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10 Best Restaurants Near ASU Downtown Phoenix: Chow Bella's Back to School Guide

A typical breakfast at Matt's in downtown Phoenix
A typical breakfast at Matt's in downtown Phoenix
Phoenix New Times

Whether you're ready or not, school's about to be back in session, kids. Sure, it seems like just a few weeks ago you were wrapping up finals and cracking a beer (or, like, 50) in celebration. And now it's time to start over again. If you're new to Arizona State University's downtown Phoenix campus or just new to the whole college thing, you'll soon find out that this urban playground is neither a food desert nor an easily navigable campus of Subways and Papa John's.

Luckily, you have us to help light the way. Here's a guide to some of the best student-friendly spots around ASU's downtown Phoenix campus.

See also: - 10 Best Restaurants Near ASU Downtown Phoenix: The Complete Slideshow - 10 Best Restaurants Near ASU Tempe: Chow Bella's Back to School Guide

Short Leash hot dog
Short Leash hot dog
Lauren Saria

Sit . . . Stay 110 E. Roosevelt St. www.shortleashsitstay.com $10 to $15

This summer, the popular food truck Short Leash Hot Dogs made the leap from mobile to mortar, and lucky for downtown-ers, they chose to set up shop in the heart of Roosevelt Row. This gourmet hot dog spot is walking distance from campus (provided, of course, that it's not too hot) and serves locally sourced sausages on its signature naan "buns." Inside you'll also find pies from Mamma Toledo, as well as beer, wine, and a selection of other hot dog-centric entrees.

The Maple Bacon doughnut
The Maple Bacon doughnut
Katie Johnson

Rainbow Donuts 1347 E. McDowell Road 602-256-7404 $5 and under

First, downtown Phoenix campus pro tip: Have a car or make friends with someone who has a car. Because as much as they're going to tell you the light rail will solve all your problems, it just isn't true. Without wheels, you'll miss out on lots of awesome local offerings, including Rainbow Donuts, which is about a five-minute drive away from campus. If you make it over here before class you might be able to pick up one of their Maple Bacon doughnuts that we promise is just about the best way to start a long day of school.

 

Eats and drinks at Blue Hound
Eats and drinks at Blue Hound
Heather Hoch

Blue Hound Kitchen and Cocktails 2 E. Jefferson St. www.bluehoundkitchen.com $20 and up

At the Hotel Palomar's restaurant, Chef Stephen Jones creates a contemporary American and local-ingredient-driven menu that has great options such as the Kentucky Fried Quail, Cod Fish Po' Boy, Pork Belly Sliders and more, available at both lunch and dinner. Happy hour is available from 3 to 6 p.m. during the week, at which time students can find more budget-friendly prices on small plates and drinks. It's an upscale -- but not pretentious -- vibe that hopefully fits the bill when you to step up from another night with Top Ramen.

The Welcome Diner
The Welcome Diner
Lauren Saria

Welcome Diner 924 E. Roosevelt St. www.marthaandmary.net/welcomediner $15 and under

Just over a mile from campus in a mostly residential part of downtown, you'll find the tiny (and we mean really tiny) Welcome Diner. The 200-square-foot eatery has been serving Southern eats since last year and already has become popular for its signature dishes such as the giant peanut butter and bacon burger, fried chicken sandwiches, and New Orleans-style red beans and rice. If you're lucky, you might get a seat inside at the counter, but more likely than not you'll be sitting outside. But that's just part of the charm.

Sushi at Pallets
Sushi at Pallets
Heather Hoch

Pallets Food and Bar 606 N. 4th Ave. www.palletsfoodandbar.com $10 to $15

If you're a student at ASU's downtown campus, chances are you have, or soon are going to have, friends living at Roosevelt Point, the newly built student-friendly apartments a couple of blocks from campus. Just across the street from there you'll find Pallets, the new and much-needed Chinese, Japanese, and Vietnamese spot on Roosevelt Row. Unlike other downtown sushi places, this is a wallet-friendly restaurant with a long menu and a great selection of beers. Enjoy your food and drink on the spacious patio when the weather allows.

