The Best Fly-In Restaurants in the Southwest

by Tomas Peralta

3 min read ·

Airport food gets a bad rep. Nobody’s fond of the soggy sandwiches and overpriced bottled water that come to mind at the mention of an airport meal, but what choice does one have? When you’re rushing across a hectic airport between short layovers, that sandwich is the best you can do.

It’s a different story for private pilots. When you’re at the helm of your own airplane adventures, you fly on your own time. Without the worry of check-ins and layovers, you can take full advantage of an airport’s finer dining options. The southwest is brimming with amazing airport restaurants.

So upgrade your next destination dining experience with one of these amazing fly-in restaurants.

Matt’s Big Breakfast

Airport: Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport

Location: Phoenix, Arizona


Offering a diverse menu of delicious American classics, this Arizona gem specializes in gourmet-style diner breakfast. They are renowned across the state for their use of high quality ingredients, many of which are locally-sourced. From their mouth watering made-from-scratch waffles to their hearty breakfast platters, Matt’s Big Breakfast is a must for any pilot who’s airplane adventures bring them through Phoenix.


Airport: Hatch Municipal Airport

Location: Hatch, New Mexico


While it’s not exactly a fly-in restaurant, Sparky’s Burgers, BBQ, and Espresso is a mere five minute drive from the Hatch Municipal Airport. The best part? If you call upon landing, they’ll arrange transportation, so all you have to worry about is the world famous green chile burger you’re about to eat.

Jake’s Joint

Airport: Ardmore Municipal Airport

Location: Ardmore, Oklahoma


Sometimes, all you’re in the mood for after a long trip is a good home-cooked meal. Jake’s Joint will give you just that. With a menu cultivated by high-end chefs and brilliant home cooks, Jake’s offers the very best in comfort-style food. A charming atmosphere and wonderful service add the final flourish to this destination dining experience.

The Salt Lick BBQ

Airport: Austin-Bergstrom International Airport

Location: Austin, Texas


You can’t do Austin without doing BBQ, which is where this fly-in restaurant comes into play. A branch of the legendary Salt Lick BBQ in Driftwood TX, Austin’s airport version does not disappoint. The menu is chock full of juicy BBQ classics like brisket, pulled pork, and sausage.

Garduño’s Chile Packing Company and Cantina

Airport: Albuquerque International Sunport

Location: Albuquerque, New Mexico


If you find yourself passing through Albuquerque on your next airplane adventure, there’s no way you’ll be able to resist classic New Mexican cuisine. Garduño’s Chile Packing Company and Cantina may be a mouthful, but their selection of southwestern eats will no doubt make your mouth water. Whether you’re craving a fajita plate or a refreshing cocktail, you won’t want to miss it.


Airport: Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport

Location: Dallas, Texas


Holding a spot at the 2018 FAB Awards’ “Wine Bar Of The Year”, CRÚ Food & Wine Bar is an essential destination dining experience. The menu has an enticing assortment of brunch, lunch, and dinner options, with everything from caviar to charcuterie to filet mignon. CRÚ’s real call to fame, however, is its impressive assortment of over 100 wines, ensuring a drink for even the pickiest of palettes.

The Mesa Grill

Airport: Sedona Airport

Location: Sedona, Arizona


The Mesa Grill offers views as gorgeous as its food is delicious. Situated opposite Sedona’s famous Red Rocks, this fly-in restaurant is sure to take your breath away. They serve delicious award-winning southwestern American classics, with a seasonal menu that guarantees fresh, locally-sourced ingredients. The natural backdrop of Sedona’s Red Rocks is so beautiful that The Mesa Grill actually doubles as a beloved wedding destination.

Are you interested in becoming a pilot?

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