Live in Phoenix any amount of time, and you'll learn to love the strip mall. Otherwise, you'll be doing a lot of online shopping, baby, or hoofing it to the mall (which, let's be honest, is really just a loop of a strip mall, indoors). We love the combinations that pop up near one another: the funky bike store next to the vegan cafe; the DIY dog wash next to the congressional candidate's headquarters; the funky garden shop next to the Persian restaurant next to the art supply store.
Our favorite strip mall is the one we'll always think of as the Stinkweeds strip mall, even though, sadly, the record shop's Tempe location packed its boxes years ago. But many classics remain: This spot houses a bartending academy and a Planned Parenthood, as well as Tasty Kabob and the original Pita Jungle, two of the city's tastiest Mediterranean options.
Chill, a cleverly appointed dessert destination selling gelato and frozen yogurt, is our latest reason to head to Apache, which will soon be all the more accessible, thanks to light rail, which runs right past it.
Now if we could just afford to set up shop in one of the empty storefronts in that strip mall, we'd be quite at home. We hope something good comes in soon. Chances are, it will.