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Feb 26, 2010 07:44 AM

2-3 hour layover DFW Airport


I live in Austin and might meet my folks as they have a 2/3 hour layover (3:30 - 6:30 on a weekday). Not familar with the area, and seeking advice on a place to grab a bite. My dad's vegetarian and likes Mexican (especially chile rellenos), Italian, and buffets. Nothing fancy - we're simple folk.

I realize the timing might limit choices - as some places close at that time.


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  1. Doesn't give you much time but there are a few choices in Grapevine just outside the gates of the airport. I will offer a few ideas but there are a few blokes here that live in the exact area that will speak wiser.

    Mexican, there is a chain that you may be familiar with called Uncle Julios. They actually have some nice dishes. Also, Esparzas is a local hangout with wacky good margaritas. I know there are some taquerias nearby, but the names escape me at the moment.

    There are some other fine choices if you are willing to stray from Mex.

    1 Reply
    1. re: DallasDude

      I second the margaritas at Esparza's... some of the best in Tarrant County. For nearby Italian, I've read good things about Saviano's in Euless. Search for them on Chowhound or Google and read the reviews.

    2. Firstly, I'd be concerned about trying to get out of the airport, eat a meal and return through security if the layover is only -TWO - hours to do so. If three, it shouldn't be a problem.

      For Grapevine - north airport exit:

      If you're planning to "drink" your lunch, I hear that Esparza's the place to go - I would not say the same though for the food items. Uncle Julio's stays fairly busy, but be aware that it's a pricey chain and can get VERY loud when crowded.

      To stay within your time frame, Los Lupe's is a family owned place serving pretty good Tex-Mex. I think it's BYOB, so if that's a desire, I'd call and verify.

      For Italian in Grapevine, I'd suggest Napoli's (great gelato for dessert!). Small, family owned, limited menu with good pizza and pretty good pastas. I'm never sure the exact params of vegetarian, but they have a really good fettucini alfredo that includes chicken breast disks, spinach and artichoke hearts. The alfredo sauce is weak, but in this case, that's a positive because it allows the other components be the star.

      If you enjoy a glass of wine with small plates (tapas), you might enjoy Into the Glass.

      If it's a cold day, and chili would be welcomed, there's Tolberts. Others may disagree, but I haven't been pleased items other than the chili that I've eaten there.

      If a good, Chicago style deli would work for you, Weinburger's Deli serves it up with fresh Vienna meats and other items (peppers and breads) shipped from Chi-town. I'm pretty sure they have vegetarian selections (and will make anything "your way") as well as salads and I believe, soups.

      There are no buffets in the immediate area that I'm aware of.

      As tango suggested, Saviano's in Euless (south airport exit) is quite good NY Italian. Their marinara is very tomato-y and some have been put off by it. Myself, I find it to be very fresh tasting. They have a "spicy" version on their menu and the waitress told me it has more herb seasoning - so for what that worth. The pizza is good and they have an excellent "special" on their lighted board that is pasta, prosciutto, and peas in a cream sauce -- very rich and mmmmmm....... full bar

      I would add that Grapevine is loaded with chains. To name a few is PF Chang, Carraba's, Romano's Macaroni Grill, Olive Garden, Joe's Crab Shack, Saltgrass (steak), Outback, California Pizza Kitchen, El Fenix..... the list goes on.....
      If anything else comes to mind, I'll post it.

      1. Would Indian buffets or chaat be of interest? Also there is a fairly good Mediterranean buffet in Jericho in Irving. A real good Morrocan place in Kasbah Grill in Irving. A highly recommended Thai place in Bangkok Orchid in Irving and several decent taquerias. - Owner is from Palestine so some of his dishes (Greek) might not be up to Greek standards but he does his falafel really well. - I really like their couscous (they do have a vegetarian version), mint tea is a must, and I like the Bastilla. - I really like all of their food the more authentic the better!

        Irving is probably your best option as it is really a melting pot of cuisines: Thai, Vietnamese, Indian (probably the area's best), Nepalese, Moroccan, Mexican, Salvadoran, and Mediterranean. All will be within a 5-7 min drive of the airport.

        2 Replies
        1. re: LewisvilleHounder

          "Irving is probably your best option as it is really a melting pot of cuisines"

          There are MANY wonderful restaurants found in any direction of the airport.

          1. re: CocoaNut

            OP said buffets and vegetarian, an Indian buffet would kill two birds with one stone, plus with regard to overall variety of cuisines, the closest best option is heading to Irving - especially for Indian food. That area around MacArthur and 635 has started to boom lately too, which is nice considering I'd long given up on any decent ethnic eating within Valley Ranch/Las Colinas.

