Food & Drink

Where to Eat at Newark International Airport

Airport food you'll actually like.

Jersey Mike's
Photo by Cole Saladino for Thrillist

If you’re traveling through Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR) this year, a lot of things are going to look different. With COVID restrictions still in place, many of EWR’s restaurants are temporarily closed, and those that remain open are only offering takeout and grab-and-go meals.

“Across the country, we’re seeing a very different implementation of airport dining during the pandemic,” says Zach Griff, travel analyst at The Points Guy. “When you’re thinking about eating, look at the COVID precautions,” says Griff. “You want to make a calculated decision.” 

That means, whatever you’re pulling your mask down to bite on, it better be worth it. And thankfully, even with semi-closed concession stands and less options than usual, there are still plenty of ways to eat safely—and deliciously—while flying out of or through EWR. Many of the airport’s food courts, including Terminal B’s “Jersey by the Shore” and Terminal C’s “Global Bazaar,” are offering up foods infused with local flavor (Taylor ham, anyone?) as well as inspired by Newark Airport’s position as a global hub.

No matter what you eat while traveling during these current times, it’s imperative to practice strict social distancing, keep your mask on as much as possible, and note that New Jersey’s indoor dining rules are in flux as case numbers continue to rise. And please be aware: We’ve noted which restaurants are open and which are temporarily closed, but COVID precautions can change daily. But rest assured—there will always be a place for you to overpay for a glass of Chardonnay.
 

Terminal A

Jersey Mike's
Photo by Cole Saladino for Thrillist

Jersey Mike’s
A Food Court
Terminal A, it must be said, is somewhat lacking in the food department. But while passing through this franchise-land, one standout is regional favorite Jersey Mike’s (which was indeed, as the name suggests, founded in New Jersey in 1956). Here, go for sandwiches slick with vinegar and oil and stuffed with cappacuolo, proscuittini, and provolone. In North Jersey, they call these “subs”—but in South Jersey, they’re hoagies. Whatever you call ‘em, they make for a solid airport meal. 

Phillips Seafood (Temporarily closed)
A3 Rotunda
This Maryland-style seafood spot isn’t exactly New Jersey’s iconic boardwalk fare, but you could do worse than a crab cake sandwich or some crispy calamari. To add a little Jersey flair to the experience, simply don’t pronounce the “i” in calamari! There are plenty of tables to kill time during your layover, but the bar area’s got plenty of space to spread out and sip a cocktail—all the better to make friends with the bartender and ensure you’ll get a few rounds in before your flight.

Other options in Terminal A: 
Open:
Currito Cantina, Dunkin’, Market Fresh, Olde Glory Coffee, Ruby Tuesday
Temporarily Closed: Abica Coffee, Auntie Anne’s, Ben & Jerry’s, Boars Head, Cheeburger Cheeburger, Earl of Sandwich, Jamba Juice, Natures Kitchen, Qdoba Grill, Tony Roma’s, Villa Pizza

Terminal B 


Malone’s Fish Market
B1 Concourse
Terminal B is home to “Jersey by the Shore,” a Jersey Shore-inspired food court (inspired by Jersey Shore the place, one assumes, and not the GTL-loving, boardwalk-punching reality show). Malone’s Fish Market, an anchor in the food court, serves up boardwalk-style french fries, some perfectly-fine-when-its-deep-fried seafood, and a selection of craft brews. You can’t smell the ocean, but if you listen really closely you might hear Snooki whining.  

Little Tony’s 
B1 Connector
Another Jersey by the Shore food court entry, Little Tony’s purports to be a boardwalk pizzeria, but at the airport. It won’t ever replace your favorite local pizza joint, but it’s hot, and it has cheese and sauce and crust, and as any tri-stater will tell you, eating pizza is like getting press—even the bad stuff is good. Grab a slice or two, fold ‘em in half New York style, and you’ve got the perfect snack to shove in your mouth while you run to catch your plane. 

Belgian Beer Cafe (Temporarily closed)
B2 Rotunda
If you just need to down a few beers before you hop on the plane (no judgment here!), the Belgian Beer Cafe is not a bad place to do it. With a pretty big list of both bottles and drafts, they’re sure to have something you like to sip while you wait for your plane to board. The food is regular bar fare—burgers, fries—and totally skippable unless you find yourself needing to sober up before you get to your gate. 

