The Best Places to Eat at Sky Harbor International Airport

Where 'airport food' doesn’t have a negative connotation.

Matt’s Big Breakfast
Photo courtesy of Matt’s Big Breakfast

Sky Harbor International Airport lands just outside of the top 10 largest airports in the country. It may not be the biggest, but America’s Friendliest Airport is expanding. Sky Harbor recently underwent a massive modernization, with more improvements on the horizon, to enhance overall traveler experience. The addition of a brand new terminal, shops, restaurants, and shiny new pedestrian bridge sent Sky Harbor International Airport soaring to the top of this 2020 study where it ranks highest in passenger satisfaction for its open, airy experience and local flavor among competing mega airports.

Air travel certainly looks different these days. And Sky Harbor has responded to keep travelers safe amid the pandemic. At this time, a number of shops and restaurants throughout the airport are temporarily closed (find everything that’s open here), social-distancing is advised, and masks are required. We’ve rounded up the best of what’s open, right now, at Sky Harbor International, so you can worry about catching your flight, not where your next meal comes from.
 

Terminal 3

SanTan Brewing + Distilling
Photo courtesy of SanTan Brewing + Distilling

SanTan Brewing
South Concourse
This award-winning craft brewery is equipped with a dining room that offers sweeping views of the far-off mountains and tarmac where you can watch the plans come and go. Pub grub like oversized salted pretzels and beer-battered fish and chips are standard. There’s also seating and standing room at the bar if you’d rather snag a pint of Mr. Pineapple on the fly.

Shake Shack
Photo courtesy of Shake Shack

Shake Shack
South Concourse
Expect to encounter your favorite Shack classics plus an assortment of breakfast sandwiches at the airport location of the widely-popular Madison Square Park burger joint. Fans of Shake Shack can devour the iconic burgers and frozen custards at the South Concourse when those burger cravings hit.

PHX Beer Co.
Photo courtesy of PHX Beer Co.

PHX Beer Co. 
North Concourse
Beer, and a lot of it, is what’s on the menu here. Phoenix-based, and aptly-named, PHX Beer Co. pours up brews in a range of styles, from strong stouts and sippable porters to easy-drinking ales. This spot makes for a pretty solid hangout for a long layover, if you’re a seasoned beer drinker.
 

Terminal 4

Chelsea's Kitchen
Photo courtesy of Chelsea's Kitchen

Chelsea’s Kitchen
Pre-Security
Chelsea’s churns out made-to-order taco platters that run the gamut from vegetarian tacos made of locally sourced veggies to mesquite grilled ribeye steak, all served with corn tortillas, guacamole, pico de gallo, and a kale slaw. Burgers, sandwiches, salads, and a series of starters like smoked trout dip and shrimp ceviche round out the menu here.

Blanco Tacos + Tequila
Photo by Lauren Topor Reichert

Blanco Tacos + Tequila
Near Security Checkpoint A
The bar is well-stocked at this contemporary Mexican spot. For an airport restaurant they have an extensive tequila list which features blanco, reposado, and añejo options. In addition to tequila, Blanco’s bartenders serve up margaritas, sangrias by the glass or pitcher, wines, and a shortlist of flavor-packed cocktails. And you can fill up on specialities like grilled fajitas, noshable tacos, ooey-gooey cheese crisps, piled-high sharable nachos, and breakfast burritos too.

Olive & Ivy
Photo courtesy of Olive & Ivy

Olive & Ivy
Near Gate A3
You’ll find hearty paninis of the turkey and pesto variety and fresh salads topped with fixings like couscous at Olive & Ivy. The Mediterranean-influenced eatery also dishes out wood-fired pizza and bruschetta. For the early morning crowd, Olive & Ivy has you covered with smoothies, a selection of coffee drinks, parfaits, oats, and fruit, and a traditional breakfast that does not disappoint.

Zinburger
Photo courtesy of Zinburger

Zinburger
Near Gate A5
Zinburger keeps it simple with its concise menu of burgers, milkshakes, and salads. Go all-in on the Sam Burger. Or set your taste buds ablaze with the El Diablo, a fiery combination of pepper jack cheese, fire-roasted jalapeños, braised onions, lettuce, and chipotle mayo. You’ll undoubtedly be reaching for that vanilla milkshake in no time.

Dilly's Deli
Photo courtesy of Dilly's Deli

Dilly’s Deli
Near Gate A7, A17
In a rush? Stomach rumbling? We get it. And so does Dilly’s Deli. The Tempe favorite has two grab-and-go stations inside of Terminal 4. You can snag their classic sandwiches, wraps, and pre-prepared salads on the fly without risking your connecting flight.

