Lists

5 Top Frybread Spots in Greater Phoenix

Hope Peshlakai with her Nutella banana frybread, one of her pop-up's sweet options.
Hope Peshlakai with her Nutella banana frybread, one of her pop-up's sweet options. Zee Peralta
If you've never had frybread before, you're in for a treat.

Although it might be new to you, the dish actually dates back more than 150 years, to the time when the American government gave Native Americans flour, salt, baking powder, lard, and other rations for their confinement and forced marches. The ingredients were foreign to them — it wasn't the normal farm crops or desert fruit, seeds, and berries — but the people were resilient.

The dough was mixed together and cooked on rocks (later deep-fried). Today, many Native Americans still make frybread, though with its complicated origins, it can be a tough topic for some. Order it crunchy or soft, savory or sweet, as a taco, plain, or with sugar on top.

Here are some of our favorite places in the greater Phoenix area with excellent frybread:
click to enlarge Emerson Fry Bread's Navajo mutton sandwich has become a top seller. - CHRIS MALLOY
Emerson Fry Bread's Navajo mutton sandwich has become a top seller.
Chris Malloy
Emerson Fry Bread
Multiple Locations
In 2011, Lorenzo Emerson and Roxanne Wilson launched the Emerson Fry Bread food truck, known for its use of organic produce and scratch-made sauces and beans. The frybread is puffy and rich in flavor, with a good chew. Offerings can change, but one of the most popular menu items is the mutton sandwich with chile, half a baked potato, a piece of corn, and onion and peppers. There's the Navajo burger, too, with two patties, cheese, chile, lettuce, onion, and tomatoes. The plain frybread is also delicious on its own. Be sure to enhance your meal with one of the truck's two signature drinks: prickly pear lemonade or the Sedona Sunset, which blends the lemonade with orange juice and grenadine. Follow the Emerson Fry Bread Facebook page for the latest hours and locations.
click to enlarge A dessert frybread from Fry Bread House. - CHRIS MALLOY
A dessert frybread from Fry Bread House.
Chris Malloy
Fry Bread House
4545 North Seventh Avenue
Fry Bread House is worthy of all the praise. The 2021 Best of Phoenix winner was the recipient of a James Beard Award in 2012, and for good reason. The frybread is puffy, crunchy, and chewy all at the same time, and is fried in vegetable shortening. Founder and Tohono O’odham member Cecelia Miller has since passed away, but daughter Sandra faithfully continues her legacy. The restaurant is temporarily closed after a fire in December, but we know there will be lines out the door again once it reopens. If you want something simpler, try the plain or cheese melt (add beans and sour cream for a bit extra) or frybread topped with hot green chile beef or spicy chorizo. There's a vegetarian taco, too, and a burger sandwiched between two hand-sized frybreads filled with cheese, lettuce, tomato, and onion. Or go for the stew of your choice with frybread dunked in. For dessert, save room for frybread drizzled with chocolate or dusted with powdered sugar. You truly can't go wrong.
click to enlarge A fresh frybread is plucked from the fryer at Hope's Frybread. - ZEE PERALTA
A fresh frybread is plucked from the fryer at Hope's Frybread.
Zee Peralta
Hope's Frybread
144 South Mesa Drive, Mesa (coming soon)
Owner Hope Peshlakai first started selling Navajo tacos as way to raise money for a neighbor. Using her grandmother's signature recipe, she placed beans, lettuce, cheese, onion, and tomato on a deeply browned, chewy frybread. After 10 years of selling her food at a roadside stand, Peshlakai is hoping to have her brick-and-mortar location open in March, just south of Main Street and Mesa Drive. Peshlakai and her husband, Aaron, also serve their food to the masses on certain pop-up days in the downtown Mesa area. There you'll find frybread in many forms, from the Asian Persuasion chicken teriyaki sandwich to the double-patty burger sandwich with cheese, and s'mores. Peshlakai previously told Phoenix New Times that she wants her new restaurant to be a place to share stories, culture, and family recipes with customers, so they'll feel like they're eating at home or at a best friend's house. We can certainly envision that.
click to enlarge Fry bread with honey and powdered sugar at Indian Village. - SUSANA OROZCO
Fry bread with honey and powdered sugar at Indian Village.
Susana Orozco
Indian Village
6746 East Cave Creek Road, Cave Creek
In business since 1972, Indian Village restaurant in Cave Creek doubles as an eclectic general store and souvenir shop. There's Mexican food on the menu, but everyone raves about the frybread. With a crispy exterior and pillowy center, it's a must-try. Get it with honey and powdered sugar or with Indian Village's famous red chili, made with homemade red sauce and pulled beef. Customers also love the Navajo taco, with the same red chili and other toppings. In the mood for something a little different? Try a hot dog wrapped in frybread — plain, with cheese, or with chili and cheese.
click to enlarge Frybread smothered with red chili from The Stand. - CHRIS MALLOY
Frybread smothered with red chili from The Stand.
Chris Malloy
The Stand
4020 North Alma School Road, Scottsdale
It's all about the food at The Stand. There's no flashy restaurant, just an open-air kitchen built from arrowroot and cactus ribs located on the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Reservation. There are stumps for seats if you decide to stick around to eat, but we won't judge if you scarf your meal down in the car on the way home. The frybread is puffy and chewy, shaped from dough using vegetable shortening, then fried, rising on a long fork. Order the signature red chili or one just doused in honey. There's also the Indian taco with toppings, a customer favorite. Other vendors sometimes stop by, like the Indigenous-owned DankDrankLemonade. Just come prepared: The Stand is cash-only.
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Julie Levin is a writer, TV show producer, and an on-air news radio anchor. When she's not behind the scenes or mid broadcast, she's trying new eateries and bars or meeting up with as many friends as possible in one day (usually socializing around food). A self-proclaimed history geek, she also enjoys reading menus and watching food shows with her fiancé. They're working on visiting every place on their master list of Arizona restaurants.