Looking for more cheap eats from the food directory in the premiere issue of DPJ magazine? Food editor Justin Lee dishes out an expansive list of the best in affordable dining around Downtown Phoenix.
La Condesa Gourmet Taco Shop Mexican/Tacos
With a deep lineup of some of the most crave-worthy tacos in the city, La Condesa is a casual taqueria with updated leanings. From the hefty dogfish shark tacos, to their notoriously tender cochinita phibil tacos, the small central city eatery has proven itself delicious to a diverse stream of patrons. Along with one of the best salsa bars in a wide radius — it actually demands that you browse it — La Condesa manages to straddle that fine line between authenticity adherence and casual-eater accessibility very successfully. Monday to Saturday 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., Sunday 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. 1919 N. 16th St. (602) 254.6330
Simple and unsuspecting, Carly’s is a neighborhood café and bar that offers you unpretentious eating in a comforting, locals-only setup. With live music on select nights, a casual display of sandwiches, salads, soups and other easy eats on the menu, as well as a straightforward offering of wines, brews and cocktails at the bar, it’s not difficult to understand why Carly’s is a smart option for the easy and inexpensive. Monday to Wednesday 11 a.m. to midnight, Thursday to Friday 11 a.m. to 2 a.m., Saturday 9 a.m. to 2 a.m., Sunday 9 a.m. to midnight. 128 E. Roosevelt St. (602) 262.2759
Phoenix Public Market/Urban Grocery & Wine Bar Market
This Downtown grocer is a respected source for the quick, healthy and responsible. Besides the bi-weekly farmers market held each Saturday morning and Wednesday evening in the adjacent parking lot, the indoor Urban Grocery & Wine Bar also carries an efficient selection of the reliably sourced and primarily organic. From local, seasonal produce, meats and dairy products, free-range eggs and baked goods, to a rotating menu of ready-made foods to go, the market has become a valued neighborhood asset to its surrounding community. Tuesday to Saturday 7 a.m. to 8 p.m., 14 E. Pierce St. (602) 254.1799
Tammie Coe Cakes and MJ Breads Bakery/Pastry Shop
Skilled baker turned local baking luminary Tammie Coe, along her partner, MJ Coe, serve some of the best bread and pastries in the city at the Downtown branch of their popular enterprise. The restrained retail shop, overflowing with racks of well-crafted, homemade loafs of fresh bread, is a worthy waylay for a midday snack; or, grab a cup of coffee, turning the experience into a simple meal on the go. Monday to Thursday 6:30 a.m. to 7 p.m., Friday 6:30 a.m. to 10 p.m., Saturday 8 a.m. to 10 p.m., Sunday 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. 610 E. Roosevelt St. (602) 253.0829
Quirky, modern and bright, Verde brings smart, authentic Mexican eating to Downtown. Fast-casual in orientation, Verde serves up straightforward plates of slow-stewed meats — chicken, pork, beef — with their now-famous housemade tortillas for bite building and plate sopping. Add a large bowl of fresh-made chips, guacamole and a couple cervezas? Inexpensive, quick and delicious. Sunday to Thursday 10:30 a.m.-9 p.m., Friday 10:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m., Saturday 8 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. 825 N. 1st St.
