Only recently has Airport Boulevard started getting the attention it deserves. With the help of some new businesses popping up in the area, more people are discovering what many of us have always known — the accessibility, ample parking, and low-key spots strewn around that strip make for some excellent adventures.
Interspersed among the chic spots (Bullfight, Bun Belly, Komé) and the icons (Quality Seafood, Mrs. Johnson's Bakery) are some pretty sweet secrets. Here are the classic, under-the-radar spots you need to know (or need to revisit):
Tabbouleh, dolmas, kofta, gyros, falafel, hummus, shawarma, and pizza. Yep. Big ol’ pizzas. The atmosphere here has been carefully curated with antique rugs, floor cushions, murals, and amber hanging lamps. In short, you feel like you’re eating that $7.95 lunch special in a totally different world.
Casey’s New Orleans Snowballs
Casey’s has the best snowball in the city. It's been at 51st Street and Airport Boulevard forever-ever but expanded recently to South Congress. Consider this: house-made syrups, pure cane sugar, traditional New Orleans chocolate and cream flavors, and family owned since 1996.
These guys were slinging artisanal pies before there was a pizza spot on every corner. It’s easy to miss this adorable little house, but you’d be a fool to. Notable pizzas include potato and goat cheese, spicy arrabiata, and asparagus and prosciutto. Wash those down on $2.50 Tuesdays with a crafty draft or a soda spritzer.
Mueller Trailer Eats
This food truck park is for all palates. Get fresh empanadas at mmmpanadas, dig into some Southern cooking at Gravy ATX, belly up to a burger at Stonehouse Wood Fire Grill, or grab some chimichurri seitan at Conscious Cravings. It's BYOB if you’re into that kind of thing (and we are).
After spending 35-plus years on Burnet Road, this breakfast staple has a new home on Airport Boulevard. The same great menu and friendly staff will great you. Your order should always include a fluffy gingerbread pancake and queso Benedict. Oh, and an omelet, of course.
Terry’s Seafood and Chicken
Damn Terry! Why you gotta fry so good? Fried chicken, fried fish, fried oysters, fried shrimp, fried clams. This isn’t a place for the faint of heart, but your brief wait in the lunch line will be well worth the piping hot, freshly fried feast.
If you’ve been lured in by the neon gleam of Barfly’s martini sign, you’re not alone. Traverse the tricky stairs into this second-story spot and your one drink stopover just might become a home for the evening. There's a stacked jukebox, casual vibe, and motto we can all get behind: our drinks are cheap so you don’t have to be.
Remember Bernadette’s? Right. No one else does either. The important thing is that Skylark has risen like a phoenix from B’s ashes to become a rare gem. It's a dark dive with great live music, a dance floor, affordable drinks, late-night pizza, and a patio. And free popcorn. Let us never underestimate free popcorn.
This strip mall surprise has multitudinous pool tables, dart boards, and big TVs for all your sports watching needs. Each night there's a sweet special, like $4 mini pitchers of Lone Star on Sundays and Mondays, $2 Mexican beers on Wednesdays, and $3.50 craft drafts on Saturdays. Go for the excellent bathroom graffiti, stay for the $8 DiGiornos.