavor and pure farm character.


Bartley’s Bar-B-Q

First-class Texas BBQ just minutes from DFW airport. Bartley's serves tender smoked meats along with excellent side dishes and knock-out cobbler for dessert.


Tolbert’s Restaurant

Tolbert's menu is broad, including steaks, seafood and bar food; but true-Texas chili con carne, aka bowl of red, remains true to its origins.

Must Eats

El Indio

El Indio is a quick-service take-out Mexican restaurant adjacent to Interstate 5 in San Diego, California. Best dishes: classic fish taco, carne asada.

Must Eats

Randy’s Donuts

Donuts at 24/7 Randy's of Los Angeles, California, include the basic (and best) honey glazed, jelly-filled, powdered, frosted and crème-filled.


Serving Spoon

Estimable soul food is the specialty of the Serving Spoon, a Los Angeles restaurant that fairly rocks with hospitality and good vibes.


Barbara’s Fish Trap

Barbara's Fish Trap is an informal seafood restaurant overlooking the harbor at Pillar Point in Half Moon Bay, California. Fish and chips and so much more.


Des Moines Dog House

In this neighborhood restaurant named for Des Moines, Washington, sausage options include brats, kielbasas, hot links, linguica, even vegetarian hot dogs.


Little Miss BBQ

One of the best BBQs of the Southwest – one of the best anywhere – Phoenix's Little Miss makes brisket, pork and beans that belong on all foodies' bucket list.


Bar Gernika

Saturday is the day to visit Bar Gernika in the heart of Boise's Basque Block. That is because beef tongue is available all day, sided by croquetas.

Must Eats
Beef Tongue , Croquetas


Felipe's is a modest storefront restaurant serving some of the best Mexican food in Palm Springs. Margaritas are great; dessert mustn't be missed.