Where to eat and drink at Denver International Airport while stuck during holiday travel

Taking your chances with holiday travel? There are worse places to be waylaid than at Denver International Airport, which now has a surprising number — and growing — of local food offerings. For years, those traveling through the C concourse have lucked out with the quirky dining room and bar of one of Denver’s homegrown restaurants, Root Down. Now other concourses, too, are getting local restaurant anchors. Here are our top picks for food and drinks at the A, B and C gates, as well as information on some airport-wide coming attractions.

A Gates

Denver Central Market (A48) has landed a smaller version of its River North food hall in the airport, where you’ll find options for everyone in your traveling entourage. Vero Italian sells pizzas and pastas; SK Provisions has comfort foods like rotisserie chicken and potatoes; Sushi-Rama sources high-quality rolls; and Culture Meat & Cheese provides snacks and sandwiches. You can sit and order directly at the bar or pay for your food and take it to a table.

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Snarf’s (A73) is your stop for toasted subs and sandwiches. The Colorado-based company carries 5-, 7- and 12-inch options like classic Italian, meatball and eggplant parmesan. At the airport, Snarf’s also serves up soups, salads, desserts and gluten-free options.

Sitting down? Denver Chophouse (concourse center) provides more of a restaurant experience for those who want more than fast-casual dining. You can also keep it simple with bison burgers, steaks and Denver Chophouse’s own beer, from seasonal brews to a pale ale and Dortmunder lager.

B Gates

New Belgium Brewing (B30) is a new addition to the B concourse. The drinks come courtesy of Colorado’s largest craft brewer (which is in the process of selling to Japanese beverage company Kirin). The food menu was created by Denver chef Paul Reilly (of Beast + Bottle, Coperta and Pizzeria Coperta). You’ll notice beer-infused dishes such as the 1554 BBQ pulled pork and the Fat Tire chicken sandwich.

Etai’s (B23) brings the Colorado bakery and cafe in two formats: to-go and sit-down in a bar setting. Sandwiches, paninis, soups and salads are the main offerings. The bar serves beer and cocktails.

In a pinch? Modern Market’s (concourse center) Boulder-based marketplace has something healthy for everyone at the airport, including vegan and gluten-free options. A full breakfast menu (steel cut oats, scrambles) transitions to salads, soups and sandwiches for the rest of the travel day.

C Gates

Guess which local ice cream shop is now serving up spiked milkshakes at Denver Airport 1

Little Man Ice Cream (C27) is Denver’s best-known creamery, new to the airport’s C concourse this year with its scoops, pints and sandwiches. To take the edge off of flying, there are also boozy milkshakes in flavors like whiskey apple pie and Oreo java spiced rum.

Root Down (concourse center) has proved itself a consistent jumping-off point for any vacation. As the first of the popular Edible Beats restaurants in town (see also: Linger, Ophelia’s, Vital Root and El Five), it serves eclectic eats like Thai carrot curry soups, roasted beet salads, banh mi turkey burgers and more from a flashy travel-themed dining room.

Drink and go? Tapas Sky Bar (C24) lets you order from a menu of 16 wines, 12 Colorado craft beers and specialty cocktails and then take your drink with you (but within a marked, carpeted area).

jax dia original rendering Courtesy BCV Architecture Interiors

Coming soon(ish)

Get ready for these worthwhile stops on a future trip.

Jax Fish House is one of the Boulder and Denver staples coming to the renovated Great Hall, which has faced massive delays. Once it does open, this seafood purveyor will sell sustainable catches and cocktails.

Shake Shack — already in RiNo and Highlands Ranch and coming to Cherry Creek and Boulder — is also planned for the B concourse. The franchise burger spot is slated to open by Thanksgiving 2020.

Mercantile Dining & Provision is expanding from downtown’s Union Station with an A-concourse outpost that replaces Chef Jimmy’s in the spring. The restaurant from James Beard Award-winner Alex Seidel will serve three meals a day as well as house-made pastries.

The Post original rendering Courtesy of BCV Architecture Interiors

The Post Brewing Co., also by the owners of Jax Fish House, will bring its beers and fried chicken to the Great Hall as well.

Snooze, Denver’s favorite breakfast export, is slated for the B concourse’s restaurant overhaul, along with Shake Shack and Osteria Marco, a Frank Bonanno restaurant specializing in fresh pastas.

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