The Valley is lucky to have a wide variety of Black-owned restaurants and food businesses offering incredible food. Here are 27 spots to try soon.
ATL WingsMultiple Locations For some seriously, seriously good wings, go to ATL Wings. Many wing options in Phoenix are pretty good, but these are some of the best. If you love a good dry rub, ATL Style should definitely be your order. Each piece, drum, or wing is hefty and evenly coated with that heavy, oily blend of herbs and spices. It’s no surprise they won a Best of Phoenix award in 2018.
Authentic EthioAfrican1740 E. McDowell Road
Shining bright with the colors of the Ethiopian flag at 18th Street and McDowell Road, Authentic EthioAfrican is another of the Valley’s outstanding African restaurants. Injera is easily accessible, as is ginger-spiked chicken stew, fresh cheeses and vegetarian options. In 2022, the restaurant got a total overall. Ethiopian immigrants Anduale Hassan and his wife Elsabet Tiruneh first opened the restaurant more than a decade ago and mostly focused on takeout. But following a six-month closure and a trip home to Ethiopia to gather furniture and art, the couple reopened their dining room, described on their website as "an African-inspired afro-beat and jazz-bar atmosphere" complete with a traditional coffee service.
Big Marble OrganicsServed around the Valley.
Big Marble Organics was created thanks to the since-closed Breadfruit & Rum Bar's usual ginger beer provider going dark. Searches for a good replacement weren’t going well, and the Rum Bar stopped making Dark and Stormy cocktails. So, proprietor Dwayne Allen made his own. The company has now expanded into producing multiple soda flavors.
The Boom Boom Room
1544 E. McDowell Road It’s easy to spot The Boom Boom Room from McDowell Road. Just look for the larger-than-life mural of Beyonce and Jay-Z decorating the side of the small bar. Inside, owner Rasheda Worthy and her team mix craft cocktails while customers enjoy RNB tunes throughout the week. Chandelier lights reflect the glow of neon signs in the space decorated with murals and giant canvases celebrating musical greats. Grab a seat in one of the plush leather lounge chairs or reserve a VIP table for a night of cocktails at this central Phoenix spot.
Café Lalibela849 W. University Drive, Tempe
Metro Phoenix has several standout African restaurants and coffee shops. But one is a cut above, and we've deemed it one of the Valley's top restaurants. Located in Tempe, the husband-and-wife-run Café Lalibela is a cozy Ethiopian restaurant that has occupied a strip mall suite for decades. The eatery specializes in vegetarian dishes, though several meat items are on the menu like the key sega wat, cubes of spicy, stewed beef. Injera, or a crepe-like sourdough bread made with teff, is served with most meals.
CC's on Central
2800 N. Central Ave.Tucked into the ground floor of an office building in midtown Phoenix, CC's on Central is slinging some of the best Southern food in town. The menu comes courtesy of a California family with Southern roots, who are serving a combination of Southern and soul food dishes. Mom and son duo Sharon and Devan Cunningham launched the concept in late 2022. Devan cooks hearty plates of pancakes but also puts an interesting spin on things like his French toast that gets a savory hit from fennel and cardamom. Don't miss the debris and grits, the shrimp etouffee or the dry-rubbed wings. Check out our 2023 review for more tasty tips.
Chic Chef 77
1221 E. Apache Blvd., #104, Tempe
With the second iteration of her restaurant, chef Nik Fields is now running an upscale wine bar in Tempe. She started out with Chic Chef Cafe on Central Avenue in Phoenix, before closing the original spot, relocating and reimagining the concept. Chic Chef 77 features a 200-bottle wine list, craft cocktails, appetizers and charcuterie boards. Fans of the original will be pleased to find the La Di-Da-Di's, Fields' famous deviled eggs topped with grilled Cajun shrimp, still on the menu.
Cool Vybz Jamaican Restaurant
2340 W. Northern Ave.If you have a craving for exceptional Jamaican cuisine, head to Cool Vybz in north Phoenix. There, Chef Nakia Raymond has got you covered. He learned his craft working in kitchens in Spanish Town, Jamaica before moving to Arizona. Now, he serves specialties including stewed goat, oxtails and curry chicken. Make sure to ask about the seafood specials, as they rotate often and aren't always listed on the menu. Read more in our 2023 review of Cool Vybz.
Gojo Restaurant3015 E. Thomas Road, #101Gojo Restaurant is named after the Amharic word for hut, and the place is indeed cozy and homelike. Like most quality Ethiopian restaurants, Gojo serves a variety of flavorful stews, like doro wot (chicken), key wot (beef), and alitcha wot (lamb). It also serves Ethiopian beer, coffee and honey wine to accompany your meal.