Baiz Market Al-Hana Restaurant Middle Eastern
A Middle Eastern must-try. Off the beaten track but traveled to from locations citywide, Baiz is an international specialty foods market that maintains its no-nonsense value with pride. The tiny Al-Hana restaurant — or sectioned sitting area amidst the market — has become a popular lunchtime anchor for those looking for the best in Middle-Eastern comfort foods. From chicken shawarma and lamb kabobs, to freshly baked pita and hummus so addicting you’ll surely need to stop the intake to save space for their voluminous selection of sought-after Middle Eastern pastries, Baiz Market is a hidden gem by the most honest of definitions. 523 N. 20th St. (602) 252.8996
Pro’s Ranch Market/Tradiciones Mexican/Grocery
More indoor Mexican bazaar than simple supermarket, this popular chain offers quality, variety and authenticity on the cheap. From the roving mariachi to the bright desert colors, Mexican is not only on the menu, it’s also on the agenda. For fast bites, the store’s one-stop “food court” is the ultimate draw. Selling fresh, ready-made goods like homemade tortillas, ceviche, tortas and pastries, as well as specialty daily-mixed refreshments from a dedicated beverage bar, it’s manufactured frenzy worth getting lost in. Have a little extra time? The market’s adjacent, sit-down restaurant, Tradiciones, is equally well worth the visit for tried-and-true, inexpensive Mexican eats that satisfy. 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. 1602 E. Roosevelt St. (602) 254.6676
Fry Bread House Southwestern/Native American
A secret still largely unearthed, one of Phoenix’s best kept gems is this humble institution to that special fried bread we all crave so dearly but rarely seem to eat that often. From the savory kind, to the oh-so sweet, Fry Bread House continues to serve its eponymous specialty with no remorse to over indulgence. In addition to the famous fry bread tacos and standard fry bread-plus-toppings offerings, the unfussy eatery also serves a list of house stews, traditional burritos (rolled in flour tortillas) and tamales. Monday to Saturday 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. 4140 N. 7th Ave. (602) 351.2345
Gallo Blanco Café Mexican/Contemporary
Notoriously focused La Grande Orange alum Doug Robson brings his independent culinary stamp to the Midtown dining landscape — with fantastic results. Located inside the trendy Clarendon Hotel, Gallo Blanco serves an efficient and refreshingly inexpensive menu of regional Mexican fare with a Mexico City bent. Nearly all ingredients are either made in house or sourced from reputable local purveyors. The modern, funky eatery offers an intelligent selection of starters, salads, a mélange of tortas and tacos (options include pork, beef, fish and vegetarian), as well as other selected house specialties. Equally as impressive, Gallo Blanco also presents a small all-day breakfast menu. 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday to Thursday, 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday to Saturday. 401 W. Clarendon Ave. (602) 274.4774
Lenny’s Burger Shop American/Burgers
A Phoenix area institution since the 1980s, Lenny’s lively Midtown branch of the popular local burger chain proves you don’t need to sacrifice quality entirely when craving a greasy burger and fries. This popular weekday lunchtime pit stop, Lenny’s posts a simple menu of the basics, done well: burgers, hot dogs, fries and milkshakes. Monday to Friday 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. 2825 N. Central Ave. (602) 263.8700
This homegrown institution since the 1960s — a temple to what true Sonoran-style Mexican food can taste like if done exceptionally well — Carolina’s original outpost just south of Downtown continues to draw locals and tourists alike in steady numbers. The infamous, practically eulogized tortillas, made daily in house, warrant a visit alone, if for nothing else: to stock up. The red sauce makes others bow, and their Oaxaca burrito (potatoes, chorizo, oh my) is indeed a crave-inducing offense. Monday to Friday 7 a.m. to 7:30 p.m., Saturday 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. 1202 E. Mohave St. (602) 252.1503
Lo-Lo’s Chicken & Waffles Southern/Soul
Chicken and waffles, done exceptionally. Lo-Lo’s continues to prove it’s of the best examples of the popular food combination anywhere, and it’s right in our own back yard. The original eatery, just due south of Downtown, continues to serve the masses with humble airs, leaving patrons full and already plotting their next return. Though fried chicken is king, Lo-Lo’s also serves equally comforting Southern standouts like mac and cheese, grits, fried okra, and yes, red velvet cake. Monday to Thursday 9 a.m. to 7 p.m., Friday to Saturday 9 to 9, Sunday 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. 10 W. Yuma St. (602) 340.1304
That’s a Wrap Eclectic/Wraps
Tiny and efficient, That’s a Wrap serves an extensive menu of interesting wraps, as well as a smattering of salads and rice bowls. Great for a fast bite that won’t empty the wallet, the cheerful, fast-casual café emphasizes the healthy, but doesn’t stress it — satisfaction and flavor are essentials here. Throw in a glass of berry lemonade with your order, made fresh in house, and you can see why this place continues to be a popular neighborhood lunchtime layover. Monday to Thursday 10:30 a.m. to 9 p.m., Friday to Saturday 10:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. 800 E. Camelback Rd. (602) 252.5051
This week, I had plenty of trouble deciding what to write about, but fortunately for yours truly, my sweet tooth won out. The sugar-acquiring prowess my palate holds is nearly unmatched. Thus, I was led abruptly to a sweet spot right in my back yard (well, sort of): Rainbow Donuts.
