Chicago, you’re in luck. I’ve gone on record as saying Tortas Frontera is one of the all-time great airport food options and I still believe that. With the opening of Paul Kahan’s Publican Tavern in O’Hare’s Terminal 3, however, there’s a little more competition for the crown of Best Food at ORD.
Kahan is currently one of Chicago’s most beloved chefs with restaurants like Avec and Blackbird and O’Hare (along with hospitality partner HMSHost) snagging a satellite location of The Publican is more than just a coup — it’s a culinary revelation. True to the original, the menu features a ton of farm-to-table options with a continued focus on local purveyors like Slagel Family Farm and Hot Doug’s (!!!). The all-day menus read like a gastropub that’s more gastro than pub, although the cocktail/wine/beer lists are impressive, too.
Prices are definitely higher than your standard grab-and-go (even with airport inflation figured in), but that’s because you’re paying for much better food. In fact, I’d argue that the prices are right in line with what you’d pay for dinner at the street version of The Publican (that 1/2 farm chicken entree costs the same at both locations, although you ostensibly get summer sausage included at the original restaurant).
No matter what, this is a major boon for O’Hare. I’ll be rushing over to grab a table the next time I fly through O’Hare. You should, too.
Check out the full menus below for a taste of what to expect:
Photos courtesy of HMSHost/The Publican Tavern