Liberty Diner (Temporarily closed)
Near B3 Concourse Entrance 
New Jersey is, proudly, the diner capital of the world. And luckily for EWR, the diner might just be the perfect restaurant format to translate well at an airport. At Liberty Diner, with diner standbys like burgers, eggs, sad plates of cantaloupe, and (of course) coffee, you can pass a pleasant morning or afternoon waiting for a delayed flight while reading the paper and watching passersby.  

Other options in Terminal B: 
Open: All You Need, Dunkin’, Farmers Fridge, Firehouse Subs, Green Beans Coffee, Salsarita’s Mexican Grill, Starbucks, StrEAT, The New Stand, The Unusual Times, Tony & Benny’s
Temporarily Closed: Sora Japanese Cuisine and Sushi Bar, Vino Volo
 

Terminal C

Abruzzo
Abruzzo

Abruzzo Italian Steakhouse
Gates C70-99
The menu at this red sauce joint was originally designed by Mario Carbone, chef at the West Village’s Carbone. Here, get a plate of pasta or steak ordered through iPads so you don’t have to wait for a waiter to get started. Terminal C was recently renovated with the intention of putting great food front and center, but this is still an airport, so temper your expectations. 

Eggy Weggy
Gates C70-99, Gates C120-139
If you’ve got an early flight, skip the stale croissants and head to Eggy Weggy, where they’re serving up hot breakfast all morning. The breakfast sandwiches are a solid choice, and you shouldn't miss ordering one with Taylor ham, New Jersey’s beloved Canadian bacon-like pork roll (while New Jerseyans still call it Taylor ham, it does not, unfortunately, meet the legal definition of “ham”). Make sure to get there early, because Eggy Weggy transforms into a burger joint after 11am.

Garden State Diner
Gates C101-115
With all-day breakfast and a solid roster of sweets, the Garden State Diner once again bolsters NJ’s rep as the diner capital of the world. Sitting among the tiles and vinyl chairs reminiscent of an old-school diner, you can order up a gigantic Oreo milkshake or chocolate malt, patty melts, or a plate of French toast for a pretty-close-to-authentic experience. If you’re in a rush, you could do worse than a muffin and a hot cup of coffee from their take-out counter. 

Oeno Wine Bar
Gates C70-99
Need a drink to sip in surly silence? The Oeno Wine Bar offers iPad ordering so you can down your Merlot in peace. The food is, um, fine, but here’s some good news—wine doesn’t need to be fresh! Order an overpriced glass of vino, or sip your way through a flight (a liquor flight, that is, not a winged one) if you want to keep yourself occupied while you wait for your plane to get de-iced.

Kaedama
Gates C70-99
The options at Terminal C’s Global Bazaar can feel overwhelming, but for a hot and (relatively) quick meal, Kaedama’s noodles hit the spot. Along with standbys like tonkotsu and shoyu ramen, they’ve got vegan options that can be hard to come by while traveling. There’s sushi on the menu, too, but you’re better off sticking with a big bowl of salty noodles washed down with a nice cold beer or two. 

Tsukiji Fishroom (Temporarily closed)
Gates C70-99
While talk of its freshest-sushi-in-the-city may be a little overhyped, the Tsukiji Fishroom does have a pretty cool premise—all of their seafood is flown straight in from Tokyo’s world-famous Tsukiji Fish Market. Sushi, sashimi, and nigiri are all wrapped up and ready to buy at the counter, making it easy to grab a meal on the go and pretend that you’re flying first class to Japan instead of coach to Orlando. 

Other options in Terminal C: 
Open:
Breakfast Boli, Caps Beer Garden, Cibo Express, Creperie Juliette, Custom Burger, Daily, Dunkin’, Flora Cafe, Happy Clam, Little Purse, Novella, Park American Grill, Poppy’s Bagels, Proof Whiskey Bar, Red Mango, Riviera, Saison, Starbucks, Supreme Bowl, Surf Bar, Tacquila, Tagliare, Uptop Pizza, Vanguard Kitchen, Vanguard Market, Vesper Tavern, Wabi Sabi, Wanderlust Burger Bar, Wendy’s, World Bean Coffee 
Temporarily closed: Bar Left, Bar Right, Boar’s Head, Casciano Italian Specialties, Classified (this one’s by invite only), Forno Magico, Mélange, Notorious P.I.G., Philly Cheesesteaks

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Rachel Pelz lives and writes in Brooklyn.