Terminal Intelligence: TPA Terminal E
Locally sourced kombucha and cult-fave vegetarian Cuban soup, gateside.
Welcome to Terminal Intelligence. Because friends don’t let friends get stuck at the airport without any decent healthy options.
This week we’re taking off from: TPA Terminal E (Tampa, FL):
Overall: There are options–if you don’t mind compromising just a bit.
I need breakfast: If you’ve got the time, head all the way to Four Green Fields at the end of the terminal (by gate 62) and make your own omelette. Otherwise, your best food option is probably Starbucks (near gate 71)—assuming there’s not a line wrapping around the cafe, which is very possible. Worst case scenario: Hit up Illy Cafe (across from gate 68) for your cold brew and run to catch your flight.
I need a snack: The two magazine spots have an interesting selection of healthy snacks—so it really depends what side of the terminal your flight is leaving from. On one end is Tampa Bay Times (gate 62), which has everything from Noka’s squeezable superfood smoothie to Made in Nature’s Nana Pops. On the other is Air Essentials (gate 69A), which has the local game on lock; it stocks Pinellas’ “Florida bean to bar” chocolate and kombucha from not one but two Tampa brands, alongside the usual staples (think kale chips and coconut oil-popped popcorn). For something less processed, Four Green Fields has a decent-sized raw veggie box that looked surprisingly fresh the day we were there.
I need a real meal: If you’ve got all the time in world, head to Columbia Restaurant—a storied Tampa spot that, at its airport extension, serves a vegetarian Cuban black bean soup (along with their famous 1905 salad, which is definitely not vegetarian). But if you’ve got to keep things moving, your best bet is—gasp!—one of the fast-food options. At Panda Express, order the steamed brown rice and mixed vegetables, or go next door to Potbelly’s (gate 69A), which serves up four different salad options, a vegetarian wrap (that you could make vegan by holding the feta), and a tasty-sounding vegetarian soup.
I’m hungry but my flight boards in five minutes: The best grab-and-go salads can be found at Illy Cafe—although if you’re vegan, your only option is their smaller garden salad. (Get two?)
I need to relax: Spa Terminal Getaway offers massages in 10-minute increments—although they’re not exactly private, if things at gate 64 are low-key you’ll have that end of the terminal to yourself.
I forgot something at home: For beauty supplies, head to Air Essentials, which has a slew of Pacifica and Burt’s Bees products (from sheet masks to travel-size bottles of lotion). For meds, we found a few surprises at Tampa Bay Times (think Olly vitamins to help you sleep). If you’re really picky, Spa Terminal Getaway sells pouches of cult-fave Herban Essentials towelettes.
I need to fill up my water bottle: The good news is that there are water fountains dotting the terminal, near gate 64, 68, 70, and 75. The bad news is that none are bottle-filling fountains, so prepare to do the push and tilt.