Best of Phoenix

Best of Phoenix: Looking for Dinner on Seventh Street

Best of Phoenix: Looking for Dinner on Seventh Street
Jacob Tyler Dunn/Peter Speyer

click to enlarge JACOB TYLER DUNN/PETER SPEYER
Jacob Tyler Dunn/Peter Speyer

It’s Wednesday, and you don’t feel like cooking; you’re hungry, but don’t know what you want to eat. It’s too bad you don’t live in a city where you can drive up and down a single street that’s chockablock with dining choices, considering your options before tucking in for a really swell repast.

Oh, wait. You live in Phoenix, home to North Seventh Street, which several savvy developers converted a few years ago from another blah thoroughfare into a culinary stronghold. Now then. Where’d you put your car keys?

As you head north, you think about how it’s too bad you’re not in the mood for a good sandwich or a gourmet salad, because there’s Main Ingredient Ale House and Café, an old house converted into a place where everything tasty is made from local ingredients. Also about how it’s too bad you don’t have a dog, because Main Ingredient actually welcomes four-legged guests. Must be a Seventh Street thing.

Oh, look. There’s Bevvy Uptown, where you had that ugly argument with your sister and that really great braised short rib. You love how their sign out front wears a glittery crown, and you wonder if they still serve deep-fried Oreos and consider stopping in to find out, but then you spy Culinary Dropout and start thinking about barbecue pork belly nachos and that soft pretzel provolone fondue you ate there once — the same night you drank too many vodka stingers and wound up playing ping-pong with a couple of total strangers. Speaking of imbibing, there’s The Womack, whose tomato ricotta bruschetta you sometimes wake up thinking about, although you’d never tell anyone that because it sounds weird.

Come to think of it, maybe you’re in the mood for Italian. There’s Pubblico, which you haven’t tried yet, although everyone at work keeps talking about Pubblico’s lobster ravioli and their bread pudding. You glance down at your culottes and decide maybe you’re not dressed for anything that isn’t super-casual, and just up ahead there’s Otro Café, where you once ate a breakfast burrito at 8 in the evening, just because. Oh, and there’s Cock ’n’ Tails, where you’ve passed many an evening glugging rum punch and glomming ribeyes. While you’re weighing the odds that the waiter you shamelessly flirted with last time you were there might be working tonight, you spot the sign up ahead for Christo’s, and then all you can think about is linguine escargot and grilled sausage and peppers, and about how Christo doesn’t care what you wear so long as you show up with an appetite. And boy, are you hungry. For barbecue!

Which is how you end up in Sunnyslope at Little Miss BBQ, with a plateful of chopped brisket in front of you, mustard sauce dripping onto your culottes, and a great big smile on your face.

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Robrt L. Pela has been a weekly contributor to Phoenix New Times since 1991, primarily as a cultural critic. His radio essays air on National Public Radio affiliate KJZZ's Morning Edition.
Contact: Robrt L. Pela