My adventure was initially a quest to branch out from my normal beverage consumption and partake in boba – which would have been a big step for your favorite Southern gent. Unfortunately, Rainbow was out of boba, but the dreamy concoctions and fresh sweets they are famous for were still well within reach.
After weeping softly in their orange booth over boba, my spirits were lifted at the realization that, perched behind the rounded glass next to some ramen and Ring Pops, sat a treasure trove of donut goodness. My heart leapt at the thought of the delicacies that I could select. With a raging thirst, I ordered the strawberry smoothie from the photograph on the wall.
On deck, impatiently waiting, was my hunger. My taste buds have never known of the words “restraint” or “overindulgence.” Therefore, no donut counter can be passed without at least a regular glazed being ordered. My willpower was useless in this place anyway, and I gladly salivated over the prospect of a trademark glazed donut in my possession.
With a smile, I was handed my freshly made treats. I was barely seated before I was mowing down each of my prizes. The donut was extremely dense, cushion-soft and sweet. It was a dinner all its own.
As for the sweet smoothie, it stood out as one of the best I have had the pleasure of sippin’. Needless to say, with a bevy of sweet strawberry and milky flavors, I was in smoothie heaven.
I’m fairly confident that a choir sang during this indulgent snack. So, Rainbow Donuts is worthy of your attention. It just might leave your taste buds in a harmonious mood.
Rainbow Donuts is located at 1347 E. McDowell Rd. in Coronado — 602.256.7404
If you don’t want to fight for a spot at First Friday but still feel like seeing amazing art and hear local music, well I’ve got one place for you. SuTRA Midtown Yoga is hosting a night full of beautiful photography by Shawn Anderson and acoustic sets by local artists.
If you haven’t heard of Shawn Anderson’s music blog, Electric Mustache, you need to open another tab and start discovering what you’ve been missing. His blog will open your eyes to mind-blowing music, open and trustworthy CD reviews and local and national band updates.
After Anderson started Electric Mustache, he started his website, Electric Shots, displaying his photography that makes you feel as if you were there the night of the show. He captures musicians at their purest on stage.
His photography will be displayed on the gallery walls on Friday and will stay up all month long.
On Friday, watch as his photos come to life, as Bears of Manitou and Matt Harris, who have been subjects of Anderson’s lens, also take the stage.
Bears of Manitou have quickly sprouted up in the Phoenix music scene. They opened up for Rocky Votolato in March and everyone was in awe that the duo were playing their first show and nailing it.
Gabe Williams, Laney Coletti and Brian Champ make up Bears of Manitou. They are a folk-indie group that has Williams on guitar, piano or ukulele; Coletti changing up her instruments every other song, from bongos to cello to maracas; and Champ on drums as the newest addition to the group.
Harris and Sorry Charlie will grace the stage with their soft, rich sound, adding to the soundtrack of the night.
Join everyone on First Friday at SuTRA Midtown Yoga, where they will supply the essentials: art, music and completely free (and delicious!) sangria.
SuTRA Midtown Yoga is located at 2317 N. 7th St. in Coronado — 602.253.9525
DPJ is proud to bring you the best Yelp reviews of your favorite Downtown restaurants, boutiques, venues and everything in between. Every week, visit DPJ for a finely crafted, tell-all account of a Downtown spot straight from the experts: the people!
