Following several years of unprecedented challenges in both the restaurant and travel industries, Denver-based, family- and minority-owned and operated concessionaire, Mission Yogurt, Inc., will more than double its footprint this year as it expands from 14 restaurant concepts—including 11 at Denver International Airport, two at San Diego International Airport, and a Denver-metro Mexican restaurant, Que Bueno Suerte—to nearly 30 food, beverage, and retail concepts across three international airports.
Founded in 1988 by Denver native Rod Tafoya, Mission Yogurt, Inc. first made a presence at Denver International Airport in 1995 with the opening of Sara Lee Sandwich Shop/Colombo Yogurt, followed by the airport’s first authentic Mexican restaurant, and Tafoya’s original concept, Que Bueno! Mexican Grille. It continued to grow from there, expanding to additional concepts in the Denver, San Diego, and San Jose airports.
Then, the COVID-19 pandemic hit in 2020; during the height of related closures and restrictions, Mission Yogurt, Inc. made just 5 percent of its pre-COVID sales and retained 30 percent of its staff, but kept 14 stores open. This resilience and commitment to serving passengers helped the concessionaire earn industry recognition including Airport Experience News’ award for Best ACDBE Operator in 2020, and Airports Council International North America’s Concessionaire Adaptability Award in 2022.
By the end of 2023, marking trend-bucking growth, Mission will add the following to its portfolio:
DENVER INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT
Concourse A, West Marketplace
- Maria Empanada, a true “casa de empanadas,” serving all-day artisan empanadas and other specialties.
- Uncle, serving steamed buns, ramen and bowls for breakfast, lunch and dinner, as well as beer, wine, and cocktails by James Beard Award–nominated Chinese American chef Tommy Lee.
- The Bindery, offering a selection of artisanal foods, handcrafted, and nurtured with great care, featuring ingredients responsibly sourced from a network of local farmers and purveyors, for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, as well as a curated wine list and craft cocktail selections.
Concourse A, Center West Marketplace
- Williams & Graham, the world’s first airport speakeasy, offering an original menu encompassing classic cocktails that have stood the test of time.
- Tocabe, a nationally acclaimed American Indian eatery offering a variety of grab-and-go Indian fry-bread tacos, plates, posu bowls, bison ribs, and more, created with native ingredients and recipes.
- The Bagel Deli & Restaurant, the oldest continuously operating deli in Denver, serving a large selection of bagels, schmears, and breakfast entrees, as well as a variety of soups, sandwiches, and baked goods for grab-and-go.
- D Bar, offering desserts, as well as global cuisine for grab-and-go brunch, lunch, and dinner, created by local celebrity chef and Food Network television personality Keegan Gerhard.
Concourse C, East Marketplace
- ChoLon Modern Asian, offering interpretations of traditional dishes found across the Far East, combined with slight nods to acclaimed chef and founder Lon Symensma’s classical European training, for an upscale dine-in experience.
- Marczyk Fine Foods, a family-operated specialty grocer offering freshly baked breads, scratch-made ice cream, soups, chicken pot pies, chili con carne, lasagna, and more, for dine-in or takeaway.
- Teatulia Tea & Coffee Bar, a female-owned business focused on creating a regenerative and self-sustaining community, offering organic teas, local coffee, and handcrafted food, with on-site seating.
Concourse C, East Subcore 2
- Created in partnership with Love From USA, Inc., which brings more than 40 years of specialty retail expertise, Black Canyon Market & Goods is a convenient retail location, proudly boasting products from local brands including Mountain Time Soap, Chocolove, Rowdy Mermaid, Sweetwood Beef Jerky, and more. The marketplace offers pre-packaged and elegantly wrapped souvenirs and a grab-and-go cooler of high-quality food items.
Concourse C, East Subcore 3
- Longs Peak Market & Goods, also in partnership with Love From USA, Inc., offering travelers reading materials, stationary, often-forgotten electronic accessories, sundries, sports merchandise, and a wide variety of snacks and beverages from Colorado brands, including Jerry’s Nut House, Bhakti Tea, and The Good Crisp Company. A grab-and-go cooler of indulgent treats provides all travelers with dietary-friendly options.
Concourse B, East Subcore 3
- High Dune Market & Goods, also in partnership with Love From USA, Inc., featuring a carefully curated merchandise mix of local products and brands, such as Boulder Canyon Chips, Little Secrets Chocolate, Teatulia, Old Pine Candle Company, and more. In collaboration with local and regional chefs, a grab-and-go menu reflects authentic tastes of Colorado, incorporating local and seasonal ingredients.
JOHN WAYNE INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT
- TAPS Fish House & Brewery, a celebration of seafood, fine steaks and award-winning traditional and innovative ales and lagers, featuring a full bar, six craft brews on tap, and a menu starring Chilean sea bass, sustainable salmon, fresh oysters,and more. Guests can dine in the 2,500 square-foot space or snag grab-and-go items.
- Greenleaf Kitchen & Cocktails, offering travelers healthy dining options on-the-go. Offering breakfast, lunch, and dinner, Greenleaf is known for its craft cocktail program, featuring curated spirits, seasonal ingredients, and little to no added sugar.
SAN DIEGO INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT
- Dark Horse Coffee Roasters, offering its signature espresso-based beverages and a curated selection of food items. The coffee kiosk will allow guests to grab-and-go several coffee beverages, food items, and even alcoholic drinks all day from 5 a.m. to 11 p.m.