We’ve all experienced the maddening roller coaster that is airport security. One day, you speed through the screening machines in 15 minutes flat. The next, you’re logjammed for 40 minutes. But here’s a travel secret — these days, it’s good to show up extra early, no matter the wait times, just to enjoy the new amenities at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport. On the heels of a yearlong wave of growth and change — including 15 new restaurants and 35 new shops debuting throughout Terminal 1 — MSP boasts more options for filling travelers up and keeping them entertained than ever before. In search of a grab-and-go breakfast? No problem. Craving a gourmet burger or a glass of French red wine? Both are easily found. Need to pick up a last-minute gift? There are opportunities galore. The new, re-imagined, locally focused MSP has something for just about every desire.
A caffeine jolt
Finally, MSP has a coffee shop choice that isn’t a mega chain. Roasting Plant (near the end of the E Concourse) has superb java, plus it’s an experience. Select your beans from around-the-world options then watch as pneumatic tube technology — yep, like the old deposit capsule system at the bank drive-through — whisks them over to the coffee station to be ground and brewed per cup.
A good read
Open Book, a favorite in downtown Minneapolis, is the new mainstay in the airport mall. Here, browsers can find an array of classics and new titles, along with other bookish gifts such as coloring postcards.
MSP favorite Surdyk’s sadly is no more in Terminal 1 (there’s still an outpost in Terminal 2), but the airport has gained two new wine destinations. Lake Wine Kitchen + Bar, in the airport mall, offers a hearty selection by the glass along with cheese plates and other snacks. And airport chain Vino Volo (near Gate C7) is known for its wine club and casual eats. Both spots have bottles for purchase, including Lake’s rotating 2 for$20 deal.
Stone Arch isn’t playing around. The Wisconsin-based beer bar’s airport outpost sports 29 taps featuring a rotating cast of local brews along with a menu stocked with hearty pub fare. Before you travel, check their Twitter page (@StoneArchMSP). You just might catch one of the many on-site appearances by local brewers.
A worthy breakfast on the fly
Say goodbye to the rock-hard airport bagels of the past. MSP has a pair of stellar new bakery operations in Concourse E. Angel Food Bakery (near Gate E5) tantalizes with Instagram-worthy doughnuts in what might be the airport’s loveliest space. Salty Tart, meanwhile, peddles sweet and savory pastries like ham and cheese croissants and daily danishes in the new “food truck alley” area of the concourse.
Choose from among the Twin Cities’ best casual restaurants, in mini airport form. For gourmet burgers, head to Red Cow’s food truck alley location (Concourse E) or Republic (Concourse D). For dietary restrictions: Republic has a veggie burger available; request gluten-free buns if desired at Red Cow. Other options? Black Sheep (airport mall) for coal-fired pizza, Smack Shack (airport mall) for lobster rolls, Holy Land Deli (food truck alley in Concourse E) for falafel and gyros and LoLo American Kitchen (the end of Concourse E) for everything from tacos to Korean BBQ chicken wings.
Don’t fret if you forgot something — even a big something — for your trip. A couple of action-inspired boutiques have joined the airport mall. At Adventure North, find everything from backpacks and hammocks to biodegradable soap. Adrenaline, meanwhile, offers an array of activewear from the likes of Nike and Under Armour.
To buy a gift
You’ll find temptations, no matter who you’re buying for. Nieces and nephews? Check out Lolli and Pops (near Gate F6), a mecca of candy and other sweet treats. The techie in your life? The new iStore (airport mall) has a host of Apple favorites. The discerning gentleman? The popular Kiehl’s (airport mall) skin care shop will do the trick. That special someone? St. Paul’s Flirt Boutique (airport mall) sells stunning silk robes and other intimates from all over the world.