McCoy’s Bar & Grill elevates airport dining 

Gotta hit MCO to pick up holiday visitors? Might as well treat yourself

9300 Jeff Fuqua Blvd. | 407-825-1234 | | $$$

This time of year, a trip to the airport is about as likely as giving the finger to a driver in a mall parking lot. If you're like me and make it a point to get to the airport early prior to a flight, you'll find that nine times out of 10, you have a fair bit of time to kill. Instead of going through security and sitting at the gate, I often head upstairs to the lobby level of the Hyatt Regency Hotel and into the calming sanctuary of McCoy's Bar & Grill. 

A little more than a year ago, in celebration of its 20th anniversary, the restaurant underwent a major renovation – bamboo flooring, soft earthy tones, sleek furnishings – in an effort to modernize, as did the menu. Under the direction of executive chef David Didzunas, the menu not only places an emphasis on local sourcing, but makes a concerted effort to take airport dining, long relegated to the realm of chains and food courts, to a healthier, more appetizing  level. 

It's a trend that's taking over many of the nation's, and indeed the world's, airports, and that can only be a good thing. If you're one of those angst-ridden travelers who can't seem to relax until you're TSA-inspected and seated, boarding pass in hand, you'll do well to break the habit. My wife reluctantly did, and now she happily makes McCoy's a regular pre-flight stop. 

The free-standing sushi bar, manned by longtime itamae Hiro Masaki, is where a good many of our meals have originated. On our last visit, we sampled Masaki's selection of straight-off-the-runway-fresh hamachi, tuna and salmon sashimi ($17), though for roughly the same price, you might be better served with the traveler's trio ($17.95) – your choice of three small plates served on a tiered stand. Fish bites (lightly breaded, deep-fried mahi and grouper), pork carnitas tacos, calamari, and the cannellini bean-and-tomato bruschetta are clear winners. Most polarizing small plate: fragrant pickled lavender strawberries, served with whipped cream cheese and multigrain crackers. I took to it, but on two separate occasions, I've been the only one. The trio, by the way, can be a meal in itself.

With its robust and creamy character, it's easy to see why the crawfish chowder ($5, half; $8, full portion), McCoy's signature dish, has been a favorite of patrons for the past 20 years. A new fave – the Create Your Own Main Dish option – allows for flexibility in one's meal: Select a protein (chicken breast, sirloin steak, fresh catch or shellfish), a portion size, a sauce and two sides. While the side of asparagus was utterly parched, the sirloin steak ($16.75, 4-ounce; $24, 8-ounce), grilled potatoes and herb aioli comprised a perfectly serviceable meal, and beat anything you'd get in first class. Roasted poblano peppers gave the cornbread-crusted mac & cheese ($15.95), with its blend of Oaxaca smoked cheddar and Monterey Jack, a nice smoky essence. This stuff is worth smuggling through security. For that matter, so is the pricey signature burger ($16.95). The 6-ounce grass-fed patty comes layered with just the right amount of blue cheese, caramelized onions and some of the finest-looking bacon this side of Runway 17R. The fries are spot-on, too. 

In the midst of savoring the orange cheesecake frozen soufflé ($7) and the chocolate brownie silk pie ($7), you might find yourself becoming increasingly unaware of your surroundings. You might even forget you're at the airport, which may not altogether be a good thing – especially if the lines at security are long.

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Orlando Weekly. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Orlando Weekly, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at

Orlando Weekly works for you, and your support is essential.

Our small but mighty local team works tirelessly to bring you high-quality, uncensored news and cultural coverage of Central Florida.

Unlike many newspapers, ours is free – and we'd like to keep it that way, because we believe, now more than ever, everyone deserves access to accurate, independent coverage of their community.

Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing pledge, your support helps keep Orlando’s true free press free.


Never miss a beat

Sign Up Now

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.

Read the Digital Print Issue

April 7, 2021

View more issues


© 2021 Orlando Weekly

Website powered by Foundation