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Vino Volo opened the door.  You have to give them credit for that.

Before Vino Volo, your best option when traveling by air was to find an airport restaurant, and hope they had more than J Lohr on the wine list.  Which wasn’t often.  So maybe a Bloody Mary or a rum drink was a better option.

Even worse was the in-flight selection, especially on domestic flights.  We learned when flying Alitalia that European airlines are a bit more generous with their wine offerings.  On one flight, I was even advised by the tall, dark haired male flight attendant, as he leaned in to hand me my small bottle of red, that I really wanted to request TWO bottles of wine, because I would need one before dinner, and one with my meal.

(Notice – request, because the wine was free on Alitalia.  And quite good.  And the second little bottle was definitely a delicious accompaniment with my dinner!)

So Vino Volo arrives on the scene:  great wines, a changing selection, wines you won’t necessarily find on every wine list, flights of wine… Wine Nirvana, in a word!  The foods on their menu are great for people who like smaller plates, allowing you to have a greater variety of flavors in smaller portions.  Vino Volo is smart, chic, but not pretentious.  They provide excellent service to a novice wine drinker as well as to an expert.

And you can find them during an airport layover!  Awesome!

Then, when I think there is no better than Vino Volo, I fly into Minneapolis.

Newsflash: You need to get to  Surdyk’s Flights Wine Market & Bar!  Like Vino Volo, the wine selections are excellent and well rounded, with some novel wines that might surprise you.  Flighted wines are available, service is smart and quick, with a great ear for what the customer would want.

But the FOOD!  Surdyk’s takes the food and spins out plates that will make you hungry even after Thanksgiving dinner!  You can tell by the set up:  highlights in the open cooking area are fresh ingredients like fruits, tomatoes, onions, cheeses and smoked and cured meats.  Salads are incredible mixtures of flavor: smoked salmon with dill potato salad, and freshly dressed organic greens.  WOW!   You can see the entire menu here.

When in the Minneapolis/St. Paul airport, Surdyk’s is a place you cannot miss.  And if you don’t have time to sit and enjoy a glass of wine, you can take your food to go, along with a nice bottle of wine.

What is your favorite airport bar?

About Claire Ziamandanis

Claire Ziamandanis is Professor of Spanish at The College of Saint Rose in Albany, NY. Over her 20 years at the college, she has been a champion for study abroad, establishing the first affiliation for Spanish students, and then working with the Study Abroad office to open the doors to students from other majors. Claire loves travel, food, wine and Spanish but not necessarily in that order!


  1. Claire, I couldn’t agree with you more. We discovered Surdyk’s in the Minneapolis airport a few years ago and it is without doubt my top spot for food and drinks in an airport. Great wine selection, fresh and delicious food and friendly and knowledgable service. Plus, they even have liquor and some unusual booze at that. Unfortunately, not all of my flights go to that airport, so I am happy that many of the other terminals now have Vino Volo. It is a civilized way to pass the time while waiting for that next often delayed flight.

    • Claire Ziamandanis

      Bill – I thought Vino Volo was heaven, until I stepped into Surdyk’s. Hopefully other establishments will follow suit. Then the airport layovers might well become the best part of flying!

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