Wildflower Bread Company
Photo courtesy of Wildflower Bread Company

Wildflower Bread Company
Near Gate A9
Hopping on a red-eye? Departing before the sun is up? Wildflower offers breakfast, lunch, and dinner options to keep you fueled for your travels. The award-winning bakery and restaurant has been a Valley favorite for more than 20 years for its fresh-baked breads and pastries, which we must say make for a great snack once you’re 30,000-feet up.

Tammie Coe Cakes
Photo courtesy of Tammie Coe Cakes

Tammie Coe Cakes
Near Gate A25
A quick pit stop at Tammie Coe Cakes is a must when passing through this massive concourse. Your one-stop destination for something sweet. Expect treats including cookies, snackable bars, and other locally made sugar hits. You can also snag last-minute items like bottled or canned drinks here before boarding.

Matt’s Big Breakfast
Matt’s Big Breakfast

Matt’s Big Breakfast
Near Gate B5
All-day breakfast is the standard at Matt’s. The salami scramble, made-from-scratch griddle cakes, and Sonrisa burrito are always good choices. After breakfast hours you can get your hands on eats like the Niman Ranch burgers, fully loaded salads, sandwiches, and even meatloaf. Matt’s Big Breakfast also has a lineup of classic cocktails, wine, beer, coffees, and teas, as well as fresh-squeezed lemonade and orange juice.

O.H.S.O.
Photo courtesy of O.H.S.O.

O.H.S.O. Brewery
Near Gate B9
Like the originals, the airport outpost of O.H.S.O. is a good place to hangout if you’ve got some time to kill. Here you can expect to see comfort food on the menu such as pork wings, burgers, and apple pie with ice cream. And of course, more beer on tap than you can image.

Cowboy Ciao
Photo courtesy of AWE Collective

Cowboy Ciao
Near Gate B22
Say hello to a fusion of globally influenced eats like slow-cooked green chile pork, osso bucco-style, pappardelle pasta. Or treat your tastebuds to the exotic pan-fried mushrooms, a dish which includes nine unique mushroom varieties in ancho cream over double-cooked polenta that’s finished with grilled portabellini, avocado, roma tomato, and cotija cheese. For the uninitiated, the Stetson Chopped Salad is an unmissable introduction to what this spot had to offer.

Zinc Bistro
Photo courtesy of Zinc Bistro

Zinc Brasserie
Near Gate C11
This upscale French-inspired restaurant has redefined airport food. The Parisian-esque locale features fancy dishes such as red wine braised pork belly, European and domestic cheeses, dungeness crab crêpes, and traditional onion soup. And those are just some of the starters. Main courses include entrees like flat iron steak frites and the Zinc omelette with French ham, gruyère, crème fraîche, and straw potatoes. There’s even a dessert selection that includes lemon ricotta beignets and chocolate brioche bread pudding. A full bar is also available, naturally.

Cartel Coffee Lab
Photo courtesy of Cartel Coffee Lab

Cartel Coffee Lab
Near Gate C13
You bet this hip local coffee shop has a location in the airport. Skip the corporate chains and treat your tastebuds to a macchiato or get going with an espresso. In addition to robust offering of great javas, the baristas at Cartel also sling a nice selection of teas of both the hot and cold variety for those non-coffee drinkers out there.

Barrio Cafe
Photo courtesy of Experience Scottsdale

Barrio Café
Near Gate D1
Barrio Café is widely regarded as the absolute best Mexican restaurant in town. It only makes sense that the award-winning restaurant would have a commanding presence inside of Sky Harbor to acquaint travelers with a taste of the city’s flavor. Here you can order the classic Arizona Burrito and wash it down with an ice-cold Tecate. Or, opt for a house specialty like the colorful, and delicious, cochinita pibil.

La Grande Orange
Photo courtesy of La Grande Orange

La Grande Orange
Near Gate D1
Much like the Arcadia neighborhood original, this LGO location offers walk-up counter service and the same baked goods, sandwiches, pizza, and coffee selection that you’ve come to know and love. There are a couple beers on tap. You can spot artisan gelatos here. And, you’ll probably want to acquire some of those LGO chocolate chip sea salt cookies everyone is always raving about.

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Lauren Reichert is a Phoenix-based photographer and writer with a serious case of wanderlust. Follow her around Arizona and beyond on the ‘Gram @hungryinphoenix.