 

Mrs. White's famous fried chicken
Mrs. White's famous fried chicken
Phoenix New Times

Mrs. White's Golden Rule Cafe 808 E. Jefferson St. www.mrswhitesgoldenrulecafe.com $15 and under

You'll get a good meal and a taste of Phoenix history at Mrs. White's Golden Rule Cafe, located about a five minute drive from campus. This soul food eatery has been open since 1964 and serves classics like Southern fried chicken, pork chops, and catfish in a seriously no-frills fashion. Mrs. White still makes the cobblers, cakes, and pies herself, so don't forget to ask for the special of the day.

Breakfast at Matt's
Breakfast at Matt's
Lauren Saria

Matt's Big Breakfast 825 N. 1st St. www.mattsbigbreakfast.com $10 and under

If you choose to park in some of the metered parking around campus, there's a good chance you'll be walking up McKinley Street toward campus. That means you'll be passing one of the city's best-known breakfast joints, Matt's Big Breakfast. Since the restaurant moved to bigger digs just up the street from its original location, the waits haven't been quite as long, but they never stopped hungry students from making this a popular weekend morning spot. Matt's serves breakfasts of scrambled eggs, fluffy pancakes, and thick-cut bacon all day long as well as lunch sandwiches starting at 11 a.m.

Filipino street food from Hey Joe!
Filipino street food from Hey Joe!
Jackie Mercandetti

Food Truck Friday at the Phoenix Public Market Fridays 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. 721 N. Central Ave. $10 and under

If you're unlucky enough to have Friday classes but lucky enough that those classes don't run through lunch, head across the parking lot behind the Cronkite school for food truck Fridays. Chances are you'll be hobnobbing with classmates, teachers, teaching assistants, and business folks at this weekly mobile food court. Typical trucks include the cajun-inspired Jamburritos, Mexican fare from Luncha Libre, Filipino eats from Hey Joe! and pies from Mamma Toledo. Everyone eats at picnic-style tables, and there tends to be long lines, so leave plenty of time for the outing.

 

The Oaxaca Special
The Oaxaca Special
JK Grence

Carolina's Mexican Food 1202 E. Mohave St. www.carolinasmex.com $10 and under

We'll admit that the first time a friend took us to Carolina's, we had our doubts. The exterior of this legendary Mexican joint, located about 10 minutes from campus, does nothing to indicate you're about to have quite possibly the best tortilla of your life. Carolina's is a reliably good, fast, and cheap meal that definitely will not leave you hungry. Choose from options such as green corn tamales, machaca, and their Oaxaca burrito stuffed with chorizo, beans, potatoes, and cheese.

The Rosa pizza at Pizzeria Bianco
The Rosa pizza at Pizzeria Bianco
Nikki Buchanan

Pizzeria Bianco 623 E. Adams St. www.pizzeriabianco.com $20 and under

Pizzeria Bianco has made a name for itself as one of the best places to get pizza in the entire country, and lucky for downtown Phoenix campus students, it's located less than a mile (about a 15 minute walk) from school. These handcrafted pizzas will cost you more than Domino's but they are big enough to share. Try the classic Margherita made with fresh mozzarella and basil or the Wiseguy with wood-roasted onion, house-smoked mozzarella, and fennel sausage. Bring some homework; you'll likely have to wait.

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Related Locations

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Short Leash Sit...Stay

110 E. Roosevelt St.
Phoenix, AZ 85004

602-795-2193

www.shortleashhotdogs.com

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Rainbow Donuts

1347 E Mcdowell Road
Phoenix, AZ 85006-2602

602-256-7404

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Welcome Diner
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Blue Hound Kitchen & Cocktails

2 E. Jefferson St.
Phoenix, AZ 85004

602-258-0231

www.bluehoundkitchen.com

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Mrs. White's Golden Rule Cafe

808 E. Jefferson St.
Phoenix, AZ 85034

602-262-9256

www.mrswhitesgoldenrulecafe.com

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Matt's Big Breakfast
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Carolina's Mexican Food

1202 E. Mohave St.
Phoenix, AZ 85034

602-252-1503

www.carolinasmex.com

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Pizzeria Bianco

623 E. Adams St.
Phoenix, AZ 85004

602-258-8300

www.pizzeriabianco.com

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Downtown Phoenix Public Market

721 N. Central Ave.
Phoenix, AZ 85004

602-254-1799

www.foodconnect.orgphxmarket

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Palatte

606 N. 4th Ave.
Phoenix, AZ 85003-1527

602-462-9400

www.downtownbrunch.comhome.html


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