Denver Airport 101: Where to eat and drink at DEN

Nov 17, 2019

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Denver International Airport is the largest airport in the United States by land size and the fifth busiest in the country, serving some 64 million passengers each year. United and Frontier both use the airport as a hub and it’s a focus city for Southwest Airlines.

Although the airport (code DEN, though often referred to as DIA) has some solid lounges, none of their food offerings are enough to count as a meal. Anyone looking for preflight grub will need to visit one of Denver Airport’s restaurants or bars. You might not find caviar or a high-end 24/7 bakery, but this airport definitely isn’t a wasteland of fast-food joints and far-from-fresh fare.

Related: Denver Airport 101: A guide to the lounges at DEN

Here’s a look at some of Denver Airport’s best bars and eateries that will dazzle your palate. Presecurity restaurant options are temporarily limited because of renovation of Jeppesen Terminal, the main landside part of the airport. There are plenty of choices airside and we’ve included options for all three of DEN’s concourses, which are connected airside so it’s relatively easy to travel between them.

Related: 10 airport restaurants so good you won’t want to leave the terminal

In This Post

Concourse A

Breckenridge Brewery

Location: Near gate A71

Hours: 7 a.m.–10 p.m.

Cuisine: American, wine and beer

Price: $$

Pro tip: If you’re feeling adventurous, try the Beer-mosa, which is the White Ale topped with orange juice, or the Vanilla Porter with a kick of raspberry syrup.

(Photo courtesy of Paradies Lagardère)
(Photo courtesy of Paradies Lagardère.)

Brother’s BBQ

Location: Near gate A71

Hours: 9 a.m.–4 p.m; closed Saturday and Sunday

Cuisine: American, quick-serve

Price: $$

(Photo courtesy of Paradies Lagardère)
(Photo courtesy of Paradies Lagardère.)

Chef Jimmy’s Bistro & Spirits

Location: Center core

Hours: 6 a.m.–12 a.m.

Cuisine: American, Italian, full bar

Price: $$

Denver Central Market

Location: Near gate A48

Hours: 6 a.m.–10 p.m.

Cuisine: American, healthy-choice, Italian, sushi, vegetarian, quick-serve

Price: $$

Pro tip: If you’ve been to Denver Central Market in the city’s RiNo neighborhood, this outpost should feel familiar. There are simplified versions of Sushi-Rama, Vero Pizza and Pasta, SK Provisions and Culture Meat, and you really can’t go wrong with any of them.

(Photo courtesy of Denver International Airport)
(Photo courtesy of Denver International Airport.)

Denver Chophouse

Location: Center core

Hours: 5:30 a.m.–10 p.m.

Cuisine: American, steaks, full bar

Price: $$$

Mesa Verde Bar & Grill

Location: Mezzanine

Hours: 6 a.m.–9 p.m.

Cuisine: Mexican, Tex-Mex, vegetarian, full bar

Price: $$

Pro tip: Sample Mesa Verde’s massive tequila selection by ordering a tequila flight.

(Photo courtesy of Denver International Airport.)

Snarf’s Sandwiches

Location: Near gate A73

Hours: 6 a.m.–10 p.m.

Cuisine: American, vegetarian, gluten-free, quick-serve

Price: $

Pro tip: Order one of Snarf’s specialty sandwiches and pair it with a lager from the Breckenridge Brewery next door.

(Photo courtesy of Paradies Lagardère.)

Vino Volo

Location: Near gate A49

Hours: 10 a.m.–9 p.m.

Cuisine: American, full bar

Price: $$

Additional restaurants in Concourse A include: Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream, Caribou Coffee, Dunkin’ Donuts, Freshëns Fresh Food Studio, KFC Express/Pizza Hut Express, Lavazza, McDonald’s, Panda Express and Quiznos.

Concourse B

Crú Food and Wine Bar

Location: Near gate B51

Hours: 7 a.m.–10 p.m.

Cuisine: American, wine and beer

Price: $$

Elway’s

Location: Center core

Hours: 7 a.m.–11 p.m.

Cuisine: American, steaks, full bar

Price: $$$

Pro tip: Signature dishes include hand-cut, aged USDA prime steaks, but Elway’s staple Smash Burger is great too.

(Photo courtesy of Elway's)
(Photo courtesy of Elway’s.)

Lounge 5280 Wine Bar

Location: Mezzanine

Hours: 8 a.m.–10 p.m.

Cuisine: American, full bar

Price: $$

(Photo courtesy of Rowland + Broughton)
(Photo courtesy of Rowland + Broughton.)

Modern Market

Location: Center core

Hours: 5:30 a.m.–9:30 p.m.

Cuisine: American, healthy-choice, vegetarian, quick-serve

Price: $

New Belgium Brewing

Location: Near gate B30

Hours: 6 a.m.–10 p.m.

