A few weeks ago I asked for suggestions on having lunch with someone who was transferring flights at Dulles and had a three hour lay over. Several of you suggested airport hotel restaurants.
We did meet yesterday and I learned that if you don't have a ticket you can't get through security to where the airport's restaurants and snack bars are located.
Outside the security area there are two stands on the lower level where you can buy pre packaged sandwiches, frankfurters, pretzels and soda which you carry out and look for a chair. On the main level there is one similar stand selling a slightly larger selection. That's the food service outside security, according to Travellers' Aid.
The only practical "real" place to eat were, in fact, the restaurants in the airport hotels which offer free shuttle service.
We decided, however, that the worries and pressure of gettin back on time to get through security weren't worth a better meal and had our prepackaged sandwiches [and conversation] on chairs in the baggage area.