French Meadow Bakery & Café

20150423-MspFly-FrenchMeadowLike a calm oasis at the end of the bustling Airport Mall, French Meadow Bakery & Café feeds hungry travelers true comfort food: homemade baked goods and hearty, satisfying meals—many made from local, organic ingredients.

The original French Meadow Bakery & Café in Minneapolis was at the forefront of the local, organic, vegan, and gluten-free movements, offering such items long before most other restaurants. The airport location mimics the solid, seasonal menu of the original restaurant with many traveler-friendly features.

Located near the entrance to Concourse E, the space is divided into two, large sections: a traditional sit-down restaurant with a full bar and a quick-serve side that offers grab-and-go bakery and deli cases, as well as a made-to-order grill.

While French Meadow rarely disappoints any time of day, breakfast is a sure bet. Served from 5 a.m. to 11 a.m., the menu includes an eclectic mix of savory and sweet items. The breakfast burrito ($11.09), a local favorite, is a huge flour tortilla loaded with scrambled eggs, cheese, scallions, and hash browns, topped with black bean chili and served with a side of chipotle sour cream. It’s as thick as a wrestler’s forearm and so satisfying it will keep hunger at bay for hours.

Those with special dietary needs, especially vegan and gluten-free eaters, will feel right at home at French Meadow. Servers are happy to point out appropriate choices, and the menu features icons that illustrate special dietary items. For breakfast, don’t miss the delicious gluten-free/vegan blueberry cornmeal pancakes ($6.59, single; $9.39, double)—a crepe-like, crispy pancake served with perfectly sweet maple syrup.

The lunch and dinner menu includes a wide variety of local, seasonal, and organic dishes, including colorful salads, grass-fed beef burgers, and unique twists on menu standards (chipotle goat cheese quesadillas ($10.99); blackened fish tacos with cilantro-lime crème ($15.49). Meanwhile, organic herbal martinis beckon from the bar.

Don’t forget dessert. It’s a highlight at French Meadow. The double-chocolate caramel gluten-free bar ($3.89) is a gooey, dense, indulgent treat, layered with thick caramel and semi-sweet chocolate chunks. The perfectly chewy and crispy ginger molasses cookie ($2.19) is coated with extra-large sparkling coarse sugar. Both items, as well as others, hold their flavor well if bagged and eaten even a few hours after take-off. A little bit of heaven 30,000 feet up.