The U.S. Airports With The Best And Worst Food

There’s a reason why bars at airports are so common—it’s because the food’s terrible. No one loves a cold egg sandwich and watered-down coffee at 6am, after all, and beer might make everything taste a little better.

This week, the folks over at Wanderu, a travel booking platform, ranked the 50 busiest U.S. airports based on their percentage of “highly-rated” food options, comparing the total number of available dining options t0 their reviews on Yelp; according to Wanderu, three-stars on Yelp means a restaurant is considered highly-rated (with no crappy coffee in sight).

Nashville International Airport came in last place in the rankings—of its 16 available food options, none has received beyond a three-star rating. Here’s a review of Tootsie Orchid Lounge, one of the airport’s most reviewed restaurants that currently holds 2.5 stars: “Probably the most vile food I have ever been served. Nothing like a lukewarm cup of coffee and a wet cold tasteless biscuit sandwich to get you going. Even for airport food, this was a joke.”

Also at the bottom were Louis Armstrong New Orleans International and Southwest Florida International, both of which have fewer dining options, but because of Wanderu’s criteria, the more restaurants an airport has that fail to achieve a three-star rating, the lower in the ranking it falls (meaning Nashville is the worst because it has more terrible restaurants to choose from).

Meanwhile, Denver International was named the best airport for food; of its 51 dining options, 19 received at least three stars which, I guess, is great for an airport! Dallas–Fort Worth and Atlanta-Hartsfield rounded out the top three, coming in second and third, respectively.

Of course, Yelp is a relatively narrow criterion on which to base the quality of airport restaurants; people like to complain on there and airports bring out the worst in all of us, meaning the platform might solicit especially negative reviews. The list itself is also subjective. Some people might simply prefer having more food options to choose between, even if they all fail to meet Yelp’s three-star rating.

Additionally, because of the “three-star” standard, the ranking fails to accurately capture the restaurants with the greatest possible reviews. (A better ranking, for instance, would have factored in airports with restaurants that have four and five-star reviews, too.)

Still, this list might be helpful to prepare yourself on trips when you’re headed for an unfamiliar airport and desperate for a bite. Wanderu also has recommendations on where to eat, in case you’re stopping by one of the airports toward the top of the rankings.

Below, the top five and bottom airports based on food, courtesy of Wanderu:

The best

1. Denver International

2. Dallas Fort-Worth International

3. Hatfield-Jackson Atlanta International

4. Phoenix Sky Harbour International

5. Logan International

The worst

50. Nashville International

49. Louis Armstrong New Orleans International

48. Southwest Florida International

47. Kansas City International

46. LaGuardia

For the rest of the rankings, visit Wanderu’s website. And if you’re looking to kill time at the airport because of a delay (or series of delays), here’s our guide on how to survive the agonising wait.


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