I am at the point where I’m making up reasons to go to The Main Ingredient — it’s gotten that bad. I love it. Jumbo Coney Island hot dogs, baked crusty green chili mac and cheese and more microbrews than I can even count, all set to old school East Coast hip hop? Be still my heart!
I can’t remember the last time I’ve been to a place with that killer of a vibe. Actually, I’m lying, I can totally remember. It was Hanny’s in January of ’09. Restaurants never cease to amaze me at how little attention they pay (it seems) to the music/background noise they pump out into their business as if it’s a minor detail. I, for one, completely disagree as the music and vibe are the difference for me between a quick 45-minute meal or a three-hour one. And you can guess the difference between the tabs/tips on the latter one.
Anyhoo, the food is always consistently fresh and tasty. Nothing overtly fancy — mostly sanwiches and salads with a few just-like-mom-made favorites like mac and cheese and grilled cheese thrown on for good measure. Everything is pretty much in the $6-$9 range as well, which is awesome. Service matches the vibe, very unassuming and laid back, but never lazy or unattentive. I remember being sad when Lisa G closed her doors, but I couldn’t be happier with the restaurant that took her place!
The Main Ingredient Ale House & Café is located at 2337 N. 7th St. in Coronado — 602.THE.MAIN
The DPJ Yelper of the Week offers honest insight on a Downtown business to help you explore your core. DPJ hopes that by partnering with Yelp to spread the good word about well-loved Downtown spots, you’ll spread your patronage and support local business.
Yelp is a social networking and local search engine that provides the reviews of places and things that matter to you. Simply log in, pick a place and queue up your inner critic. You can write a beaming review of your favorite gelato spot, or a scathing portrayal of that rental car facility you had to use after that curb came out of nowhere. Yelp’s reviews are at once honest, uncensored, wildly hilarious and true. Heck, the site must be doing something right — it had 26 million viewers just last month!
Summer has a nostalgic effect on me. I tend to seek out things I used to do as a kid in the lazy summer days. Baseball games, hot dogs, swimming in the creek — things like that are all that I can seem to think about this time of year. Unfortunately, the desert heat has a way of zapping the energy out of you, so I got creative. My quest brought me up 7th Street to MacAlpine’s Soda Fountain for a good, old fashioned soda fountain experience.
Upon entering, I was instantly transported beyond my own youth to stories that my parents told me of growing up. Patsy Cline softly sings, “How crazy I am for feeling lonely?” and a veritable ’50s landmark bar stretches out before my eyes. I suddenly feel like I should have a slingshot in my back pocket and roll my jeans up to show off my PF Flyers. To my luck, these are apparently not requirements for MacAlpine’s since the waitress slid the menu under my wide-eyed gaze.
Nostalgia kicked in. I was hankerin’ for a fresh, creamy chocolate shake. I honestly started to salivate at the simple thought of a hot dog and a shake. This lovely place even boasts about their shakes being made with scoops of old fashioned Thrifty Ice Cream and blended with an authentic 1940s Hamilton-Beach blender. Sounds like a time portal of a drink to me.
In honor of Marty McFly, I nearly asked if the waitress would slide it down the counter to me, but I chickened out. Even though it was placed in front of me, it was a close as you can get to chocolate perfection. Every sip was creamy and history-evoking. I could picture summers on the tire swing and the little soda shop in my hometown with the locals laughing and the equally well-prepared shakes. Topped carefully with chocolate sprinkles and a maraschino cherry, this shake was off the hook. What is even better is that the glass that they fill with your shake can’t hold all of it, so you are blessed with a frosty glass of amazingness and a cousin steel cup of chocolate shake bliss. It is the ultimate twofer.
If you haven’t ventured to MacAlpine’s, then this is the summer for it. It’s guaranteed to not only be a trip for some good grub and amazing shakes, but it will also be a sweet journey into the past. Driving 88 mph is not required or recommended either.
MacAlpine’s Soda Fountain is located at 2303 N. 7th St. in Coronado — 602.262.5545