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In-flight stroopwafels and paltry packages of pretzels won’t sustain you through any but the shortest of flights. Thankfully, several local eateries like Mercantile Dining & Provision and Voodoo Doughnut, as well as some beloved chains such as Snooze A.M. Eatery and Shake Shack, have added outposts at Denver International Airport in the past few years, so you can properly fuel up before you take off.
Many more acclaimed Denver eateries are also in the queue to open DIA locations in 2023 and beyond. Be on the lookout for French onion soup dumplings from ChoLon, chewy New York–style bagels from Rosenberg’s Bagels, ramen from Uncle, Indian fry bread tacos from Tocabe, sweet treats from D Bar, and perfect-for-the-plane breakfast empanadas from Maria Empanada. The Bindery, Mizu Izakaya and Sushi, Bar Dough, Señor Bear, and Williams & Graham are all planning to enter the airport restaurant game, too.
Ready for a pre-flight food crawl? Here are the best places to eat, drink, and snack at Denver International Airport, broken down by concourse.
Options are limited on Concourse A right now as construction has caused some favorites like Snarf’s and Breckenridge Brewery to temporarily close. Luckily, despite this stretch of the airport being pretty fast food dense at the moment, the sit-down and grab-and-go options you do have available to you are some of the best places to eat in the entire airport.
Pro tip: Concourse A is the only one that you can walk to from Jeppesen Terminal. If you’ve got some time (look at you showing up a couple hours early for your flight!), take a stroll and enjoy the art that lines the pedestrian bridge. Through late June, the Art of Old Signs exhibit in the Y-Juncture of Concourse A is filled with Lafayette-based artist Austin Baskett’s illustrations of historic neon signs, including some Colorado icons like Pete’s Kitchen on East Colfax.
Mercantile Dining & Provision
With a chalkboard promising wagyu pastrami and Korean fried chicken, pastry cases packed with flaky golden croissants, and shelves of elevated plane snacks like dark chocolate salted caramels, chef Alex Seidel’s Mercantile Dining & Provision is a welcome addition to the airport dining scene.
Just like the Union Station outpost, there is a counter-service spot adjacent to the full-service restaurant, so travelers short on time can grab a ham and cheese croissant, cinnamon roll, or another pastry made by Füdmill, Seidel’s wholesale bakery, to go. It’s worth getting to the airport a little early, though, to sit down and savor Mercantile’s Turkish eggs, pork belly biscuits, or miso salmon rice bowls. This is probably the best place to eat at DIA right now. A Gates, Center Core
Denver Central Market
RiNo’s Denver Central Market opened a petite food hall in DIA in 2018, providing the perfect solution for when you’re traveling with a group and everyone has different cravings. This location replicates the original’s penny tile floors and moss green entry sign and serves everything from sushi rolls to pizzas and pastas. Culture Meat & Cheese, Sushi-Rama, and Vero Italian each have stalls in the airport market. Near Gate A48
Mesa Verde Bar & Grill
An oldie but a goodie, Mesa Verde Bar & Grill’s niche is its deep list of tequilas and assortment of margs best paired with the chips (which come to your table hot) and salsa. Enjoy a four-tequila Codigo flight for $32 that includes a prettily pink Rosa tequila, which gets its hue from resting in Napa Valley Cabernet wine barrels. Queso, nachos, pork green chile, tacos, and burritos are all on the menu. A Gates, Mezzanine Level
If you’re flying out of the B Gates, lucky you. This concourse currently has DIA’s widest selection of eats, many of which are located on the mezzanine level. If you take something to go and have some time to kill before boarding starts, head to the B-West outdoor deck to enjoy some fresh air, views, and even a fire pit for chilly days.
With an awareness that lots of travelers connect through DIA, United Airlines opened a “grab-and-go lounge” near Gate B60 in 2022 (available for United Club members, those with one-time passes, and Star Alliance Gold members flying internationally) so you can finally abscond with snacks and drinks without trying to awkwardly hide them in your carryon.
