One of the best eating places for native meals, drink, and beer at Denver Worldwide Airport


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Even in 2020, when air traffic hit historically low levels as the pandemic kept many people at home, Denver International Airport was the third largest airport in the United States with 33.7 million passengers. Over 69 million travelers passed through in 2019, and it is very likely that many of them had dinner while waiting for their flights. And unlike many major airports, DIA has a lot more than McDonald’s and Panda Express, thanks to an initiative that started in 2013 to give the airport more local flair.

With the summer travel season in full swing, there is no better time to check out the airport spots with local roots so you can dine and drink in style while you wait for your next flight.

Root down
Hall C, Center Core
Daily, 7 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Restaurateur Justin Cucci’s Edible Beats group encompasses some of Denver’s most popular and unique eateries, from the former Linger morgue to the El Five rooftop retreat. The original Highland neighborhood’s Root Down opened in 2009 and remains a favorite for brunch and dinner, which explains why it has become a destination in its own right since it premiered at the airport in 2013. The globally inspired cuisine includes gluten-free and vegan options, and the vegetarian burger is a must-have regardless of your dietary preferences.

Hall B, Center Core, mezzanine
Daily, 7 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Root Down recently got competition in the DIA brunch game with the opening of Snooze, the popular breakfast brand founded in Denver in 2006, on June 23rd. Known for its egg benedict duos, boozy brunch drinks, and decadent pineapple upside-down pancakes, the newest restaurant will very likely have to wait … just like the original downtown area.

Denver Central Market
Hall A, Gate 48
Thursday, Friday, Sunday, Monday: 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Denver has embraced Food Halls as part of its culinary culture, and in 2018 one of the city’s best brought four of its concepts to DIA in a mini version of RiNo’s Denver Central Market. Get a takeaway cheese board and sandwiches from Culture Meat & Cheese; Breakfast burritos, burgers, fried chicken, and more from SK Provisions; Sushi rama nigiri and rolls; and pizza from Vero Italian.

Snarf’s sandwiches
Hall A, Gate 73
Daily, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Jimmy “Snarf” Seidel opened the first Snarf’s in Boulder in 1996. It has since been expanded to over twenty locations, including the airport in 2018. Sandwiches are served on fresh, oven-baked bread. Options include classics like turkey and swiss and the BLT, but if you’re not sure where to start, try the always satisfying French dip.

Little man ice cream
Hall C, near Gate C27
Daily, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.
It’s rare not to see a line in front of the huge milk can-shaped Highland building where Little Man has been serving popular ice creams like salted oreo since 2008. The milk can didn’t make its way to DIA, but you can get Little Man’s iconic ice cream in cups, ice cream cones, sundaes, milkshakes, and more if you need a little sugar boost before you get in.

Steve’s Snappin ‘Dogs
Hall B, Gate 24
Daily, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.
In 2014, Colfax Avenue’s Steve’s Snappin ‘Dogs brought his brand of classic Americana to DIA with a menu of laden hot dogs, burgers, and breakfast sandwiches. The dogs themselves are shipped direct from New Jersey; Topping options include coleslaw, chili, and cheese, as well as the classic Chicago style. Steve’s has a full bar so you can pair your hot dog with a Bloody Mary, Mimosa, or Steve’s Snapping Ale, made especially for the restaurant by the local Bull & Bush brewery.

Hall B, Center Core
Daily, 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Legendary Broncos quarterback John Elway got his name behind this steakhouse concept in the mid-2000s and it now has four locations across the state, including the DIA outpost, which opened in 2013, the restaurant has many other options, from soups and dinner Salads to burgers. Combine your meal with a glass of wine for a little touch of luxury in the midst of a chaotic journey.

Brother’s grill
Hall A, Gate 71
Daily, 12 p.m. to 8 p.m.
If you can feel the smell of smoked meat in the air, you are probably near this grill place that started in Denver in 1998 for the minced brisket.

Great Divide Brewing
Hall C, Gate 32
Daily, 7 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Did you spot a Yeti at DIA? Then you found Great Divide. The tap house and the kitchen offer meals all day as well as fourteen brewery beers on tap, from the popular Yeti Imperial Stout to a strawberry and rhubarb sour. Make the thirteen: The fourth drink selection comes from the Craft Hartseltzer line from Great Divide, Whitewater.

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