        2. I tend to agree with the problem of getting back in a timely fashion. There are better choices at the airport proper these days, including Pappadeaux (good chain seafood) that is opening the first week of March. The airport hotel has a new chef I noticed, but have not been there since the change over. I know we are straying from the vegetarian Mexican, but I would be concerned with visiting a Mexican restaurant anywhere in the DFW airport area that is not going to be using lard and other non-vegetarian friendly ingredients.

          1 Reply
          1. re: DallasDude

            Oops, didn't think about the lard issue with mex..... Chains may better serve the vegetarian need for that food.

          2. I think some of these suggestions are based on a perfect world that doesn't exist at DFW airport. By the time your folks actually arrive, (maybe late), get through the terminal, locate a cab, drive to Grapevine or Irving, get seated, fed, call another cab and get back to the airport, during rush hour, through security and to the gate even seconds before the door of their departing flight is closed, (assuming it is on time), probably means they can plan a leisurely evening meal at any of the places named since they may be spending the night.

            I'd suggest a trip to the Hyatt Regency Hotel in the airport:

            Mister G's
            An incomparable dining experience at Mister G’s
            Jacob's Spring Grille
            Featuring New American cuisine with a regional flair

            or any of the multiple places to eat in the airport terminals, (especially terminal D)

            Bennigan's - D11
            Cereality - C6
            Champps Grill & Bar - D24
            Chili's Too - B20, C16
            Cool River Cafe - D25

            Fuddruckers Hamburgers (Marche) - D18
            Reata Grill - D33 Upper Level
            T.G.I. Friday's - A22, B10, C8, C29, D34, E17
            Varsity Grill - E31
            Blue Bamboo Xpress - D31

            Manchu Wok - A25, C22, E15
            Cousin's Bar-B-Q - B27, D28
            Dickey's Barbecue Pit - A18, C6, E12

            Railhead BBQ (Marche) - D18
            Cocktail Lounges
            Cowtown Bar - A35
            La Bodega Winery - A15, D14
            Rider's World Bar - E15

            Texas Stadium Skybox, Bar - A10, B6, C25
            Tigin Irish Pub & Restaurant - D20
            Dunkin Donuts - A28, B7, D22, E6

            Starbucks Coffee - A13, A29, A33, A37, B8, B14, B28, C6, C8, C21, C27, D25, E8, E31
            Delis & Bakeries
            Au Bon Pain, Deli - A13, A25, A38, B22, C22, C33, D27, International Arrivals (Outside Security)
            Blimpie - C6
            Camille's Sidewalk Cafe - D27

            Einstein Bros. Bagels (Marche) - D18
            Jazzman's Cafe - D10, D28
            Subway - A33, B16
            Desserts & Snacks
            Auntie Anne's Pretzels - A25, A39, C12, C22, D12, D36, E15
            Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream - D12, D27
            Freshens Yogurt - B7, C6, C35, E6, E36
            Grove Natural Snacks - A17, A39, C14

            Grove Soda Fountain - D22
            Häagen-Dazs - C17, E15
            I Can't Believe It's Yogurt - A13, A25, A39, C22
            Smoothie King - C14
            Fast Food
            Burger King - E6, E31
            KFC - A25
            McDonald's - A13, A25, B29, C6, C22, D33
            Pizza Hut Express - A25, B10, C6, C19

            Popeyes Chicken & Biscuits - A13, D22, E15
            Taco Bell Express - A13, C14, E6, E15
            UFood Grill - B8
            Wendy's - C14
            East Side Mario's - A38
            Sbarro Italian Eatery - B5

            Uno Dué Go - C33, E36
            360° Gourmet Burritos (Marche) - D18
            Blue Mesa Taco & Tequila Bar - D31
            Cantina Laredo - D27 Upper Level

            Tequileria - A16, E12
            Urban Taco - C22

            4 Replies
            1. re: Woofy

              That's a great compilation of the restaurants in DFW airport, and I would agree that Terminal D is the best place to go if you have to eat within the airport. Also glad to know that Cousin's had set up at B as I don't usually find myself at the international terminal.

              However, it sounds like the OP is driving up from Austin to meet the parents, pick them up and take them out to eat. OP is not a passenger so dining inside the airport wouldn't work since the restaurants are all within TSA secured area.

              1. re: air

                OP is not a passenger so dining inside the airport wouldn't work since they're all within TSA secured area.

                A good point so I'd probably stick to the hotel.
                Hopefully, OP will report back and lets us know how things work out wherever they choose to try.

                1. re: Woofy

                  I will be going through Dallas this fall - land at 1:45 pm and connecting flight is at 5:05 pm. Want to meet a friend from Dallas outside the security areas - any recommendations in the main terminals outside of the different terminals?

                  1. re: steveindurham3

                    Said it previously - all of the restaurants/bars in DFW airport are within the secured areas. I would say maybe consider the Grand Hyatt or one of the hotels around the airport.