When tourists travel to Austin from around the globe, their first glimpse of the city is Austin-Bergstrom International Airport. City of Austin staff ensure ABIA is a reflection of the city. Art, live music, and local food foreshadow the wonderful things inbound passengers came to Austin to see.
For Austin residents, ABIA is a reminder of just how cool Austin is. Plus, it gives outbound passengers one last chance to sample food from some of Austin’s most iconic restaurants. Great food is one of the many reasons to love ABIA.
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Next time you pass through our airport, make sure you eat like a local at these ABIA restaurants.
Savor your morning coffee
We’ve all booked an early morning flight only later to realized just how early we were going to have get out of bed. Parking your vehicle, taking the shuttle to the terminal, checking your bags, filing through security screening, and arriving at your gate can take all the time you have. No matter your destination, it is best to arrive at ABIA at least an hour to an hour and a half before your scheduled takeoff. If you can spare a few minutes, grab your morning coffee at Ruta Maya, Austin Java, or Ray Benson’s Roadhouse.
To fill your belly, you can grab a couple breakfast tacos as Maudie’s Tex-Mex. Be kind to your fellow passengers by eating them in the terminal. If you pull them out of your carry-on bag once you’re on the plane, your jealous seatmates will give you the stink eye.
Enjoy a drink with some live music
Tourists come to Austin for live music. What they may not expect is to hear live music when they step into the Barbara Jordan Terminal. The Saxon Pub, Ray Benson’s Roadhouse, and Earl Campbell’s Sports Bar all feature adult beverages and live music acts on weekday afternoons. While many airport bars serve beer you can get anywhere and muzak as generic as a mayonnaise sandwich, Austin delivers local brews and local musicians.
Get your barbecue fix
The brouhaha about which Austin pitmaster produces the best barbecue is an endless argument. Each Austinite has an opinion about who serves up the best brisket, sausage, ribs, sides, and cobbler, but there’s one undisputed king of barbecue at ABIA: The Salt Lick.
With their vinegar-based sauce and unique potato salad, this Austin original causes countless debates among barbecue lovers. It isn’t your typical Texas barbecue, but it is Austin barbecue. The original Salt Lick location still operates just south of Austin in the little unincorporated town of Driftwood.
And if you really want a brisket taco, stop by their taco bar!
Satisfy your sweet tooth
If you haven’t tasted Amy’s Ice Creams Mexican vanilla flavor, you’re missing out on one of Austin’s best sweet treats. If you can’t visit one of Amy’s nearby locations, arrive at ABIA a few minutes earlier than you normally would to see what you’ve been missing all this time.
An airport as unique as Austin
If you think we’ve exhausted all the local food options at ABIA, think again! Make sure you check out Second Bar + Kitchen, Annie’s Cafe & Bar, and Thundercloud Subs in addition to the places we’ve already discussed. These ABIA restaurants are all excellent choices that will give you a nice sampling of the diverse flavors of Austin, but they’re not all of the local food that’s available — find a full list of restaurants here.
ABIA gives visitors a tiny foretaste of the wonderful city they’re about to enjoy, and it gives Austinites a welcoming landing spot that feels like home. So next time you have a flight to catch, leave some room in your itinerary for some local food at Austin’s airport.
Featured photo courtesy Austin-Bergstrom International Airport.