Free Hugs & Steak in Your Salad at a Historic Restaurant in Uptown Phoenix

Jacob Tyler Dunn
The food will bring you to this Uptown eatery, but the staff keeps you coming back.
Welcome to The Essentials, our catalog of indispensable and quintessential Phoenix food and drink. From now until May, we'll be sharing 50 dishes, drinks, and food experiences that make up the culinary backbone (and personality) of metro Phoenix. This list is highly eclectic, mixing classics with newer and lesser-known favorites. But all The Essentials have one thing in common: We think they're required eating (and drinking) in metro Phoenix.

Up next, the Feeney's Steak Salad at Feeney's Restaurant & Bar.

33: Steak Salad at Feeney’s

Most restaurant owners don’t give their incoming diners a hug just for showing up for lunch, but the people at Feeney's Restaurant & Bar do. Part of you might come to Feeney’s for the PDA, but the main reason is probably the menu – namely, the Feeney’s Steak Salad.

The restaurant itself is virtually windowless, but still warm and inviting. Any windows in the small dining rooms would distract from the floor-to-ceiling paintings and homages to the Old Country. Inside, you’re so swept away by the atmosphere, you wouldn’t even know you were sitting maybe 30 feet from a drive-thru beer and wine store, a busy Circle K, and a DIY carwash.

The Feeney's Steak Salad comes as house salad-style greens under an abundance of julienne vegetables (thin strips of veggies like carrots and red onion), tomato, cucumber slices, and juicy, sliced beef tenderloin. The dish is topped with a generous amount of feta cheese and Greek dressing.

A pro tip: The dressing tends to settle at the bottom, leaving the last few bites a little mushy. Ask for the dressing on the side, and ladle it on the salad as you work your way through. It also comes with crackers, and a basket of warm bread, all for $9.95.
click to enlarge One of the adorable dining rooms at Feeney's, which has been around since 1965. - JACOB TYLER DUNN
One of the adorable dining rooms at Feeney's, which has been around since 1965.
Jacob Tyler Dunn
The business itself dates back to 1965 as one of the first restaurants in what was north central Phoenix at the time, and has been called Feeney's since 1983.

The Feeney's Steak Salad is only on the lunch menu, available from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Friday. Come get a hug, then maybe a salad.

The Essentials so far:
50: Tequila Sunrise at the Arizona Biltmore.
49: "Dragon" Dumpling Burger at Bitter & Twisted Cocktail Parlour.
48: Dizzy Fig Empanada at Republica Empanada.
47: Linguine Carbonara at Avanti.
46: The Food Court at Mercado de los Cielos.
45: Chicken Feta Salad at George’s Kitchen.
44: Spinach & Cheese Chimi Burro at Mi Patio Mexican Restaurant.
43: Dinner at Rustler's Rooste.
42: Gyro Omelet at Mel's Diner.
41: Zipps Wings at Zipps Sports Grill.
40: Organ Stop Pizza in Mesa.
39: Asian Nachos at Moto.
38: Olive Oil Tasting at Queen Creek Olive Oil Mill.
37: Baby Back Ribs at Don & Charlie's.
36: Limoncello at Cibo.
35: Chili Salt Chicken Wings at Asian Café Express
34: Smoked Prime Rib at Texaz