Of course, you can stop by Dunkin Donuts, Starbucks, or McDonald’s at Denver International Airport—and sometimes it’s traveling that gives us license to be so bad—but a better option is to sample some of Denver’s homegrown food and drinks from local companies to try.

Although these restaurants, cafes and breweries do not own or operate their airport branches – that is handled by large concessionaires – many of them play an active role in maintaining the quality and consistency of their offerings. Here is an overview of where you can go.

Travelers line up to receive food and drinks at the to-go counter at the Mercantile in Concourse A at Denver International Airport in Denver on Feb. 28, 2024.  (Photo by RJ Sangosti/The Denver Post)
Travelers line up to pick up food and drinks at the to-go counter in the Mercantile in Concourse A at Denver International Airport in Denver on Feb. 28, 2024. (Photo by RJ Sangosti/The Denver Post)

BANKRUPTCY A

Breckenridge Brewery

This brewery was founded in 1990 in the small ski resort of the same name. The airport location serves the company’s beer and offers a full bar. Near Gate A71. More info.

Dazbog coffee

This chain was founded in Denver in 1992. It is located near Gate A48. More info.

Denver Central Market

Similar to its location in the River North Art District, the Denver Central Market at the airport offers upscale take-and-go items in a food hall style. There’s a breakfast area with cold cuts and cheeses, Sushi Rama and Vero Italian, as well as pizza and pasta. Located near Gate A48. More info.

Denver Chophouse

This longstanding restaurant and pub near Coors Field was founded by the Colorado family, who also founded the Rock Bottom and Old Chicago chains. The focus of the DIA spot is steaks, burgers, etc. Located near the train escalators. More info.

Mercantile Dining & Provision

A branch of longtime Denver chef Alex Seidel’s Union Station classic. Restaurant quality breakfasts, sandwiches and dinners. Located near the escalators to the train. More info.

Novo coffee

Small, upscale coffee chain and roastery in Denver, founded in 2002. Located near the train escalators. More info.

Snarf’s sandwiches

The popular sandwich chain was founded in Boulder in 1996 by Jimmy “Snarf” Seidel and now has many locations in Colorado, Missouri and Texas. Near Gate A73. More info.

A traveler passes Elway's restaurant in the DIA.
A traveler passes Elway’s restaurant in the DIA.

BANKRUPTCY B

Elways

Former Denver Broncos Hall of Fame quarterback John Elway opened his own steakhouse in 2004. The DIA location has been around since 2013, serving steaks, seafood, salads and more. Located near the escalators to the train. More info.

Etai’s Bakery Café

Etai’s is one of several artisan bakery concepts started by the Baron family in Denver. It serves hot and cold sandwiches and paninis. There is also a full bar. Near Gate B23. More info.

Heidi’s Brooklyn Deli

Heidi’s began in Denver’s Highland Square in the early ’90s and later expanded to multiple locations. It serves sandwiches, wraps, salads and smoothies. Near Gate B87. More info.

Modern market

Originally founded in Boulder, this chain of healthy restaurants serves breakfast, lunch and dinner and includes gluten-free, vegetarian and vegan options. Near the train escalators. More info.

New Belgian brewery

Known for its ubiquitous Fat Tire, New Belgium is one of Colorado’s first craft breweries. The DIA establishment serves numerous New Belgium beers as well as breakfast burritos, sandwiches, burgers, salads and some beer-infused items. Near Gate B30. More info.

Salt and mill

This New Jersey-style deli from renowned Denver restaurateur Frank Bonanno serves breakfast and lunch sandwiches. Located near the train escalators. More info.

Smashburger & Bar

Although Smashburger is now a national chain, it was founded in Denver with a single location. The menu includes gourmet burgers, chicken sandwiches and veggie burgers, as well as craft beer. Near gate B44. More info.

Snooze: An AM restaurant

Very popular Colorado-founded breakfast spot with multiple locations across the country. The DIA branch is open all day. Located near the train escalators. More info.

Steve’s Snappin’ Dogs

There is no “smaller business” than Steve’s, which operates out of a stand on East Colfax Avenue. Gourmet hot dogs and local craft beers. Near Gate B24. More info.

The Great Divide Brewhouse and Kitchen in C Concourse at Denver International Airport.  (Provided by Great Divide)
The Great Divide Brewhouse and Kitchen in C Concourse at Denver International Airport. (Provided by Great Divide)

BANKRUPTCY C

Dazbog coffee

This chain was founded in Denver in 1992. It is located near Gate C47. More info.

Great Divide Brewing

As one of Denver’s first craft breweries, Great Divide serves a wide selection of award-winning beers and classics for breakfast, lunch and dinner near Gate C32. More info.

La casita

A true Denver original, La Casita was founded by the family of the late longtime local politician Paul Sandoval. Although it specializes in tamales, you can also find burritos, green chiles, quesadillas, and other Mexican dishes here. Located near the train escalators. More info.

Little Man’s Ice Cream

Little Man, one of Denver’s most popular ice cream parlors, offers its signature sweet treats as well as boozy shakes (including one called the “Illuminati Shake,” which is an ode to the conspiracy theories surrounding the airport). Near Gate C27. More info.

Modern market

Originally founded in Boulder, this chain of healthy restaurants serves breakfast, lunch and dinner and includes gluten-free, vegetarian and vegan options. Near the train escalators. More info.

Put down roots

Justin Cucci’s eclectic farm-to-table restaurant is a must-visit for many frequent travelers through DIA and has long been an airport staple. Serves upscale seasonal dishes and features a full bar. Located near the escalators to the train. More info.

Smashburger & Bar

Although Smashburger is now a national chain, it was founded in Denver with a single location. The menu includes gourmet burgers, chicken sandwiches and veggie burgers, as well as craft beer. Near gate C51. More info.

Superfruit Republic

A fast-casual chain based in Denver that primarily offers acai bowls as well as juices and take-out options. Near the escalators to the train. More info.

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