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Phoenix Sky Harbor, Photo: Flickr, flavouz

HMSHost Transforms Dining at Sky Harbor’s Terminal 4

HMSHost, a world leader in travel-venue food, beverage and retail experiences, is currently in the process of updating and renovating Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport’s Terminal 4 — bringing more than 20 new restaurants to the terminal.

The transformation will include the addition of several popular local restaurants, including NYPD Pizza, Press Coffee, Modern Burger, Blanco Tacos + Tequila and four La Grande Orange brand restaurants.

“This is a busy and exciting time of year for vacations and summer travel, and we are very happy to be able to begin providing a new experience at Sky Harbor Airport that will truly showcase an authentic taste of Phoenix,” says Stephen Douglas, vice president of business development for HMSHost. “Terminal 4 is the busiest spot in one of America’s busiest airports, and we’re bringing out the best-of-the-best to showcase the great dining in the city of Phoenix.”

HMSHost was awarded its current 10-year food and beverage agreement after a 2011 competitive bidding process. The company is thrilled to continue its relationship with Sky Harbor and the City of Phoenix.

“HMSHost has had a presence at Sky Harbor International Airport for more than 40 years,” Douglas says. “We have watched with admiration the growth of the city of Phoenix, and we’ve shared in the expansion and development of Sky Harbor. Continuing our commitment to serve the city and Phoenix travelers was an easy decision, and we are thrilled to have been awarded the opportunity to continue a tradition of excellence at what has been recognized as the world’s friendliest airport.”

HMSHost carefully selected the chosen restaurants in order to best reflect the local flavor of Phoenix.

“We want to show everyone who travels through Terminal 4 the very best of Phoenix, so it’s our privilege to partner with some of the very best chefs and restaurateurs in the city,” Douglas says. “With local restaurants such as Barrio Café and Chelsea’s Kitchen, travelers will now experience a truly authentic taste of Phoenix.”

The Terminal 4 project offers a unique opportunity for the local businesses to offer travelers excellent dining options, increase brand visibility and act as representatives for the community.

“It’s our belief that just because you are traveling, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be able to enjoy a great meal,” says Sam Fox, CEO and founder of Fox Restaurant Concepts. “We hope that locals will recognize their favorites, and travelers will enjoy a new experience comparable to as if they had stepped into one of our restaurants across the Valley.”

La Grande Orange Hospitality Partner and CFO, Jennifer E. Cole, says La Grande Orange is excited to continue investing in the Phoenix area.

“The airport venture lets us bring local flavors to customers that know us and to customers new to the Valley,” Cole says. “With [HMSHost], we will be able to take the quality of food and service to higher levels.”

NYPD Pizza CEO, Richard Stark, adds that being in such a high-traffic location will have a positive effect on the businesses’ locations outside the airport.

“We are very excited about the Sky Harbor restaurant’s opening as it will introduce the NYPD brand to Valley residents and visitors alike,” Stark says. “We foresee this location serving as a powerful ‘brand builder’ and reaffirming our standing as the Valley’s best, authentic New York pizzeria.”

Press Coffee Roasters’ owner/operator, Steve Kraus, sees the Terminal 4 project as an opportunity to spread his passion for great coffee.

“We are thrilled to be at Sky Harbor Airport, especially in Terminal 4,” Kraus says. “Being at Sky Harbor Airport gives us an opportunity to not only expand and share our love for coffee, but also showcase to the world how great coffee can taste. We are extremely proud of our product and to be representing the best coffee the Valley has to offer.”

Included in the renovations are certain technological advances to improve service, including a mobile app, which can be used to have food delivered to your gate, as well as a tabletop ordering device currently being tested.

Douglas adds that, when the project is completed in early October, Sky Harbor will feature more local restaurants in one terminal than any other airport in the country.

“When travelers come to visit Phoenix or pass through our airport, I want them to know what Phoenix is all about, and soon they’ll be able to taste it,” says Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton. “They’ll know that our city and our airport support our local businesses, and that Phoenix is an epicenter of high-quality, modern and authentic dining.”

For more information about HMSHost and/or Sky Harbor’s Terminal 4 transformation, including when the local restaurants are expected to open, visit hmshost.com or skyharbor.com, respectively.

Fox Restaurant Concepts

Fox Restaurant Concepts' 100 Days of Summer Specials

Between trips to the pool, splash park and day trips to Flagstaff or Sedona, you have to eat at some point. And over the next few months of summer, Fox Restaurant Concepts is hosting its 100 Days of Summer celebration at its local restaurants.

Guests can expect dinner deals, daily happy hour specials, community dinners, brunches and events such as live performances and much more going on now through September 11.

Restaurants and specials include:

The Arrogant Butcher

Appetizer and drinks specials ranging from $2 to $8, Monday through Saturday from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m.

Arrogant Butcher
2 E. Jefferson St., #150, Phoenix
(602) 324-8502

Blanco Tacos + Tequila, Phoenix

Don’t miss out on its Summer Drinks & Summer Eats with sangria at $6 a glass or $16 for a pitcher; tall boy beers, $6 single or a $20 bucket of 4; and small plates of $3 tostadas and $3 tacos.
Happy hour specials include half-off starters, specialty margaritas, draft beers and well drinks. Catch these specials Monday through Friday from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m.

Blanco Tacos + Tequila
6166 N. Scottsdale Rd., #601, Scottsdale
Borgata of Scottsdale
(480) 289-5701

Culinary Dropout

Ready for the Double Blind Happy Hour? For just $6, receive a paper-bag beer and a shot. They also offer reverse happy hour specials Sunday through Thursday from 9:30 p.m. to close. And don’t miss out on the live music on Friday and Saturday nights throughout the summer.

