Even if your layover is only an hour long, you can still enjoy a hearty sampling of central Texas food at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport. Several locally owned restaurants have small outposts in the airport.
If you have a craving for rich Southern food, look no further than Hoover’s. Whether you like your chicken fried, in a fresh biscuit or with a side of waffles, you’ll be ready for a good snooze on the flight after eating here.
For a non-greasy, quasi-healthy option, head to Thundercloud Subs. The California club is my go-to sandwich, with avocado, bacon and turkey. The Austin club with chicken is also an excellent grab-and-go sandwich. The prices are reasonable too, unlike many airport eateries.
If you’re in need of a full-sized dinner, the Salt Lick Taco Bar is probably the best option at the Austin airport. The brisket, turkey and sausage are almost as good as the entrees at the actual restaurant. The potato salad and beans are also a cut above most airport food. The three-meat combo plate will send you waddling along to your final destination.
This is not the place to eat before boarding a plane if you have a delicate constitution. However, if you have no trouble at all digesting thick, gooey cheese, the enchiladas at Maudie’s restaurant are absolutely delicious.
For a slightly less daunting digestive challenge, try the chicken tacos with a side of guacamole. The freshly made breakfast tacos here are also an excellent grab-and-go food when you're in a hurry.
While the airport outpost is primarily a coffee shop, you can still get the one-of-a-kind sandwiches served on a big, buttery bun.
The Schlotzsky’s Original is practically a work of art, a huge sandwich stuffed with onions, salami, cheese and ham. Though it's now a national chain, Schlotzsky's got its start in Austin at a small storefront on South Congress Avenue.
In addition to top-notch ice cream and shakes, Amy’s manages to find employees who can stay cheerful amid the throngs of grumpy travelers. There’s an extensive menu of “crushables” that can be added to any ice cream; my favorite is the toffee crunch bar. If you need to cheer up an exhausted kid, or give yourself a pick-me-up, this is the place to go at the Austin airport.
Serving freshly roasted coffee made with organic beans from Mexico, Ruta Maya also sells excellent pastries. If you need a small meal and a good caffeine jolt, this is a good option. The shade-grown coffee has a rich, well-founded flavor and an intoxicating aroma. The coffee shop always has excellent scones and croissants in a variety of flavors.