• The Jet Lag Junkie

Tortas Frontera by Rick Bayless, Chicago ORD

One of the best quick bite restaurants at Chicago's O'Hare International Airport.

Tortas Frontera by Rick Bayless, Chicago ORD Terminal 1 (by gate B11)


If you find yourself hungry at Chicago's O'Hare International Airport (ORD) and are skeptical on where to eat, fear no more! With Chicago (ORD) being my home base it is no wonder I have done a good amount of research on the best places to grab a bite. You would not be wrong in attempting to avoid airport food at all cost as many have been left disappointed at airports around the world. Dare I say this is a must try?! I should forewarn you I am a Rick Bayless fan and I do very much like Mexican food.

“You would not be wrong in attempting to avoid airport food at all cost as many have been left disappointed at airports around the world.”

So here is the great part. Chicago (ORD) is a big hub to the 2 behemoths, United Airlines and American Airlines. While United Airlines operates mainly out of Terminal 1 and American Airlines out of Terminal 3, both of these Terminals have a Frontera in them, Yey! If you find yourself in Terminal 1 you can find Frontera by gate B11 and if you are flying out of Terminal 3 you can find Frontera by gate K4. If you happen to be flying from Terminal 2, the walk is not too bad to either T1 or T3 for a bite. If you are flying internationally and leaving out of Terminal 5, you can also find Frontera by gate M12. So basically, there is no reason not to give Frontera a try.


Ah the amazing Mexican food at Frontera. While Rick Bayless is well known in Chicago, he is absolutely known for being the chef heavily inspired with Mexican culture and food. His first restaurant Frontera Grill opened in 1987 on Clark Street and is still not only in the same location it was when it opened, but is also a Chicago staple. He has since expanded into many restaurants in the Chicagoland area, but lucky for us, delivers quality food past security in an airport. Yes, good food does exist within airports, although that may be hard to believe.

You can't go wrong with anything at Frontera and I'm not just saying that. Be prepared for a longer line than most places as it is no secret this is a go-to spot for many. Whether you are having breakfast, lunch, or dinner, Frontera has some amazingly tasty food. Oh and did I mention the margaritas! Well made and refreshing, don't miss grabbing one.

If you are there for lunch the various tortas will leave you satisfied. My go-to is the Pepito, which includes braised short rib, artisan Jack cheese, pickled jalapeno, cilantro crema, black beans and wild arugula (it is fire!). The breakfast tortas are equally as good. Looking for perhaps a bit healthier low-carb option? They serve the tortas bread-less in a bowl over black beans with arugula.

Bottom Line Trust me on this one when I say you need to make your way here. While there are some other great options at O'Hare to eat like The Publican and Wicker Park which are more of a sit down, this is a great option for a semi-quick bite to eat. If you know you what you want and want to try and save time, you can download the ChowNow app and order for pickup. They are very quick to process remote orders and will have you on your way in no time.