Honey Bear’s BBQ
5012 E. Van Buren Street
Many restaurant owners have stories, but not all can recall a time they catered for the crew of "Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure." It's true. Honey Bear’s BBQ owner Mark Smith remembers the first time this group of highly energetic and friendly young people walked into his barbecue restaurant in 1987, one year after opening. The next three months would be filled with some excellent adventures. The restaurant specializes in Tennessee-style barbecue and the sauce here is good enough to drink.
Hot Pot Caribbean Cuisine2081 N. Arizona Ave., # 132, Chandler
Around for roughly 15 years, Hot Pot Caribbean Cuisine is a small restaurant inside a featureless strip mall in Chandler. But the dishes here are multiple times more eye-catching than the eatery’s exterior. Hot Pot serves a mean Brown stew chicken, plus goat curry, oxtails and deep-fried Escovitch fish.
JL Smokehouse2010 E. Broadway Road
2650 E. University Drive, Mesa
Smoke master James Lewis once told our former food critic "I got the best pulled pork in the country." Lewis' barbecue joint, JL Smokehouse uses oak and mesquite in service of exceptional menu items like smoked sausage, brisket, pulled pork, rib tips, and sides like the coleslaw, potato salad, mac and cheese made with smoked gouda and beans that taste halfway between barbecue and Cajun. JL Smokehouse also has a second restaurant on University Drive in Mesa.
Multiple locations. Chef Jimmy Cole can be found slinging barbecue from his eye-catching food truck at locations around the Valley. Kingpin BBQ specializes in tri-tip, stuffed and smoked turkey legs, ribs, chicken and pulled pork. But you won’t find these ribs slathered in sauce. The truck’s motto is “No sauce for the boss” and Cole makes the argument that well-seasoned meat should stand on its own. Accompaniments that are welcome, however, are sides such as macaroni and cheese, collard greens with smoked turkey and sweet potato casserole. Cincinnati chili cheese fries and meat and mac-loaded waffle fries are also on the menu. Check Kingpin’s social media for updates on where the truck will park next.
Lasgidi CafeMultiple locations. Patience Ogunbanjo, or as most people know her, Chef Patty, is the driving force behind Lasgidi Cafe, a Nigerian-American food truck that pops up around the Valley. The business started with catering in 2016, expanded to include cooking classes, private chef services and food and community-focused events, and now has four wheels rolling as a food truck. Highlights on the menu include Puff Puffs, a Nigerian fried doughnut, Suya beef or chicken grilled and coated in a peanut-based spice blend, zesty Jollof rice and Egusi stew made with spinach and melon seeds along with assorted meats. Through her catering, classes and now her truck, Ogunbanjo aims to share Nigerian culture and cuisine with her customers.
Latha628 E. Adams St. A restaurant and market dedicated to celebrating Africa and the African diaspora opened last year in downtown Phoenix. Latha, which is a reference to the Swahili word for flavor, found its home in the historic Silva House in Heritage Square across from Pizzeria Bianco. The menu draws influences from Africa, Brazil, the Caribbean and the South. Chef Digby Stridiron moved from his home in St. Croix to craft a menu at owner and CEO Evelia Davis’ concept. Enjoy a plate of Shrimp Moqueca or a jerk pork chop before browsing the soko, or market, filled with products made by Black artisans and producers.
Maya’s Cajun Kitchen
Multiple locations. Maya’s Cajun Kitchen fits inside a mobile food truck that owner and chef Maya Bartlett drives all around the Valley. She serves Cajun and Creole recipes she learned growing up in Louisiana, however, there’s a twist. This Cajun Kitchen is entirely vegan. Plant-based offerings include Jambalaya, H.O.P.’n Creole Cakes made with hearts of palm, Smokin Jackfruit Po Boys and Maya’s Etouffee. Check social media for updates on where to find the truck. It currently pops up weekly at the downtown Phoenix farmers market on Saturdays.
Monroe's Hot Chicken
45 W. Jefferson St. Suite K
430 N. Scottsdale Road, #108
Remember when hot chicken was all anyone could talk about around here? One place has done it extra well — but not extra well done. The sandwiches are juicy and hot at Monroe's Hot Chicken, which we discovered in a very early visit. But we had such a good time on follow-up visits we gave the restaurant, owned by Larry White (also the man behind Lo-Lo’s Chicken & Waffles), a 2019 Best of Phoenix award for best downtown lunch. What's more, there's now a Tempe location.
