Utah Bites

FOOD ON THE FLY Eating at the new SLC International Airport

I got a somewhat unwanted chance to explore the new Salt Lake City airport at length during recent trips to and from Salt Lake City and Portugal, thanks to an inordinate number of flight delays and cancellations


Lots and lots of folks are going to be flying to visit friends and relatives this Thanksgiving holiday, which will give many a first look at the newly (and beautifully) revamped Salt Lake City International Airport. It’s a stunner. 

I got a somewhat unwanted chance to explore the new airport at length during recent trips to and from Salt Lake City and Portugal, thanks to an inordinate number of flight delays and cancellations. Thankfully, there are a bevy of great spots to dine and drink at the airport, ranging from Jamba Juice and Panera Bread to excellent bars such as Wasatch Brewery and Uinta Brewing Company. Here are some highlights and places to visit for food on the fly. 

The airport outpost of SLC’s popular Bruges Belgian Bistro affords travelers the opportunity to indulge in Belgian fare without traveling to Europe. Belgian-style Liège waffles, frites with a variety of dipping sauces, Flemish stew, burgers and sandwiches are the main attraction here. Best bet: the merguez sausage-stuffed Machine Gun Sandwich. 

Folks looking for a healthy meal at the new airport would do well to head over to Garbanzo Mediterranean Fresh, a fast-casual restaurant specializing in Mediterranean fare. Every order is customized to the guest’s liking, with choices from top-quality meats and plant-based proteins to authentic laffa wraps and perfect, pillowy pitas baked in-house throughout the day. Garbanzo also caters to the needs of vegan and gluten-free diners. Best bet: Falafel with hummus and tahini sauce. 

Located in the Terminal Plaza Food Court, Fillings & Emulsions is one of the more intriguing food options at the airport. Created by the immensely talented pastry Chef Adalberto Diaz, Fillings & Emulsions is a truly unique “Latin & Eclectic Patisserie” featuring all-day breakfast, tarts, pastries, hand pies, breads, desserts, gelato and more. Best Bet: Freshly made macarons to go. 

Since 1980, Market Street Grill has been serving fresh seafood to Salt Lakers, first at their downtown restaurant and then at various additional Market Street outposts around the Salt Lake Valley, including the airport. 

Dishes like the fish and chips I ordered are extremely popular at Market Street Grill, but my wife especially loved her blackened ahi tuna with ginger soy sauce and fresh veggies there. Best bet: Market Street clam chowder. 

At Pizzeria Limone you’ll find Neaplitan-inspired 10-inch personal pizzas with a dizzying array of fresh toppings plus amazing salads like the Catana, with greens, sliced avocado, grilled chicken, bacon, roasted corn, fresh oranges, specialty cheeses, red onion, pistachios, & an orange vinaigrette. Best Bet: Impossible Meatball Pizza. 

Roosters Brewing Company was founded in Ogden by owners Kym and Pete Buttschardt, and recently opened the newest Roosters at the airport’s Terminal Plaza. Of course, their award-winning beers are the main draw, but don’t overlook the excellent food at Roosters: burgers, salads, sandwiches and any more pub favorites. Best Bet: Naughty Fries with house-made Louisiana sauce and Beehive Cheese curds.

Located in the Terminal Plaza Food Court, Shake Shack is one of the most popular dining destinations at the new airport, not to mention the one with the longest lines. Known, of course, for their burgers, frozen custard, hot dogs and shakes, but don’t overlook the tasty chicken sandwiches and crinkle cut fries. Best Bet: ShackBurger. 

When Peter Cole and Jeff Polychronis opened the original downtown SLC Squatters Pub Brewery in 1989, they couldn’t have possibly envisioned a Squatters location at the glitzy new SLC Airport 33 years later. In addition to their award-winning brews, Squatters offers eclectic eats and a commitment to using sustainable and local resources, even at the airport location. Best Bet: A cold pint of Full Suspension Pale Ale. 

Thanks to Executive Chef Matt Crandell’s culinary talents, White Horse Spirits and Kitchen is much more than just a first-rate bar. White Horse also offers some of the best cuisine in town and the airport location serves a range of great foods from bar snacks and shared plates to soups, sandwiches, steaks, seafood, and much more. Best Bet: Waygu steak with broccolini and fingerling potatoes. 

Once in the air, I have to admit that I was surprised and impressed by the quality of the in-flight fare served in Delta Airlines’ Premium Select cabin. A dinner of sous vide chicken breast with grilled ratatouille, capers, and stewed tomatoes was rounded out by a High Road Craft Ice Cream Sundae for dessert. There was also a very flavorful choice of Impossible Meatballs with polenta, pomodorini sauce, and a green olive, artichoke and portobello relish. Who says airline food has to suck?

And if you must suffer the madness of flight delays and cancellations, pray that they happen at Charles de Gaulle Airport in Paris, where Air France has a posh lounge that serves buffet breakfast, lunch and dinner, complete with libations galore – all gratis. 

Happy Travels! 

Photos by Ted Scheffler & Courtesy of SLC International Airport 

Culinary quote of the week: “To me, an airplane is a great place to diet.” – Wolfgang Puck




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Food writer Ted SchefflerOriginally trained as an anthropologist, Ted Scheffler is a seasoned food, wine & travel writer based in Utah. He loves cooking, skiing, and spends an inordinate amount of time tending to his ever-growing herd of guitars and amplifiers.

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