Photo by Jessika Roth
Austin-Bergstrom International Airport echoes the city’s desire to champion local businesses by featuring homegrown restaurants in place of typical airport fare, and a recently opened nine-gate expansion means even more eateries are on the horizon. This guide to ABIA will help you strategize optimal gateside dining.
Coffee & Smoothies
Ruta Maya Coffee
One of Austin’s oldest coffee roasters, the two airport bars are now their only brick-and-mortars. Organic Arabica beans are ethically sourced from Mexico and roasted locally. Expect a traditional coffee shop menu including drip coffee, espresso drinks, and a case full of pastries.
Texas Coffee Traders
When it comes to sourcing, making, and selling global coffee, these are local experts. While their Eastside shop serves up everything coffee-related – from classes to espresso machine parts – in the main terminal, you’ll simply find high-quality coffee served from a kiosk.
Briggo Coffee Haus
Before bypassing the robotic coffee machine in lieu of local hospitality, you should know Briggo is an Austin-made product designed to accommodate coffee customization. What it lacks in human interaction, it makes up in being speedy – place an order through their app before arriving!
For almost a decade JuiceLand has been Austin’s smoothie institution, known for healthy ingredients, colorful fruit-patterned storefronts, and delicious flavor combos. You’ll find a condensed version of their lengthy menu at the new airport spot. Check out the most popular made-to-order smoothies (like the Originator), juices, shots, and açaí bowls. (Vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free.)
Meals & More
Before Franklin, there was the Salt Lick, and eating it at the airport could be the fastest way to score top-quality barbecue in Austin, without a road trip or waiting in hours-long lines. Taste their pit-smoked brisket and ribs with all the fixin’s and wash it down with a Lone Star. Souvenir tip: Since you’ve made it past security, consider stocking up on bottles of barbecue sauce. (Gluten-free; full bar.)
In the perennial debate about Austin’s best tacos, Tacodeli is consistently a top contender. Their brand-new airport location will support your taco cravings for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. This location offers a condensed menu, but you’ll still find their famous salsas and queso. (Vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free; live music Mon.-Fri., 1-5pm.)
Hut’s is an Austin classic, operating their only other location (Downtown) since 1939. The airport location mimics the menu and midcentury decor of the original diner, serving all-American burgers (meat or vegan), shakes, and fries. (Vegetarian, gluten-free; full bar; live music Mon.-Fri., 1-3pm.)
A local food truckturned empire, they serve Southern-Asian fusion, like bánh mì tacos and grain and vegetable bowls, and cater to those on special diets. (Vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free.)
Second Bar + Kitchen
The most upscale of the local ABIA eateries has a condensed menu featuring shareable starters plus salads, sandwiches, and pizzas. Try the decadent Congress Burger (though the foie gras and crisp pork belly add-ons aren’t available) and one of the appropriately named cocktails – Permanent Vacation, anyone? (Vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free; full bar.)
Austin’s go-to local sub shop chain for classic sandwiches made on baked-daily bread has been around since the Seventies, and is a proud supporter of community events like their annual Thanksgiving Day Turkey Trot. This location shares space with Ruta Maya Coffee. (Vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free.)
Annie’s Cafe & Bar
What began in Downtown Austin now exists exclusively in the airport. The modern-style deli counter serves healthy, premade custom salads and made-to-order paninis and pizzas. And the full bar accommodates many types of drinkers. (Vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free; full bar; live music Mon.-Fri., 1-3pm.)
This newly opened location mimics the original sports bar in East Austin, and the menu is loaded with Midwest-inspired comfort sandwiches, craft beers, and poutine. Catch a game and a big burly sandwich. (Vegetarian; full bar; live music Mon.-Fri., 3-5pm.)
East Side Pies
(currently under construction) East Side Pies is a growing local pizza chain that utilizes as many Texas products as possible to make both classic and uniquely flavored thin crust pies. (Vegetarian, gluten-free.)
(currently under construction) This local fave makes better-quality sandwiches and wraps, along with what we call better-quality sides: tots, mac & cheese, fruit, and kale slaw. (Vegetarian, gluten-free.)
Hat Creek Burger Company
(currently under construction) This is a Texaswide, family-friendly burger company with food truck roots. Their menu is kid-friendly, allergen-aware, and seems to have something for everyone. (Vegetarian, gluten-free.)
Amy’s Ice Creams
(currently under construction) Austin’s longtime dessert crush is famous for their popular Mexican Vanilla, served “à la mode” around town. When the full cafe is operating, expect classic and funky flavors with toppings to crush into your scoops. (Vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free.)
Serving frozen yogurt, smoothies, and açaí bowls in Downtown Austin since 2011, this place is great for healthier or dairy-free desserts like fro-yo with fruit (or Reese’s Pieces) on top. (Vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free.)
Hippies & Hops
Bar counter that serves both local and national beer and some wine, but no food
Global coffee chain serving up juices and smoothies in addition to staple coffee drinks
Fig + Plum
Meaty, street-style tacos all day, plus beer and wine
Einstein Bros. Bagels
National chain serving up bagels every kind of way, alongside Caribou Coffee
A walk-up display case filled with premade sandwiches and snacks for shopping quickly
Made-to-order salads and grain bowls
Italian cafe with premade sandwiches, salads, and pizzas along with wine, coffee, and dessert
Upscale wine bar featuring salads, small bites, and tapas in addition to an extensive wine list
Along with the addition of many new restaurants, ABIA said bon voyage to longtime local staples Schlotzsky’s, Maudie’s, and Earl Campbell’s Sports Bar.
Find even more airport dining and drinking at austinchronicle.com/food.