As the gateway to one of the world’s biggest tourist destinations, the Louis Armstrong International Airport (MSY) is often a visitor’s first or last taste of New Orleans. With the opening of a new terminal in November 2019, it’s easier than ever to make that taste memorable. The 35-gate terminal’s restaurant row offers a mix of revamped classics, globally-recognized chef names, and fresh outposts of longtime neighborhood destinations, serving everything from po’ boys and gumbo to pho and gelato.
While not every restaurant or grab-and-go kitchen is currently open, there are still plenty of spots in the airport to fuel up or wind down before a trip. Below are Eater’s recommendations for where to eat, drink, and grab something on the go at the Satchmo airport, as well as a handful of trip-worthy restaurants nearby. And if you’re arriving in the Crescent City, check out an Eater’s guide to New Orleans.
Where to Dine
Dook’s — Situated directly across from the Heritage Music Stage, Dook’s is a second outlet for the Dooky Chase family name focusing on burgers, although the menu offers breakfast and some tasty sandwiches too. You can’t go wrong with the classic burger, topped with American cheese, lettuce, and tomato. (Concourse B, Level 2 departures)
Emeril’s Table — The airport eatery from Emeril Lagasse is meant to showcase “a little bit of everything” from the celebrity chef’s New Orleans restaurants. Also offering wood fired pizza, health-conscious menu items (approved by Eat Fit NOLA), and a full bar program, all in a prime location under a huge, cheery skylight. (Concourse B/Gate B10)
Leah’s Kitchen — With the help of grandson Edgar, this anchor restaurant pays homage to the late Leah Chase, the legendary New Orleans chef who made Dooky Chase’s restaurant world famous. The fried chicken is cooked to order and well worth the wait, and the gumbo, red beans and rice, shrimp Creole, and Louisiana redfish are highlights. (Terminal, Level 2 departures)
Midway Pizza — Known for serving deep-dish pizza with a serious crust on Freret Street, the MSY version serves a scramboli for breakfast — dough-embraced egg concoctions. Try the the Uptown Meatdown, topped with pepperoni, bacon, ham, Italian sausage, and meatballs. (Terminal, Level 2 departures)
MoPho — Creole flavors meet Vietnamese specialties from acclaimed chef Michael Gulotta here; a winning combination that’s made the original a Mid City neighborhood favorite. Truly everything is good at MoPho, from the build your own pho menu (the pork belly is as good as it gets) to the lemongrass ginger chicken wings and the fresh, creative cocktails. (Concourse B/Gate B6)
Munch Factory — This restaurant serving modern soul food is a go-to in New Orleans (and counts Jay-Z and Beyonce as fans after their visit), especially for Creole gumbo, oysters Gentilly, and bread pudding. The MSY space serves a breakfast and all day menu, including other favorites like a saucy roast beef debris po’ boy, shrimp and grits, and the ‘Voodoo Burger’. (Concourse C/Gate C6)
Ye Olde College Inn — The revamped airport location of the longtime Carrollton Avenue spot has a decent sized bar with more than decent food. Smoked boudin, shrimp and grits, oysters and blue cheese, po’ boys, and gumbo. (Terminal, outside Concourse C)
Where to Drink
Bar Sazerac — This bar from a New Orleans-born distillery highlights classic Crescent City cocktails like its namesake sazerac, a traditional daiquiri, and brandy milk punch. The adjacent kitchen, Dook’s, serves burgers and snacks from a to-go window in addition to feeding bar patrons. (Concourse B/Gate B4)
Cure — MSY now boasts an outpost of Uptown’s popular cocktail destination, bringing weary passengers a James Beard-awarded bar program founded ten years ago with a nod to the therapeutic benefit of cocktails. (Concourse C/Gate C6, next to the Munch Factory)
Where to Grab a Bite on the Go
Cafe du Monde — If you didn’t make it to the iconic French Quarter location, at least you can grab a beignet on the way home. The local institution is serving its world-famous beignets and café au lait at MSY, starting at 4 a.m. (Terminal outside Concourse B)
PJ’s Coffee and Tea — This local coffee chain is well-known for its iced coffee and granita, the perfect pick-me-up in hot, humid New Orleans. Otherwise, there’s plenty of espresso. Note — the airport location is current only open until noon. (Terminal outside Concourse C)
Lucky Dogs — Lucky Dogs are the quintessential French Quarter street food, sold ‘til late from carts that look like hot dogs (it even has its own biography). There are two locations in the airport to help with a hangover or for a quick bite on the go. (Terminal outside Concourse B and Concourse C/Gate C2)
Where to Eat Near the Airport
Harbor Seafood & Oyster Bar— This Kenner oyster bar is a must for raw oysters, crawfish and other boiled seafood, and blackened alligator and calamari. (3203 Williams Blvd., eight minutes from the airport)
Pho NOLA— New Orleans has a large Vietnamese population and a healthy number of pho restaurants. Pho NOLA is arguably the best of the handful that are near the airport. For best results go with the banh mi. (3320 Transcontinental Drive, 14 minutes from the airport)
Pho Orchid Express— Quick and trusty Vietnamese food on the cheap with counter service and a small dining area. The banh mi is perfect takeout food for those heading to the airport. (1401 Airline Drive, 15 minutes from the airport)
Banh Mi Boys — Banh Mi Boys, a next-generation Vietnamese spot, shares a parking lot with a Texaco station. The tiny place has a few outdoor tables on which to enjoy traditional Vietnamese dishes like vermicelli bowls and banh mi. Owner Peter Nguyen also adds New Orleans twists to the menu, like an oyster Rockefeller po’ boy and debris fries. (5001 Airline Drive Suite B, 11 minutes from airport)
Short Stop Po-boys — This traditional little po-boy shop on Transcontinental is known for its decadently messy roast beef po ‘boy. It bangs spot-on classic po’ boys out fast, so it’s perfect when you’re in a hurry. It’s also perfect when you’re not. (119 Transcontinental Dr, 12 minutes from airport)
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