Macayo's, OHSO, Panera, Starbucks coming to Mesa Gateway Airport – The Arizona Republic

The restaurant scene at Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport is about to get a major makeover thanks to a new food and beverage contract that starts Oct. 1. 
The Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport Authority’s board of directors approved a 10-year contract with Kind Hospitality to bring five new restaurants to the rapidly growing airport in east Mesa.
The lineup includes the popular Phoenix Mexican restaurant Macayo’s, local favorite O.H.S.O. Brewery, Starbucks, Infusion Coffee & Tea and Panera Bread.
The new contract comes at a time when Mesa Gateway is in desperate need of more food and beverage options for travelers. 
The airport has grown significantly recently, clocking 14 consecutive months of growth and 1.7 million travelers in the 2018 fiscal year.
But growth also means growing pains, with the airport needing to update baggage handling systems, add parking and, most recently, reexamine its food, beverage and retail options. 
The airport has just two restaurants: Paradise Bakery and Copper Plate Restaurant and Bar. In the busy spring months, the airport scrambled to add kiosks, food stands and a stand-alone bar to serve an influx of travelers.
Despite those efforts, on a typical day during the morning rush the line to grab a coffee was dozens deep.
In December 2018, the board of directors approved plans for $2 million in terminal improvements to create a better flow between gates. It also voted to create more restaurant and retail space while soliciting bids for concepts to go in those locations.
During its June meeting, the airport proposed accepting a bid to add three new retail outlets, which the board approved. 
According to the contract, the deadline to complete construction is Jan. 31, 2020, but the airport is urging Kind Hospitality to complete construction as quickly as possible. 
Nava Singham, CEO of Mesa-based Kind Hospitality, said his company plans to build the restaurants over the next year in phases. He anticipates hiring 70-75 new employees at the restaurants.
The new restaurants include: 
Kind Hospitality acquired the Macayo brand and six of its restaurants in February from the Johnson family, who founded and ran the iconic restaurant serving Mexican-American cuisine for more than 70 years.
This will be the first airport location. It will split the space currently occupied by Copper Plate with Infusion Coffee & Tea. It will have dining space and a bar area.
O.H.S.O. Brewery will go in a new space created by moving Gate 8 to the other side of terminal that houses Gates 9 and 10. It will have a garage door that opens to an outdoor courtyard, giving people a chance to enjoy Phoenix’s climate. 
The outdoor space was an important feature that the airport wanted to see developed.
“People want to be outside. That’s why they’re here. Because the weather back home isn’t as great as here, they want to soak up as much as they can,” said Brian O’Neill, Phoenix-Mesa Gateway executive director.
Panera will go into the Paradise Bakery location behind security, near the entrance to the terminal.
The chain, which just started opening airport locations including one in Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport’s Terminal 3, will allow customers to order through its mobile app, at a kiosk or in person. 
Airport staff readily admit they were a bit surprised they were able to lure in a Starbucks, because it typically only goes into airports with a larger passenger base. But Singham says he is planning for the future growth of the airport. 
For this location, Kind Hospitality will have a joint venture agreement with HMS Host to operate the Starbucks.
It will be near the baggage claim outside security, making it accessible to the public as well as passengers. The airport is exploring options to make the location a convenient option to those who work in the area, not just those using the airport. 
In the other half of the current Copper Plate space, Kind Hospitality proposes putting local coffee roaster Infusion Coffee & Tea. Located near Gates 5 and 6, it will have a garage door that can open to take advantage of the outdoor space. 
With Infusion, Starbucks and Panera, passengers will have three options to grab a cup of joe before they head out on their flight. 
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