Mrs. White’s Golden Rule Cafe808 E. Jefferson Street
Mrs. White's Golden Rule Cafe is an icon in the Phoenix restaurant scene. Named for founder Elizabeth White, it serves utterly timeless food. The writing on the wall literally informs you this decades-old restaurant is where you’ll find one of Phoenix’s most famous Southern dishes: the golden-brown Southern fried chicken (with suggested sides of cabbage and black eyed peas). Mrs. White has spinoffs everywhere, including her grandson, Larry “Lo-Lo” White’s spot, Lo-Lo's Chicken & Waffles.
Ocean Blue Caribbean Restaurant and Bar
6140 W. Chandler Blvd., Chandler Get a taste of Jamaica in Chandler at Ocean Blue Caribbean Restaurant and Bar. The large menu includes island classics such as jerk shrimp and chicken, curry goat, brown stew chicken and saltfish. The menu also incorporates burgers, salads and wraps along with seafood plates of whole red snapper and stuffed salmon. Finish on a sweet note with a Jamaican sweet potato pie or rum cake. Find the restaurant in west Chandler on the northwest corner of Kyrene Road and Chandler Boulevard.
Ocho Rios Jerk Spot4220 W. Northern Ave. #104
13291 W. McDowell Road, E-7, GoodyearOcho Rios Jerk Spot has been bringing a taste of Jamaica to Phoenix since it opened in 2017. The modern yet welcoming restaurant located on the northeast corner of Northern and 43rd avenues is decorated with murals in the colors of the Jamaican flag and customers can grab a table or pull up a stool at the bar. A second restaurant has also opened on McDowell Road in Goodyear. At both locations, the menu includes traditional Jamaican patties filled with beef or chicken, sweet fried plantains and coco bread. Of course, as the name suggests, there are many dishes that include fiery jerk seasoning, including chicken wings, shrimp and pork. Curry goat, oxtails, and Ackee and Saltfish are also on the menu. Baked desserts, Jamaican ice cream and fresh juices round out the offerings.
The Original Pancake House6840 E. Camelback Road, Scottsdale
Some restaurant recommendations hardly need to be stated. If you want pancakes, The Original Pancake House in downtown Scottsdale is where you go. The breakfast chain has been around since 1953, and the Scottsdale location has been open since 1988, when the griddle was first overseen by owner Ron “The Pancake Man” Horton. The Midcentury vibe, coupled with house specialties like the French Crepes, Dutch Baby, and Combo Hash with pastrami and corned beef, make this place a real first-meal gem. Read our 2022 feature on the history and the people that make this spot so special.
Rag’s Real Chicken & Waffles12242 N. 111th Ave., Youngtown Tucked away in the northwest Valley city of Youngtown, Rag’s Real Chicken & Waffles is a small, family-owned restaurant that plates sky-high chicken and waffles — truly, the dish has to be about six inches tall off the surface of the table. Aside from the huge portions, there is much more to appreciate here — like the sides, the live music, and the BYOB policy.
Sapiens Paleo Kitchen10411 E. McDowell Mountain Ranch Road, Scottsdale
At Sapiens Paleo Kitchen in Scottsdale, French cuisine is offered via a paleo and gluten-free menu. Helpfully named menu items include the Keto Burger and the Paleo Dip, while other entrees include French rabbit stew, Sapiens Duck and free-range chicken. Plus, every entree has a keto-friendly substitute option that will swap out any vegetable high in sugars such as potatoes, carrots, and sweet potatoes. Non-dairy desserts are also available.
Stacy's Off Da Hook BBQ and Soul Food1804 W. Glendale Ave.
We think Stacy's Off Da Hook BBQ and Soul Food has some the best soul food in the Valley. In addition to a cozy dining area, this casual soul food restaurant serves barbecue, fried chicken, catfish, chicken gizzards and smothered pork chops. That crispy fried chicken is some of the best in town; it comes from a secret recipe concocted by owner Stacy Phipps himself — who will likely be in the restaurant when you visit. We also gave it a Best of Phoenix award in 2019 for its food in general.
SugarJam Southern Kitchen15111 N. Hayden Road, #170 Scottsdale
In 2021, SugarJam BakeShop & Bistro became SugarJam The Southern Kitchen. And with the rebrand came a location change. Owner Dana Dumas moved her bakery, bar and breakfast spot, but she definitely brought her deep fryer. For fans of crispy chicken, this is exciting news. Brunch items include Kickin' Fried Chicken with buttermilk biscuits and the best French toast in town.