Riffing off DIA’s many conspiracy theories involving underground lizard lairs and the Illuminati headquarters, Voodoo Doughnut has a bright blue alien statue with beady red eyes to greet visitors. Cases of cookie-, candy- and cereal-topped doughnuts along with bacon maple bars and apple fritters spin in the display case, and travelers can snag a pink box filled with a dozen classic doughnuts for $22. Like its other shops, Voodoo’s airport location has lots of vegan options. Windows look into the back of the doughnut kitchen, so you can see the pastries getting frosted. B Gates, Center Core, Mezzanine Level
Airports are full of fast food chains—but some of those chains are loved far more than others. Fan favorite Shake Shack, a New York fast-casual burger chain, made its DIA debut in 2021, serving crinkle-cut fries, Angus beef burgers, and creamy shakes to hungry travelers. B Gates, Center Core, Mezzanine Level
Snooze A.M. Eatery
Enjoy a pre-plane pancake flight at Snooze with flavor choices like pineapple upside down, blueberry Danish, and sweet potato. Or, take your tastebuds down the savory route with a Smashed Avocado Benny layered with poached eggs, tomatoes, and smoked cheddar hollandaise. The iconic Denver-born breakfast chain known for commanding long wait lists opened its DIA outpost in 2021 with a sprawling 30-seat bar. You can often snag a seat here with a shorter wait time than Snooze locations in the actual city. B Gates, Center Core, Mezzanine Level
Steve’s Snappin’ Dogs
The menu at Steve’s Snappin’ Dogs is a geography lesson through the lens of hot dogs, which includes the dragged-through-the-garden Chicago dog and a Dallas dog smothered with chili con carne. Round out your lunch with sweet potato tots. Near Gate B24
Lounge 5280 co-opts airport lounge vibes while serving wine by the glass and bottle, local beers from some of Colorado’s most popular breweries (e.g., Cerveceria, Left Hand Brewing, Oskar Blues, Epic Brewing Company), and craft cocktails made with local spirits like the 5280 Lemonade with Woody Creek vodka and Leopold Brothers blackberry liqueur.
Snacks include a bagel with berry compote and cream cheese, cheese plates, marinated olives and manchego, and fresh mozzarella burrata with marinated tomatoes, balsamic, pesto, and grilled ciabatta.
There’s a bar where you can strike up a convo with fellow travelers, but there are also lots of tables if you need to settle in and shoot off a few emails before setting your OOO. B Gates, Center Core, Mezzanine Level
New Belgium Brewing
There’s a few pretzel purveyors throughout DIA, but you’ll find the very best twisted snack—and one the size of your face—on the menu at New Belgium Brewing. It’s topped with sea salt and served with a jalapeño beer cheese and housemade mustard for dunking.
The DIA outpost of the Fort Collins brewery boasts impressive business hours (6 a.m. to 10 p.m., daily), and it’s usually hopping, pouring some of its greatest hits like Fat Tire and Voodoo Ranger IPA. Breakfast specials plus salads, sandwiches, tacos, and burgers are all on the menu. Near Gate B30
The C gates might win for having the most options for vegan and vegetarian travelers, with Root Down and newcomer Superfruit Republic holding down the center core.
If none of the locally based options below suits your fancy, this concourse also hosts lots of fast food and fast-casual outlets, including Smashburger, Auntie Anne’s Pretzels, Einstein Bros. Bagels, Jamba Juice, Starbucks, and more. You can also catch a game at the Coors Silver Bullet Bar, enjoy some wine and cheese at Vino Volo, or grab a savory or sweet crêpe from Magic Pan.
Great Divide Brewing
Travelers passing through Denver can get a quick introduction to our city’s renowned craft beer scene by taking a seat at Great Divide and ordering a pint of its hazy IPA or imperial stout. Not only are there lots of tasty beers on tap, the hometown brewery serves delightfully beer-centric menu items like french toast with a dark stout mascarpone and ale-battered fish and chips. Near Gate C32
Little Man Ice Cream
Go past the blue stallion with the beady red eyes, take the train over the rumored underground New World Order bunkers, and head to Little Man Ice Cream’s airport kiosk slinging sweet treats and boozy shakes. The iconic ice cream shop serves a dozen different flavors that are constantly rotating. Near Gate C27
Tamales by La Casita
One of the most underrated spots in the airport is Tamales by La Casita. This no-frills Highlands institution has a DIA location, selling Frito pies, green-chile-smothered tamales, and burritos as well as affordable margaritas (especially by airport standards). C Gates, Center Core
Root Down has a fantastic veggie-forward menu that’s peppered with globally inspired dishes like banh mi turkey burgers and vegetarian shoyu ramen. But this funky LoHi restaurant didn’t take any shortcuts on the design of its DIA location, either. Those waiting for their flights can take a seat at reclaimed butcher block tables surrounded by travel-inspired decor like hanging globes and mini metal airplanes on the walls. C Gates, Center Core
Colorado-based Superfruit Republic opened its fourth location at DIA earlier this year, serving smoothies and acai bowls that travelers can top with chia seeds, coconut, strawberry slices, blueberries, granola, and more. The outpost also serves fresh pressed juices and sandwiches prepared by Olive & Finch. C Gates, Center Core