Get a bite before catching your flight

by Jackie Renzetti

There are plenty of quirky yet promising places to eat in the Twin Cities, and the selection at the Minneapolis-St. Paul Airport is no exception. While comfort food abounds with five different Caribou locations and a handful of Burger Kings and Subways, MSP also offers several restaurants that can only be experienced beyond the security checkpoints. In fact, our very own airport was awarded “Best Food and Beverage Program” in all of North America this past November by the Airports Council International. Before heading to your spring break destination, be sure to look into one of these gems.


Whether traveling to foreign or domestic destinations, you can still enjoy recipes from overseas  before even stepping on a plane. If you’re craving authentic Japanese, Shoyu provides sushi, noodle dishes and dumplings in a sit-down setting. The best part? It’s all promised to be traditionally prepared with fresh ingredients. More exotic treats can be found at La Tapenade, a take-out Mediterranean restaurant tucked away in Concourse F. Its simple offerings of sandwiches, flat-bread pizzas and salads may not sound like much, but their Chicken Apiago Panini and Miniapple Panini left these Yelp critics raving.


In the midst of gluten-galore, French Meadow Bakery Cafe provides a refuge for those seeking organic or gluten-free meals. While not unique to the airport, it still shows off its Minnesotan origin to incoming travelers, as well as the title of being the “longest continuously certified organic bakery in the U.S.” Here, you can nibble on a pastry or feast on a full meal knowing that you’ve chosen healthily. For food that is more French, Mimosa is more than a safe bet. This restaurant is the creation of Chef Russell Klein from Meritage, which has been repeatedly deemed one of the best French restaurants in the Twin Cities. The most notable menu item is their oysters, although they also offer sandwiches and hamburgers.


For those looking for more coffee, try Skol Cafe & Bar. Decorated with stalactite-like cones, it is described as having a “Scandinavian-inspired environment.”  This coffee cave can be found only in Concourse A of MSP, and is at least worth visiting to admire those white cones hanging from the ceiling, if not to order a sandwich, beer, or coffee.


Of course, if you’re leaving the Twin Cities, you must be already acquainted with the ever palatable Punch Pizza. However, while you’re sitting with your luggage and boarding pass, there is more artisanal pizza yet to be had. Vero, located in Concourse G, boasts a 700 degree oven, which allows for tasty pizzas in a timely manner. If you’re looking for a wider menu, Volante is yet another Italian eatery unique to MSP. There, you can find an extensive wine list, as well as classics like gnocchi, ravioli and spaghetti.  


Perhaps you’ve found yourself stuck with five more hours in the Minnesotan tundra with the delay of your flight to California. Maybe you’re looking to re-energize after making your way through security so that you don’t have to fill-up later with peanuts and pretzels on the plane. Or it could be that you’re just looking to try something new. Whatever your situation, the wide variety of restaurants at MSP are worth checking out. It could turn out to be your favorite meal of the trip!