Culinary Dropout
7135 E. Camelback Rd., #125, Scottsdale
(480) 970-1700

The Greene House

Love wine? Not by the glass, but by the bottle? Get 50 percent off all bottles of wine every Sunday (includes reserves).

Greene House
15024 N. Scottsdale Rd., #100, Scottsdale
Kierland Commons
(480) 889-9494

Modern Steak

For $35 per person, Modern Steak offers a three-course, prix fixe menu offered daily from 5 p.m. to close. Swing by on Thursdays and get 50 percent off wine (includes reserves).

Modern Steak
7014 E. Camelback Rd., Scottsdale
Scottsdale Fashion Square
(480) 423-7001

NoRTH

Every Monday from 4 p.m. to close, NoRTH offers a pizza party special which includes one salad, one pizza and two glasses of select wine for $25. Catch happy hour specials Monday through Friday from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m.

NoRTH
15024 N. Scottsdale Rd., Scottsdale
Kierland Commons
(480) 948-2055

North Fattoria Italiana, Arcadia

Take part in a community dinner, which consists of a four-course meal ― available on June 18, July 30 and August 20 ― with beverage pairings at $45 per person from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. And don’t forget to call ahead to make reservations. You can take advantage of happy hour specials Monday through Friday from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m., as well as $2 eats and drinks on Sundays.

North Fattoria Italiana
Biltmore/Arcadia
4925 N. 40th St., Phoenix
(602) 324-5600

Olive & Ivy

On Saturday and Sunday, have brunch with your girlfriends from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Favorites include the breakfast burrito, cinnamon French toast and the egg sandwich. Then come back for happy hour specials (Monday through Friday from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m.).

Olive & Ivy
7135 E. Camelback Rd., #195, Scottsdale
(480) 751-2200

Sauce

Try out Sauce’s Summer Sampler, which includes one salad, one pizza and two glasses of wine for $20.

Sauce
14418 N. Scottsdale Rd., Scottsdale
(480) 321-8800

Zinburger, Phoenix

Zinburger’s $20 Dinner Special for Two includes two burgers, sandwiches or salads and one order of hand-cut fries. Happy Hour specials include half-off wines, draft beer, all sides and the plain-and-simple burger offered for only $7 (Monday through Friday from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m.).

Zinburger
2502 E. Camelback Rd., Phoenix
Biltmore Fashion Park
(602) 424-9500

For more information about Fox Restaurant Concepts’ 100 Days of Summer celebration, visit foxrc.com/100days.

Blanco

Blanco Tacos + Tequila: Great Patio, Service And Margaritas

Trendy décor, hip staff and good food — the usual check list for a Fox Restaurant Concepts have all been met at Blanco Tacos + Tequila.

If you desire a great patio, good service and some creative margaritas, Blanco will satisfy your craving. Located at the Borgata in Scottsdale, Blanco offers a truly unique array of menu items to spice up your evening.

I visited Blanco during its happy hour as I have been told more than once that even in the middle of the week they have a wait — a good sign.

Esthetically, Blanco is a winner. The décor is fantastic, and the large bar and open kitchen give guests plenty of action to observe during their visit. The patio area is gorgeous and can accommodate many, something that is a bit of a challenge for many restaurants these days. I was a little disappointed in the happy hour drink choices. I am not a margarita or beer girl — gasp! However, I am a wine and every-other-liquor-than-tequila girl. Unfortunately, the half-off happy hour prices were only good for beer and margaritas. I paid full price for wine, but my husband thoroughly enjoyed half off the mixed berry and blood orange margarita. The margarita choices were festive and unique, and if tequila and I got along better, I would have ordered a few for myself.

In true happy hour style, we ordered a few appetizers to take advantage of the great deal:

Queso Fundido: $9.00

Chorizo, caramelized peppers, warm flour tortillas
We started with the Queso Fundido. It was fantastic! A perfect mix of sweet and spicy, the fundido was served on a hot skillet with warm flour tortillas on the side. A great appetizer to share, I would encourage everyone to order this as the start of their meal.

BlancoNachos con Queso Blanco: $9.00 (Add ground beef or chicken for $12.00)

Served with avocado, crema fresca, black beans and pico de gallo
Any chance of having additional food was shot after we were delivered our nachos. We chose to add beef to our dish, and the serving was huge. As with the fundido, the nachos are a great appetizer to share with a group.

Hot Fudge Sundae: $5.00

BlancoThis is not your average hot fudge sundae! Although the presentation looks a bit rough, the actual sundae was great. Served with candied almonds, bananas, hot fudge and whipped cream, the sundae was a perfect ending to our happy hour stop.

The service at Blanco was excellent. The server was knowledgeable and full of suggestions for our visit. The hostesses were friendly and did their best to accommodate the growing crowd. A unique touch was that our drinks were also run by the entire staff. It’s common to have someone bring out your food, but the team work extended to the bar to ensure that we didn’t have to wait for our server to be free. We got all of our drinks quickly — an important element to ensure happy guests during happy hour. It was evident that everyone pitches in at this location.

Full-priced wine aside, our visit to Blanco was great. The atmosphere is suitable for all ages. I look forward to sampling what they have to offer during its dinner menu. However, I now have a perfect spot to visit after work or as a place to start our evening out with friends.

Blanco’s Rating:

Food: 4 out of 5
Atmosphere: 5 out of 5
Service: 4 out of 5

If You Go: Blanco Tacos + Tequila

The Borgata
6166 N. Scottsdale Rd., #601
Scottsdale, AZ 85253
(480) 305-6692
foxrc.com/blanco