Cuisine: American, family-friendly, full bar

Price: $$

(Photo courtesy of New Belgium Brewing)
(Photo courtesy of New Belgium Brewing.)

New Belgium Hub

Location: Near gate B80

Hours: 6 a.m.–10 p.m.

Cuisine: American, family-friendly, full bar

Price: $$

Additional restaurants in Concourse B include: Aviator’s Sports Bar & Bar-B-Que, Cantina Grill, Caribou Coffee, Chick-fil-A, City Wok, Etai’s, Heidi’s Brooklyn Deli, Jamba Juice, McDonald’s, Pizza Hut Express/Haagen Daz, Pour La France!, Qdoba Mexican Eats, Que Bueno! Mexican Grille, Rocky Mountain Café, Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory, Sara Lee Sandwich Shoppe/Colombo Frozen Yogurt, Smashburger & Bar, Starbucks Coffee, Steve’s Snappin’ Dogs, Wetzel’s Pretzels, Wolfgang Puck and Woody Creek Bakery & Café

Concourse C

Great Divide Brewing

Location: Near gate C32

Hours: 6 a.m.–10 p.m.

Cuisine: American, full bar

Price: $$

Pro tip: Great Divide is known best for its brews, but there are some tasty dishes on the menu as well, such as the Yeti Braised Short Rib Tacos and the Farmhouse Ale Chicken, both of which  incorporate Great Divide’s craft beer into the ingredients.

(Photo courtesy of Great Divide Brewing)
(Photo courtesy of Great Divide Brewing.)

Little Man Ice Cream

Location: Near gate C27

Hours: 6 a.m.–9 p.m.

Cuisine: Snacks and sweet treats

Price: $

Pro tip: Little Man Ice Cream is a Denver icon. It’s known best for its ice cream “Sammie’s” (aka ice cream sandwiches) and boozy shakes, such as the Whiskey Apple Pie, Oreo Java Spiced Rum and Illuminati Shake.

(Photo courtesy of Little Man Ice Cream)
(Photo courtesy of Little Man Ice Cream.)

Modern Market

Location: Near gate C28

Hours: 5 a.m.–9 p.m.

Cuisine: American, healthy-choice, vegetarian, quick-serve

Price: $

Root Down

Location: Center core

Hours: 7 a.m.–9 p.m.

Cuisine: American, gluten-free, healthy-choice, vegetarian, full bar

Price: $$

Pro tip: Root Down offers the biggest selection for vegetarians and vegans traveling through DEN.

(Photo courtesy of Mission Yogurt, Inc.)
(Photo courtesy of Mission Yogurt Inc.)

Tapas Sky Bar

Location: Near gate C24

Hours: 7 a.m.–11 p.m.

Cuisine: American, full bar

Price: $$

Timberline Steaks & Grille

Location: Center core

Hours: 6 a.m.–10:30 p.m.

Cuisine: American, full bar

Price: $$

Pro tip: As of Oct. 15, 2019, Timberline is no longer a part of the Priority Pass program.

(Photo courtesy of Mission Yogurt, Inc.)
(Photo courtesy of Mission Yogurt Inc.)

Vino Volo

Location: Near gate A49

Hours: 10 a.m.–9 p.m.

Cuisine: American, full bar

Price: $$

Additional restaurants in Concourse C include: Auntie Anne’s, Big Bowl, Caribou Coffee, Coors Silver Bullet Bar, Dazbog Coffee, Einstein Bros. Bagels, Jamba Juice, McDonald’s, Smashburger & Bar, Starbucks Coffee, The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf, The Magic Pan, Villa Pizza and Woody Creek Bakery & Café.

Jeppesen Terminal

Boulder Beer Tap House

Location: Level 5 west

Hours: 7 a.m.–11 p.m.

Cuisine: American, wine and beer

Price: $$

(Photo courtesy of Denver International Airport)
(Photo courtesy of Denver International Airport.)

Red Rocks Bar & BBQ

Location: Level 5 east

Hours: 8 a.m.–10 p.m.

Cuisine: American, full bar

Price: $$

Additional restaurants in the Jeppesen Terminal include: Cantina Grill, Rocky Mountain Café and Subway. More presecurity restaurant options will return once the Great Hall renovation is complete.

Bottom line

For a city with a reputation for being health-conscious, the Denver Airport has a surprising amount of fast food. Every concourse has a Caribou Coffee and a McDonald’s. You’ll also find your usual KFC, Starbucks, Dunkin Donuts, Panda Express and Wetzel’s Pretzels.

However, as you can see, the airport also offers a lot more. Local eateries like Denver Central Market, Snarf’s Sandwiches and Root Down offer plenty of healthy and vegetarian-friendly options. For something more upscale, there’s the Denver Chophouse and Elway’s. In true Colorado style, the airport also boasts a whopping six breweries so you definitely won’t go thirsty here.

Related: The best credit cards for restaurants and dining out

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