If you go to Michigan and you’re from out of state, there’s a pretty good chance you’re flying in and out of the Detroit Metro Airport (aka DTW) quite a bit. And if you know anything about DTW, you know that there are two terminals: North and McNamara. Let’s just say that the only thing in common between U of M’s campus and this airport is that you should do just about everything in your power to avoid North. Basically, if you’re flying out of the Detroit airport, Delta is to any other airline as East Quad is to Bursley.

If you do find yourself in McNamara, congrats. You’ve made the first good choice of your airport experience. But with more than 30 options for food and a terminal so big you need to take a tram just to get around, the choice of where to eat can be overwhelming.

Whether you shared an Uber with your friend whose flight is an hour before yours and you’ve got some time to kill or you’re in a rush, DTW has a spot for you. Here are some of the best places to eat no matter the situation.

Central Link

If you’ve got some time: Bigalora Cucina


Photo by Jess Spivack

One of Ann Arbor’s favorite Italian eateries has a satellite location at DTW. Who knew? Like at the Arbor Hills location, diners can pick from a massive menu of amazing Italian cuisine. You’ll find salads, soups, small plates, pizza, pasta, and of course, dessert.

What makes Bigalora’s food great (besides the taste) is head chef Luciano DelSignore’s commitment to using only the freshest, local ingredients. With so much care put into the food, it’s no surprise that Bigalora also uses a special process to create its out-of-this-world pizza dough. No question, Bigalora is a reason to get to the airport two hours early.

If you’ve got some serious flying anxiety: Vino Volo Wine Room

Photo courtesy of vinovolo.com

If you’re a nervous flyer (and over the age of 21), Vino Volo is a must. With a wine menu as big as its food menu, you’re guaranteed to find a glass (or bottle) that will help ease any worries you have. Didn’t get TSA pre-check and had to wait in line forever? Go to Vino Volo. Just flunked your final and don’t know how you’re going to break it to your parents? Go to Vino Volo. Flying out to interview for a job that you really, really want? Go to Vino Volo. If you’re not of age, don’t worry—Vino Volo’s food is pretty great too.

If you need a pick-me-up: Illy Coffee & Fountain Bar

Photo courtesy of studioh2g.com

If there’s one thing that DTW has a lot of, it’s places to get coffee. With four Starbucks, three Tim Horton’s, two Coffee Beanery’s, and one Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf, there’s a 487% chance that you’ll find a place to grab a cup of joe on run. But if you want a top-notch coffee experience, head to the Illy Coffee Fountain Bar. Because of it’s prime location in the Central Link, it’s convenient no matter which gate you’re headed to. Sit down, relax, and sip your espresso as you people-watch from this modern, open-concept spot.

Concourse A

If you’re in a rush: Plum Market featuring Zingerman’s


Photo by Zoe Zaiss

Plum Market is the type of on-the-go food-stop that you wish they had in every airport. First off, you know that any place that has Zingerman’s in its name is going to be great. Get in one final taste of their famous Reuben sandwich before leaving the state or pick up one of their Zang Bars to bring home to your family. In addition to the Zingerman’s element of Plum Market, there is a hot food bar reminiscent of Babo that serves healthy and delicious meals for travellers on-the-go.

If you’re really running late and are about to miss your flight, don’t freak out: Plum Market has your back with a huge selection of healthy, prepackaged options such as several different kinds of greek yogurt, pre-cut fruit and veggies, every type of granola bar you could ever imagine, and more. If you have a little bit more time, order a drink at the bar or sit down and eat your hot meal at one of their charging station tables. Plum Market: you are amazing and we love you. Never change.

If you’re on your way to PV: Mezza Mediterranean Grill 

Photo courtesy of mezzamg.com

You’ve been hitting up the CCRB every day since winter break and eating nothing but Salads Up in preparation for your Spring break trip to PV (or somewhere else where you have to wear a bikini). You’re almost at the finish line, and you sure as heck aren’t about to let the Dylan’s Candy Bar or McDonald’s in DTW ruin everything.

Right before you get on the plane, be sure to grab a bite to eat at Mezza. From their raw juice bar and large selection of salads and other healthy Mediterranean-style food, this is the place you go to feel good about yourself. Don’t miss the make-your-own stir fry, where you can add tons of veggies and lean protein to your plate.   

If you’re most-definitely not on your way to PV: Palazzolo’s Artisan Gelato & Sorbetto 

Photo courtesy of almaregelato.com

If you’re going to go for an unhealthy choice at DTW, it’s best you opt for something that’s worth it. Palazzolo’s makes their icy treats in small batches and uses only the best and most pure ingredients possible. Bottom line, it’s pretty damn delicious ice cream. Not to mention that if you’re flying out of DTW, chances are you’re not with your parents. That means that there’s not going to be someone to tell you not to eat ice cream before boarding a long flight. So go ahead and #treatyoself to that cone of gelato or sorbetto, and enjoy your flight.

Have a safe flight!

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