Local Restaurants Shine at Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport

By local contributor
Christina Barrueta

There’s a delicious trend underway at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport. To offer travelers a better sense of our city’s character, national chains have been replaced by local outposts with made-from-scratch menus. Travel site RewardExpert named Sky Harbor number two in the country for airport food, and in Terminal 4 you’ll find more than 20 local options. Here are six suggestions and some of my favorite dishes.

Start your day off right at Matt’s Big Breakfast, where the orange juice is freshly squeezed and the sausage and bacon are sourced from local butchers. Order the namesake Biggest Breakfast with eggs, bacon, sausage and a fluffy griddle cake, and wash it down with a refreshing Mimosa.

At Chelsea’s Kitchen, sip on a prickly pear margarita made with tequila infused with locally harvested cactus fruit before grazing on a perfect rendition of deviled eggs. I also love the light and fresh Del Mar salad, brimming with sweet crabmeat.

Savor Mexican cuisine at Barrio Café as you enjoy a Bomba margarita with pineapple juice and grenadine. Signature dishes include cochinita pibil (achiote-spiced pork slow-roasted in banana leaves) and chile en nogada (a picadillo-stuffed roasted poblano draped in a creamy almond sauce with pomegranate seeds).

Cowboy Ciao’s iconic Stetson Chopped Salad is an addictive combination of flavors and textures with rows of Israeli couscous, arugula, tomatoes, smoked salmon, Asiago cheese, pepitas, currants and super-sweet dried corn, all tossed tableside with a creamy pesto dressing.

At French bistro Zinc Brasserie, pour a glass of chilled rosé to accompany moules marinière, plump mussels crowned by a crispy thatch of matchstick potatoes, or braised pork belly complemented by fig mostarda, frisée and green apple.

You can order Sweet Republic’s award-winning ice cream in cones and shakes, but go for the Toffee Banofi, a Food Network “Best Thing I Ever Ate” star: two scoops of Madagascar vanilla ice cream in a waffle dish covered in sliced bananas, salted caramel sauce, whipped cream and homemade almond toffee.

Whether you’re traveling through, landing hungry or flying out, take advantage of a concourse selection of our city’s finest.