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Where to eat local at the Mpls./St. Paul International Airport

You're gonna miss your flight if you don't hurry up and choose. Angel Food Bakery is coming to the Lindberg Terminal.

You're gonna miss your flight if you don't hurry up and choose. Angel Food Bakery is coming to the Lindberg Terminal.

A confession: I'll arrive early at some of my favorite airports so I can eat one last time before flying out. Another confession: people in my household will bring home regional delights form the airport, for the other, less fortunate non-traveler. Call it a consolation prize, I call it dinner. 

We love it when airports are on-point with their hometown local flavors— why the hell would I want a chalupa when I can get a Rick Bayless torta in Chi Town? 

Our airport commission is no slouch when it comes to this, and they're getting better. The big news in airport food this week is that Republic, Angel Food Bakery and Smack Shack are all landing in Lindbergh Terminal, and will emerge with the terminal's renovation in around 18 months.

In the meantime, here's the rest of the good local eating you can do at the airport— or bring something to eat to someone you love, far away. 

Coming soon: 

Republic

Soon, you'll be able to pack one of these bad boys into your carry on. Just be careful of the shellfish allergy guy in seat 4A.

Soon, you'll be able to pack one of these bad boys into your carry on. Just be careful of the shellfish allergy guy in seat 4A.

Coming to Terminal 1

Republic was all about craft beer before everybody and your mom were about craft beer, and with it, truly wonderful scratch pub eats like duck burgers and beer brats— that's right; they put beer inside the brats! 

Angel Food Bakery

Coming to Terminal 1

For that little angel (or devil) in your life, it's nice to bring home a little sweet treat in your suitcase. Or, screw all that and keep it for yourself. In either case, things like lemon zest cream puffs, strawberry rose crullers and toasted meringue cupcakes aren't going to go to waste, no matter where you're going.

Smack Shack

Coming to Terminal 1

Maybe lobster rolls aren't the most Minnesotan thing in the world, but don't tell that to the scads of Minnesotans who line up for just that every night at the North Loop location of Smack Shack; or the ones who go bananas every time the elusive food truck is spotted. Now you won't have to go anywhere without one tucked into your carry-on, or your wherever.

A "Food Truck Alley" is also being planned for Terminal 1, Concourse E, but will strangely not offer any actual food truck brands. Instead, the three restaurants listed below will represent, with "food truck facades," reports the Mpls/ St. Paul Business Journal.

Red Cow

Coming to Terminal 1

Burgers! We all love burgers. You love them, I love them, your great aunt Myrtle in Poughkeepsie loves them, so grab a Red Cow slider trio and show her how the Twin Cities are turning into a bonafide burger haven. 

Salty Tart

Coming to Terminal 1

Michelle Gayer is a Charlie Trotter's alum, a James Beard Award Winner, and all around badass. You can see why, with every bite of her peanut brittle cupcakes. These have always traveled well, so they're a shoo-in for the 'port. 

This is a rockstar way to kick off a trip somewhere big.

This is a rockstar way to kick off a trip somewhere big.

Holy Land

Coming to Terminal 1 

Food truck or no, as the original Middle Eastern cuisine representatives in our town, Holy Land deserves a place in our entry and exit point. A tub of hummus and baba ghanouj plus warm from the oven pita will make an excellent and welcome light dinner after all of that weary travel. 

Where to eat now: 

Ike's 

Terminal 1, MSP Airport Mall 

Show some hometown pride by embracing what is possibly our town's finest corporate invention: DQ

Show some hometown pride by embracing what is possibly our town's finest corporate invention: DQ

The only place to dine when you're going somewhere big. If you want to kick off your vacation to Vegas or New York City, do it at Ike's, any time of day, but especially in the morning with a "weekender" bloody Mary the size of a flower vase. Overflowing with shrimp, celery, cheeses and meats, you already know this is a meal unto itself, but the cooking at the Ike's airport somehow supersedes their downtown location. So, try a Belgian waffle the circumference of a frisbee, or a corned beef hash for the long journey. Sitting in coach can take it out of the best of us. You'll need your energy. 

French Meadow Bakery Cafe

Terminal 1, Concourse F 

After laying waste to your body during that four day weekend in Vegas (did you really need the 14th shot? Really?) do yourself a favor and swing by French Meadow on your way home to crash into your pillow. A tempeh Reuben on organic rye and some firecracker slaw will scrub away the ick like a couple tiny, edible brushes, making your liver feel squeaky clean again just in time for next weekend's wickedness. 

Surdyk's Flights 

Terminal 2, Concourse H 

The real magic trick of Surdyk's is not their comprehensive wine selection and prices to make you drive across town to get at them. Instead, its the scratch cooking of their deli, with elegant dishes that eat like a French bakery cafe run by grandmas with culinary degrees. Salami and butter sandwiches on ficelle, long and thin as a cigar but way more delicious; preserved lemon couscous evoking the exotica of the Middle East, egg drop soup in ginger broth— you never know what rotating delights will be on offer, but know this: you can have it all with a wine flight, and that's a flight we always want a ticket for. 

O'Gara's 

Terminal 1, Concourse F 

There's something redemptive about clamoring up to a big drink in an airport bar, and bonus if that bar can be an Irish Pub. Whether you're coming or going, a good old pub calms the jitters, massages the jangles, and, well, it gives you booze. Lots and lots of booze. We like a big bowl of Jame-o at O'Gara's, but their pub grub ain't too bad either, whether as a you're-finally-home reward; or a get-something-American- and-greasy-now-because-you're-not-gonna-see-buffalo-wings-for-awhile. 

It's still local: 

Yeah, they're chains, but they're our chains, so turn up your nose if you want to, and then consume some of their corporate inventions. Everybody's doing it. 

Caribou 

Multiple terminals and concourses 

Stroll right on by Starbucks and get that all-important vat of Columbian at our very own Caribou Coffee, where the java is superior and a list of "lighter options" snacks won't bust your gut before you even arrive in New Orleans and start housing muffulettas and po' boys. 

Dunn Bros 

Terminal 2, Concourse H

Terminal 1, Concourse C 

Do yourself an even bigger favor by strolling past both of those and get your cold press at Dunn Bros., where the beans are roasted on site, and, they say, the pastries are handmade and baked. Get a muffin for seat 7C and judge for yourself. 

Dairy Queen

Terminal 1 Concourse C

Recalibrate from the inside out if you just disembarked from somewhere hot, sweaty and dairy-adverse. What could be more reassuring than a butterscotch dip? Nothing, that's what.