Phoenix airport-- what to eat?
Will be in Phoenix airport for two hours on a morning layover to pick up another flight. Any recos for breakfast or early lunch eats?
I love the sandwiches at Paradise Bakery & Cafe. I always get the cranberry turkey sandwich.
Best of all, all sandwiches include the world's best chocolate chip cookie!
Phoenix Airport, aka Sky Harbor, has three terminals. Alas, the food courts offer pretty standard stuff -- Chain airport food. If you really have a solid two hour layover, I'd be mighty tempted to grab a cab and head for Phoenix Ranch Market at 16th Street & Roosevelt. It isn't more than a couple of miles from the airport and if you keep the cab, you can hit their resto for goodies that will make the rest of your trip a joy!
Give us more info, please. What time of day, what day of the week (this makes a huge difference with our traffic) and which airline? Google "Phoenix Ranch Market" noting the 16th Street & Roosevelt location and see for yourself that this is do-able.
As Alice mentioned, there are three separate terminals at Sky Harbor, and though not THAT distant, transportation between them is iffy, at best, AND it's too hot to walk right now.
That said, one of the best burgers that I've had in Phoenix (save for the Men's Grill @ Phoenix CC) was actually at the little SW bar/counter in Terminal 2 (United, most Continental, Alaska [I think it still flies from there] and some comuter airlines). That may not be what you are looking for at that hour, but I still recall those burgers when I traveled from PHX to DEN on a regular basis. Since moving to Phoenix, I have not tried them, but they *were* surprisingly good.
You don't have enough time to venture out of the airport given your timeframe. As mentioned, there can be a hike between terminals, and venturing outside of security and the airport in general - then back in - can take a decent chunk of time even if you are familiar with the area. Not to mention the're a huge amount of major construction going on in the vicinity (terminal work and light rail nearby).
Inside the airport I can't think of anything memorable. PHX is one of the world's busiest airports but the nature of the the place is quick turnaround. People arrive, change planes, then depart in rapid motion (mostly on Southweast, US Air/America West, etc). It's not like London, Hong Kong, etc, where you might have to spend 6 or 8 hours waiting for your international flight. On the flip side, in PHX, it seems there's a flight to LA, Vegas, etc. every 20 minutes. That's one reason most of the eateries are chains with a "to go" counter.
What's kind of funny is that despite our disdain for chains, they can offer better fare than the airlines (who may or may not offer any food these days). Before a recent 5-hour flight, I grabbed a beef salad from Quiznos and all of the rows around me caught a whiff and kept commenting on how good it smelled. Even the airline staff asked about it.
I recently took two flights of about 5 hours each and bought fare from the Blue Burrito, being a Mexican food fiend and thought I could bust it out 3 hours later and it would be decent (versus a burger or pizza slice). It's not great. Both times I asked for no rice, but got it. I also asked that they add salsa on "the inside," but they still packed it as a side. Trying to inject salsa inside a burrito when you have no room isn't fun.
In any case, here's a list should some hounds know of a good idea:
El Bravo in the new section "D" of Terminal 4. Their restaurant on 7th St and Northern has offered great Mexican food for years. The outpost at the airport has the same great buritos. Try the machaca burrito.
Assuming that you are looking for something to keep from starving and not a transcendent culinary experience I second the vote for a sandwich from Paradise Bakery, great to take along for lunch. You can also get pseudo-sushi at Yoshis ie California Roll which certainly trumps Burger King :) No idea about breakfasty things, guess I never hang out in the airport in the mornings. Both of these are in Terminal 4 btw.
I used to like the simple breakfast burritos (egg, beans, cheese) from the Mexican place in the main part of Terminal 4, before you go through security. However, I'm not sure if it's still (or again) open in that location since all the construction and renovation. It was right beside Paradise Cafe.
Flo's has been open for a while, and is pretty good, especially for airport chow. A much abbreviated menu compared to the restaurants, as would be expected - mostly standard recongizable Chinese-American like Kung Pao Chicken. It is my recommendation to the original poster as best choice for the layover.
We flew Southwest to Las Vegas from Sky Harbor a few months ago and were amazed by the lovely terminal and the many food places. Made us feel like somebody's stepchildren. (We fly back and forth from Newark to Sky Harbor via Continental and there is only one food source in that terminal these days, selling hot dogs, ham & cheese or pastrami sandwiches, a dubious soup of some sort and maybe a piece of fruit. It's a very sad affair.)