It is good to see Tortas Frontera back in action at Chicago O’Hare. I was elated to enjoy a fabulous chipotle chicken sandwich last week after seeing the eatery closed for so long. If you’re unfamiliar with this restaurant, allow me to introduce you.
Tortas Frontera @ Chicago O’Hare – Simply The Best
Throughout much of the pandemic, Tortas Frontera has shut its doors in Chicago O’Hare (ORD), where it has locations in both the United Airlines Terminal (1) and the American Airlines Terminal (3). Over the summer, the restaurant finally re-opened and is back to serving the sandwiches (tortas) and salads that have earned it fiercely loyal patrons.
I was flying American Airlines and although breakfast had been served onboard, I was quite hungry by the time I arrived in ORD. As always, there was a long line to order, but it moved quickly and I patiently waited for my number to be called.
My favorite sandwich at Tortas Frontera is the chipotle chicken sandwich, which includes:
- jack cheese
- poblano rajas
- black beans
- cilantro crema
- wild arugula
Be sure take both red and green sauce when you pick up your order. Both are unnecessary in that the sandwich is delicious without it, but both add an extra kick to the sandwich that I love (I dip the sandwich in the salsas).
You can also buy a jar of green sauce to go, though this is also available at many grocery stores and is not quite as fresh:
If you care to eat there, there is a bar from which you can order food, though everything is served in disposable containers.
A sandwich will set you back about $14.50 after tax…pricey, but a filling and delicious lunch (and not even all that unhealthy).
I also recommend the Cubana and Pepito sandwiches, but the chipotle chicken remains my favorite. Full menu here.
This is not a paid advertisement. Rather, this is an expression of gratitude for one of my favorite airport restaurants in the entire world (perhaps my #1 favorite…). If you like tasty sandwiches, you’ll love Tortas Frontera, the number one reason I enjoy connecting in Chicago O’Hare.
What is your favorite sandwich at Tortas Frontera?
I live in the Chicago area and purposely wait to eat until I get to ORD just for Frontera. Note, they use the app ChowNow for take out which allows you to place the order before you even get off the plane. Surely beats waiting in line!
You can order ahead by downloading the app and skip the line
We eat at the Terminal 1 location every opportunity we get but we’ve never been to Terminal 3. Obviously, those pictures make it look gigantic. Has the Terminal 3 location always been that much larger than what is in Terminal 1?
It’s not that much bigger. Just configured differently.
It’s a ton bigger Matthew! Huge bar + seating area, at least 2x the seats. And just more open as it’s “horizontal” vs. the little cut-in in T1.
Pro tip as well – go to the bar to order a drink (Mezcal margarita always great) and order food there. Presto line skip.
Finally, something I agree with UA on. I guess miracles do happen. I drank there recently with Daxx Nielsen, son of Rick and is part of Cheap Trick now. The food and drink is incredible.
I want them to bring back the chicken milanese! So good.
Insider tip- the milanesa is back 🙂 -Chef Kim.
MY FAVORITE AIRPORT RESTAURANT IN THE ENTIRE USA!!! I’ll fly it home for my family & even schedule a layover here to get it!
Do we have Frontera in IAH also?
You should do a post on your top airport restaurants. Or top airport sandwiches
I love the shrimp sandwich!
“Mexican” sandwiches from a white Boomer made for white folx. Illinois is full of Mexicans, but apparently the folx running ORD couldn’t find any to sell food there. Cultural appropriation is alive and well. Where is your allyship, Matthew? Why do you perpetuate white supremacy?
Not sure if you are serious. If you are, you’re an idiot. Culinary talent in Chicago is based on desire and ability, not some woke politically correct BS.
One of out best local chefs in Chicago is Mariya Russell became the first black woman to earn a Michelin Star in 2020 for her work as chef de cuisine of the Chicago bar Kumiko and its sister restaurant, Kikko. Her dishes are known as luxe small bites that showcase Japanese technique, ingredients and flavors.
So should her restaurant be closed?
Don’t encourage that Commie troll named @cargocult let it return to its cave
Call Rick Bayless a sellout if you want. He markets lines of Frontera condiments and frozen meals after all…
But the guy is deeply educated about Mexican cuisine. He’s lived in worked in Mexico for years, has a degree pertaining to anthropology in the region, hosted a public access show about the topic, speaks Spanish, and otherwise dedicated his life to Mexican food.
Yes, perhaps he’s privileged to make waves as a white restauranteur dabbling in “ethnic” cuisine. However, Panda Express his restaurants are not.
It’s like claiming Ivan Orkin is unqualified to speak about ramen or Fuchsia Dunlop is incapable of understanding Chinese food. At some point, it’s not the white guy who’s the asshole. What more do you want them to do, to prove that they belong?
It’s a fair point though—all respect to Rick Bayless, but it is often true that, whether it’s music or food or whatever, no one really cares until a white person does it and makes it seem less “foreign”.
You’re trying to reason with an anti-vaxxing anti-science troll who’s as Trumpy as they come but swears to have not voted for him (nor anyone apparently)…not worth your time
Progressives don’t like having their hypocrisy pointed out. Tortas Fronteras is perpetuating Boomer white supremacy. I love Mexican food, from Chili’s (as Kyle does) to Chipotle. I don’t see why progressives want to buy it from a white Boomer cishet male instead of any of the 2.2 million “Hispanics” who live in Illinois. Surely there are some BIPOC LGBTQ2S+ folx who can make baby back ribs and fajitas.
Indeed, I didn’t vote for Trump (or anyone) in the 2020 elections (why is this so hard to believe?), but consider that Trump gained 8% among Hispanic voters over 2016. They must be white supremacists, too. Surely they don’t know what’s good for them and must have it imposed upon them by a government that follows science. Science shows that Biden is best. Science keeps him in an imitation of life (rather than of Christ).
Frontera is the bessssst. My fav meal at a us airport.
I love this place!
When flying out, I place my order in the app when I’m being dropped off by my uber, that way it is ready by the time I clear security.
Same when I land, place the order in the taxiway, that way it is ready when I am at the gate!
It’s the best. I love the Cubano. I always try to schedule a layover or arrive at ORD a little early so that I can eat there.
Their salads don’t feel like diet food for rabbits but again not unhealthy. Cannot WAIT for my first post-quarantine visit in Nov.
Love this place…. Last time I flew (about a month ago), T1 (United)’s location was only open for lunch and after, while T3 (American) was also open for breakfast. The app is a great way to avoid the wait. Usually takes about 20 min from order to ready using the app, so use it before you go thru security.
This one is up there, along with the legit taco truck in Omaha Airport and the Thai restaurant in Bishop, CA Airport. I love finding unique and good airport food in a long line of sodexo garbage.
I was in downtown Chicago earlier today and ate at Xoco – amazing food (same tortas + other dishes) and got to meet Chef Bayless too! I was too full to stop for another torta at ORD. Highly recommend any of his restaurants.
I’ve never understood the allure? Maybe I’ll try it again sometime. Don’t they have an app where you can order ahead? Surprised they serve drinks – is that new? An FTer recommended getting your drinks extra spicy! And can you take them to go?