When we picked out our ten favorite cult restaurants in the Valley last month, many of you had a thing or two to say about your own favorite cult-status dining spots -- and we listened. Cheap Mexican eats, underground seafood joints, and stoner delights all fall into the realm of fan-favorites.
Here are 10 more favorite cult restaurants in Phoenix, according to you:
Green New American Vegetarian Anyone who thinks Green is just for vegans hasn't eaten there. Sandwiches like the no-harm chicken parm and Wendy's pickle, along with more healthy brown rice and tofu bowls, linger in the back of fans' minds for days until they can get back to get their mock meat fix. The thin and crispy thyme fries, which come as the side for most options, are also some of the tastiest fries in Phoenix. Daily specials like a mock frog leg sandwich with remoulade and barbeque fake ribs on popsicle sticks make it a no-brainer to return to this place time and time again. Who said vegetarian had to be healthy rabbit food?
Los Dos Molinos Los Dos is a rite of passage for any self-respecting Arizonan. The food is good at all of the micro-chain's spots (they used to have an outpost in New York City!) but our favorite is the south Phoenix location, in an original adobe at the edge of South Mountain. This New Mexican-style Mexican food is not for the faint of heart -- or taste bud. "Some like it hot" is their motto, and if you order chile, better prepare with a giant margarita and an even bigger glass of water standing by. And maybe some milk.
Salt Cellar More than 40 years after its debut, the Salt Cellar remains atop many local "best seafood" lists. That may have something to do with this swell restaurant's unusual location, three stairway flights below Scottsdale's surface. Or it might be the fact that fresh lobster is flown in daily, or its tasty selection of choice Black Angus steaks and long list of harder-to-find delicacies like escargot and Beef Wellington. Possibly it's the fact that the Cellar hosts not one but two daily happy hours with discounted cocktails and appetizers from 4 to 7 p.m. and again from 10 p.m. to closing. Who cares why? We love getting down to the Salt Cellar.
Cornish Pasty Co. Back in the old days, Cornish Pasty Co. was a claustrophobic little pub in a downtown Tempe that served up some of the best handheld English fusion fare around. Since then, the food is still great, but there's also Mesa and Scottsdale locations and the original Tempe spot has expanded with twice as much dining space inside and a new patio too. That's probably because guzzling pints, listening to Black Sabbath and Graveyard, and, of course, eating any of the 40 pasty varieties on the menu is just fun stuff. Don't limit yourself to the pastys though, either. The oven chips, chicken liver pate, and Shirley Temple's pudding are all good enough to warrant a spot in your pub routine.
TexAz Grill If you haven't eaten chicken-fried steak at this 30-year-old neighborhood steakhouse, you're missing out on a real Phoenix experience. Its simple, down-home layout and straightforward menu remind us what dining out in the old west must've been like. Locals and newbies alike love house specialties like the aforementioned chicken-fried steak, chicken-fried chicken (no, really!) and Southern style pork chops--two juicy, expertly cooked slabs of pig that are enough for two meals! Check out the chicken kabobs: four whole chicken breast fillets, skewered with mushrooms, onion, bell pepper, and tomato. Friendly wait staff and a really solid Sunday brunch make this place all the more special.
El Pollo Supremo There once was a time not too long ago that we would scrounge around our cars for loose change to scrape together enough for lunch and that's when El Pollo Supremo was really there for us. The missable Tempe restaurant located near Buffalo Exchange and Cartel Coffee Lab serves up dirt cheap a la carte and combo plate Mexican food, which means you can order as much or as little as your budget allows. You can smell the bright red chicken roasting anywhere within a block or so radius of the restaurant, and that chicken needs little more than the homemade salsa, pickled onions, beans, and tortillas that accompany it on a combo plate to make it great. Even with a little more money in our wallets, El Pollo Supremo is still worth visiting whenever we're nearby and hungry.
Red Devil This place has been serving up pizza since even our most senior staff members were babies. Really. And it hasn't changed one bit and that's just fine with us. Giant plates of pasta and classic pizzas fill the menu in this dimly-lit, red-boothed Italian joint. Nothing fancy, just good food and great memories.
Rito's Mexican Food There are green chili burritos, and then there are Rito's green chili burritos. Served enchilada style with red sauce, they may be the best in town. (The green chili burrito enchilada style with green sauce is pretty great, too.) Equally stunning chimichangas and cheese enchiladas are always waiting at this local favorite, where discerning fans of Mexican food head for both lunch and dinner. Don't miss the piled-high tostadas, served on crispy house-made corn tortillas. Some of the tastiest side salsa for miles around will have you calling for "More chips!" and one of several bottled cervezas served here.
Gadzooks Enchiladas and Soups Truthfully, we weren't originally sold on the concept of Gadzooks, which is basically a build it and bake it enchilada bar in the style of Chipotle. However, the "ladas" (which can also be tacos or salads) are simply the sum of their parts-- and that's a good thing. Choosing between Modelo-braised bison, smashed jack potatoes, guajillo short ribs, and green chile pork is the first hard choice, which only gets harder as you have to choose salsa, cheese, and other toppings and add-ons. Chances are you'll end up with a giant bowl of Mexican flavored mush the first time, but keep at it. Soon you'll master the art of Gadzooks and be a loyal customer too.
Cheba Hut The folks at Cheba Hut were ahead of their time. Long before Arizona's medical marijuana law made it legit to light up, this sub shop was unabashedly professing its love for Mary Jane with toasted (get it?) sandwiches like the Humbolt (guacamole and veggies) and the Pakalolo (ham, pineapple and Swiss cheese). Corny? Well, maybe. Delicious? Definitely.
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