5 Best Restaurants for Students Near ASU Tempe (Plus One for Their Parents)
The Tijuana Torpedo
We'll admit, when we were in college we weren't the most enlightened of diners. That basically means we wasted a lot of money eating mediocre food at restaurants simply because we didn't know any better. But you don't have to make the same mistake.
There are plenty of good — and almost more important, affordable — restaurants around Arizona State University's main campus. So whether you're just starting your college career, or just starting to figure out that there are restaurants besides Chiptole and Panda Express (or both), you're going to want to do yourself a favor and check out this list of student-friendly restaurants around Tempe.
Sure, students could head south of campus and get a cheap burger at In-N-Out, but why bother when you have The Chuckbox — a veritable Tempe institution — right in your backyard? This simple burger joint has been around for more than 40 years and still serves one of the best burgers in town. The difference is that unlike other burger spots, The Chuckbox still cooks their ground beef patties on a grill powered by mesquite charcoal. Each one is also covered in the restaurant's special blend of spices and then left untouched for you to customize at the condiment bar. Two important tips for first-timers: Don't forget to order the beer-battered onion rings, and don't forget cash. This place is old-school so no credit or debit cards are accepted.
Kale Caesar Salad
Original ChopShop Co.
For a lighter meal around campus you'll want Original ChopShop Co., a health-focused restaurant located just steps off campus. The specialties here include salads, sandwiches and protein bowls packed with ingredients such as kale, forbidden rice, and grilled chicken. In short, everything you should be eating to avoid that dreaded Freshman 15. The restaurant itself is a cozy spot for eating, drinking, and even just hanging out — particularly on the spacious patio with games, community picnic tables, and stringed lights. On the drinks side you can get everything from fresh-squeezed lemonade or pressed juices to coffee, espresso, and even sangria.
The Yard at Farmer Arts District
Courtesy of Fox Restaurant Concepts
Culinary Dropout at The Yard
Sam Fox's sprawling complex, The Yard at Farmer Arts District, is both stylish and fun. And with food from Culinary Dropout, it makes a solid choice for a pre-Mill Avenue dinner or a leisurely lunch. The don't-miss food options include the soft pretzel and provolone fondue — which gets discounted to just $6 during the restaurant's happy hour from 3 to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday. On Friday and Saturday nights the restaurant features live music, and on the weekends there's a breakfast and brunch menu with options including biscuits and gravy, house smoked salmon, and a bacon bloody mary.
Hummus Xpress does Lebanese food Subway-style.
Though it's a little farther away from campus, Hummus Xpress is worth a short drive. This one-of-a-kind restaurant does Mediterranean and Lebanese food in a fast-casual setting and in Subway-style. That means you get to build-your-own pita, bowl, salad, or plate starting with a protein of you choice: gyro, falafel, chicken, beef, or vegetarian. You can fill out the entree with vegetables, hummus, or salad and add toppings including olives, tomatoes, feta cheese, cucumbers, pepperoncinis, and more. Each of the options will set you back less than $10 and are sure to fill you up. For a lighter snack you can also get an order of housemade hummus with pita and a choice of meat for less than $5.
This brand new eatery from experienced restaurateur Eliot Wexler is exactly where we would have eaten if it had been open when we were in college. With a breakfast menu that includes everything from an excellent breakfast burrito to H&H bagels and Russ & Daughters lox — both imported from New York — Nocawich delivers high-quality food that's still within a student's budget. For lunch and dinner expect menus that feature sandwiches and heartier entrees, both of which can be washed down with either a craft beer or a glass of wine. Plus, with a prime location on College Avenue, Nocawich makes a perfect stop before football games or catching the lightrail.
Bruschetta with fig, goat cheese and prosciutto.
Take your parents to...House of Tricks
Though it's just steps off of Mill Avenue and within spitting distance of campus, this longtime Tempe restaurant feel like a true oasis. In fact, it's downright romantic. House of Tricks — named after owners Robert and Robin Trick, not a reference to any sort of in-house magician — is located in a 1920s cottage and 1903 adobe brick house, which are attached by a spacious outdoor bar and fireplace. It's a perfect setting for a dinner of inventive New American cuisine. Think, tagliatelle pasta with sweet peas, cherry tomatoes, pistachio-arugula pesto, and shaved manchego or roasted porchetta with charred rapini, sweet corn risotto, and scallion jus.
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