Review | Written and photographed by Nathan Mattise
I’m not the only person who fantastically romanticizes a city they’ve never been to. Countless folks dream of a simple life in London, Paris, NYC, etc. In my eyes, it’s all about Chicago – home of deep dish pizza, This American Life and U.S. National Team friendlies.
So, simply passing through the city’s airport was enough to get me excited. Discovering that said airport was home to a proper diner only confirmed what I already knew. It was love at first sight with the city, this time is just happened courtesy of the Skybridge Restaurant & Bar.
Now there are plenty of places to eat in airports and some of them can even pass as a pseudo diner. Skybridge actually possessed diner characteristics however. It’s aesthetically a diner with the countertop ordering, overhead menu, the Greek diner food selection (pizza, hoagies, breakfast) and diner-like hours (5 a.m. to 9 p.m.). In my various flight experiences, it’s the first time I can ever recall encountering a “local diner” type of entity inside an airport.
Skybridge does abide by some typical airport culinary unwritten rules though. Drinks aren’t cheap at all (I had a Snapple that was probably 1/3 the price of my actual meal), a lot of the food menu is over priced too and often times the portions aren’t enough.
Breakfast was naturally the deal to take. Not only was their a solid variety of fresh fruit (bananas, apples, oranges and even pears? Why can’t more diners provide fresh produce?), but you could opt for the mini two-item omelette on french bread for an average $6.49.
The ham-and-cheese variety was surprisngly hearty (actually, maybe no surprise. An omelette alone is hearty, french bread is heart, put them together…) but the modest portion size actually works in your favor so you don’t travel on too full of a stomach. Combo this with a drink and a small piece of fruit, then you have the perfect on the go meal to eat while either moving or just when you reach the exit gate.
There are clearly bigger and better diners to discover throughout Chicago (Ira Glass strikes again). For travelers on a layover or folks who need to kill some time before their ride arrives, Skybridge offers a reasonable option not available in most airports. It might not be a 5-star locale, but how many cities can give you an average quality diner even in their airport? Only in Chicago…
The Final Tab
Pros: Great option considering the airport environment, fresh fruit available, solid breakfast, traditional diner look
Cons: Higher prices than a normal diner, limited selection, expensive beverages, very limited seating
Three Out Of Five (Basic combo | It’s OK – try it.)