7 Favorite Museum Cafés in Greater Phoenix | Phoenix New Times


7 Favorite Museum Cafés in Greater Phoenix

From Palette at PAM to Café Allegro at the MIM.
Fare from the Courtyard Café at Heard Museum.
Fare from the Courtyard Café at Heard Museum. Jackie Mercandetti
Share this:
Attention Valley visitors and those who need to get out more: You might want to take the time to visit one of Phoenix’s museums. Many of these institutions, feature world-class exhibitions that are worth the trip. We're also telling you these cultural centers have great food options, too, which makes a day spent at the museum an even easier decision.

Take a look below to see which museums offer a great bite to eat.

Courtyard Café

Heard Museum
2301 North Central Avenue

The Heard Museum’s restaurant serves Southwestern-inspired fare, often including dishes that complement the museum’s current exhibitions. Favorite house-made items include the Tepary Bean Hummus and some pretty popular posole; diners can also choose from salads and sandwiches. The best part is, Courtyard Café is open to the public, meaning it does not require museum admission. Weather permitting, diners are free to enjoy the courtyard patio with a glass of Twisted Cedar wine — a brand owned and operated by the Paiute tribe of Utah.

click to enlarge
The menu at Café Allegro is as globally minded as the rest of the MIM.
Lauren Cusimano

Café Allegro

Musical Instrument Museum
4725 East Mayo Boulevard

Like the MIM itself, the permanent and temporary exhibitions of which showcase music from around the world, Café Allegro prides itself on serving globally minded cuisine. Open from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. daily, the café serves everything from Hungarian sausage to a roasted chicken salad. There are plenty of choices for vegetarians, vegans, or others with dietary restrictions. As a bonus, there is the option to dine while overlooking the museum’s entryway and sculpture garden.

Take a turkey break at the PAM.
Jackie Mercandetti


Phoenix Art Museum
1625 North Central Avenue

Operated by Santa Barbara Catering, Palette offers a seasonal menu using local protein and produce, as well as boutique Arizona wines and beers. It's open during most of the Phoenix Art Museum’s operating hours, and offers a weekly happy hour from 3 to 6 p.m. on Wednesdays. It's also open every First Friday until 10 p.m., and hosts weekend brunch. The current menu features one of the restaurant’s most beloved items, the grilled cheese sandwich — which was once voted Best of Phoenix in its category.

SpoonZ Express

Children's Museum of Phoenix
215 North Seventh Street

If you’ve ever taken little ones to the Children's Museum of Phoenix, you know eventually everyone will work up an appetite. Good thing SpoonZ Express now lives on the second floor of the building. It offers light fare including salads and smoothies, and also serves pizzas, paninis, and sandwiches. SpoonZ Express is open from 10:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. daily, and also during Free First Friday Nights and members-only extended play hours — which occur on the third Friday of the month.


Desert Botanical Garden
1201 North Galvin Parkway
Located within the Desert Botanical Garden, Gertrude’s offers a changing seasonal menu rife with Southwestern flavors. The wild boar in green chile and the red chile risotto are favorites with out-of-towners, while other menu items include seared scallops, Korean fried chicken thighs, and the Gertie Burger. Try signature cocktails like the Figgy Manhattan or the Monsoon, or go for Arizona wines or craft beers. Gertrude's offers brunch, lunch, and dinner, and — during the non-summer months — the patio area on the Ullman Terrace.

Turn 4 Café

Penske Racing Museum
7125 East Chauncey Lane

This lesser-known museum boasts a permanent collection of cars, trophies, and memorabilia chronicling the famed Penske Racing dynasty (one that has 17 Indianapolis 500 wins under its belt) and more. And if you go between 8 a.m. and 3 p.m., on a weekday, you can also visit the Turn 4 Café. Grab a bite in the cae or on the mezzanine overlooking the museum’s test track and off-road course. Turn 4 Café offers standard breakfast and lunch fare, including burritos, skillets, and breakfast sandwiches.

click to enlarge
Enjoy your lunch break at the zoo inside Savanna Grill.
Courtesy of Phoenix Zoo

Savanna Grill

Phoenix Zoo
455 North Galvin Parkway

This safari-themed restaurant is a much-needed respite while exploring the Phoenix Zoo. That's because while there are several snack options throughout the zoo, the Savanna Grill is the only indoor restaurant. The fare includes standard lunch options for kids and adults alike — burgers, pizza, salads, chicken tenders, and sandwiches. Savanna Grill — found just outside the savanna exhibit, appropriately enough — is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m daily.
KEEP NEW TIMES FREE... Since we started New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we'd like to keep it that way. Your membership allows us to continue offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food, and culture with no paywalls. You can support us by joining as a member for as little as $1.