Photo courtesy of Sky Harbor
From mustache-shaped pretzels to locally-brewed craft beers, travelers at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport can experience a variety of new local dining options the next time they fly through Terminal 3.
The recently renamed John S. McCain III Terminal 3 opened its renovated South Concourse and post-security lobby area in January 2019. The facelift added a wide range of restaurant options from Arizona-based businesses, including San Tan Brewing Company, Mustache Pretzels and Giant Coffee.
Heather Lissner, Public Information Manager for Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport, said an airport presence is a great opportunity for local businesses to expand their reach.
“The airport is often the first or last stop people have when coming in and out of Arizona, and the restaurants and the shops have a great opportunity to catch those visitors,” she said. “It’s a great opportunity for people who aren’t familiar with their businesses to become familiar with them.”
One of these local businesses, Mustache Pretzels, began as a single food truck when it entered the market in 2014. The company has since expanded to a second food truck and a presence at the Phoenix Convention Center, but Mustache Pretzels founder Greg Golden said the company’s new airport storefront is its biggest opportunity yet.
“From a business development standpoint, it’s a really big flag in the ground to be able to say, yes–we are franchising, we are licensing, we are expanding,” he said.
In order to secure a lease within one of the new Terminal 3 storefronts, interested businesses had to participate in a competitive proposal process. Golden said it was “incredibly exciting” when he learned that Mustache Pretzels would have a licensed storefront in partnership with global restaurant operator HMSHost.
“We knew they would do a great job with it,” Golden said, “and we’ve been able to learn a lot from them as well.”
In addition to local dining options, the renovated terminal includes some national brands like Habit Burger, Shake Shack and Starbucks.
The airport also added new amenities to the terminal, such as a children’s play area, an animal relief station, and a Delta Sky Club for frequent fliers of Delta Airlines.
“People are very excited about the customer amenities,” Lissner said. “It’s really elevated the travel experience for those flying in and out of Terminal 3.”
The updated restaurants and amenities mark the completion of the second of three renovation phases for Terminal 3, with the final phase scheduled to be completed sometime in 2020. That last phase will include improvements to the North Concourse, including new restaurants and amenities.
The first phase of the $590 million project opened in December 2016; its additions included a consolidated security checkpoint, an outdoor sculpture garden and museum, and new ticketing and baggage claim areas.
“So far, we’ve heard great feedback,” Lissner said regarding the modernized terminal. “It really showcases all that Phoenix has to offer.”