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Beaudevin Wine Bar's space in the airport.
Photograph: Courtesy of HMSHost

Where to eat and drink at O'Hare International Airport

Burgers, tortas and lots of alcohol will help improve your flying experience.

Jeffy Mai
Written by
Jeffy Mai
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As one of the busiest travel hubs in the world, O'Hare International Airport gets a ton of traffic on a daily basis. While eating probably isn't your first priority when flying, you'll still be glad to know there are some good options for a quick bite. Whether it's creative burgers from an award-winning chef, tasty Mexican tortas or an outpost of a local standout, these restauarants make the airport experience a little more bearable. And if you just want to grab a drink to kill some time, there are places to post up for a glass of wine or beer as well. So don't get too down the next time your flight is delayed, check out our guide to the best restuarants at O'Hare International Airport and take a break from the chaos.

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The best places to eat at O’Hare International Airport

Tortas Frontera
Photograph: Courtesy of HMSHost

1. Tortas Frontera

Renowned Chicago chef Rick Bayless gives travelers the best reason to get to O’Hare early with this tortas spot. Available in three different terminals, his griddle-baked Mexican sandwiches are loaded with fillings like smoked pork, chipotle-roasted chicken and chorizo. Early risers also have breakfast options to choose from. And we won’t judge if you decide to start your vacation at the airport with a morning marg or Cruz Blanca draft beer. Pro tip: Skip the line by ordering ahead on the Tortas Frontera app.

Where to find: Terminal 1 - Gate B10; Terminal 3 - Gate K4; Terminal 5 - Gate M18

Burger Federation
Photograph: Courtesy of HMSHost

2. Burger Federation

Would you believe there’s an award-winning burger joint at the airport? It’s true, and you’ll find it over in concourse L. Burger Federation chef Corey Grupe wowed judges and took home the top prize at this year’s Hamburger Hop, an annual cooking competition starring creative takes on the namesake food. His O’Hare offerings include the Chicago Classic, an Angus burger topped with Italian beef and provolone, and a Greek Isles burger with tzatziki, feta, LTO and black olive crema. If you’re hankering for a mouthwatering sandwich, skip the Golden Arches and come here instead.

Where to find: Terminal 3 - Gate L20

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Publican Tavern
Photograph: Courtesy of HMSHost

3. Publican Tavern

One Off Hospitality Group’s pork and seafood temple in the West Loop is among the best restaurants in Chicago, and travelers will encounter a miniature version of it at O’Hare. Publican favorites, like spicy pork rinds and roast chicken with frites, have also been ported over and are complemented by an arsenal of sandwiches and salads. Locals will appreciate the “Hot” Doug Sohn, a Toulouse sausage dressed with bourbon mustard, fried shallots and Emmental cheese that pays tribute to the owner of Chicago’s most legendary sausage shop.

Where to find: Terminal 3 - Gate K1

Garrett Popcorn Shops
Photograph: Courtesy Garrett Popcorn Shops

4. Garrett Popcorn Shops

Illinoisans love popcorn (seriously, it’s the official state snack) and nothing is more reflective of that than Garrett Popcorn. The Chicago-based shop has been in business since 1949 and its tins and bags filled with popped corn are a common sight around the downtown area. Garrett’s signature CheeseCorn and CaramelCrisp flavors are iconic, so much so that the latter was turned into a beer, and they’re the perfect treats to take on the plane or bring to BFFs at your final destination. Can’t decide between sweet and savory? The addictive Garrett Mix is the best of both worlds.

Where to find: Terminal 1 - Gate B7; Terminal 3 - Gate H2; Terminal 5 - Gates M7 and M18

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Beaudevin Wine Bar
Photograph: Courtesy of HMSHost

5. Beaudevin Wine Bar

Escape the bustle of O’Hare by grabbing a seat at this European-style wine bar over in Terminal 1. The sleek setup includes hanging wine glass chandeliers and a dozen wines offered in pours of three, six and nine ounces or by the bottle. So live your best life and sip Veuve Clicquot bubbles while nibbling on charcuterie, cheeses and other light bites.

Where to find: Terminal 1 - Gate C17

Wow Bao
Photograph: Courtesy of Wow Bao

6. Wow Bao

Lettuce Entertain You’s popular bao stand makes an appearance at the airport for flyers who need a quick and portable bite. Get the steamed buns stuffed with a variety of fillings, including barbecue pork, spicy Mongolian beef and teriyaki chicken. Sold in orders of two, four and six, they can serve as either a snack or a full meal. Wow Bao’s menu also offers hearty rice bowls and habit-forming dumplings.

Where to find: Terminal 5 - Gate M16

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Goose Island Beer Company
Photograph: Courtesy of HMSHost

7. Goose Island Beer Company

When the inevitable flight delay occurs, don’t despair. It just means you have a little more time to knock back a cold pint or two before taking to the skies. Fortunately, Chicago’s most prominent brewing company has a few airport outposts so you don’t have to wander far from your gate if you’re in terminals 1 or 3. Enjoy pours of popular Goose Island beers, such as 312 and Matilda, or ask for a bottle of one of the seasonal selections. For those who need a little sustenance, order a salad or panini to pair with the booze.

Where to find: Terminal 1 - Gates B1 and C10; Terminal 3 - Gate L10A

8. Tocco

Whether you’re headed to Italy or not, Italian food is always a fine choice. The kitchen at this sit-down eatery plays all the hits and you can expect to feast on panini sandwiches, Neapolitan-style pizzas and pastas. We’re fans of starting with the gnocco fritto–delightful fried pockets of dough served with meats—and then sharing a margherita pie and tiramisu. Oh and don’t forget to wash it down with a bottle of Sangiovese, of course.

Where to find: Terminal 5 - Gate M7

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