Welcome to Dining Guides, an intermittent series on the many dining hubs around the greater Phoenix area and what they have to offer. Breakfast to drinks, quick coffee to sit-down dining, we break down some of our favorite places in each neighborhood. Today, we want to zero in on Desert Ridge Marketplace.
In the middle of suburbia with minivans and soccer parents, there is a thriving hub of diverse restaurants, featuring breakfast, lunch, happy hour, dinner, and dessert options. But even though it's the 'burbs, there are interesting choices at Desert Ridge like Tikka Shack, CB Live, Mimi's, Nori, Sizzle, and Paris Rendez-vous — ranging in settings from family dinner to date night and power lunch.
Let's get started.
Einstein's Bagels21001 North Tatum Boulevard
For busy workdays or early mornings at the office, Einstein's Bagels is a quick stop with no surprises. The hazelnut and house-blend coffees are a combo of good flavor and just the right amount of caffeine. Plus the menu offers gourmet bagels like apple cinnamon, spinach Florentine, and power protein. With a 5 a.m. opening, the early bird can squeeze in a boost before that morning meeting.
Tryst Cafe21050 North Tatum Boulevard, #108
Whether it is a business meeting or morning coffee with a friend, Tryst Cafe provides intimate seating indoors or on the patio. Service here is quick, even if there is a bit of a wait on busy mornings. Healthy, natural, and organic are Tryst's buzz words, and diners have the choice of avocado toast, banana quinoa pancakes, pecan crusted French toast with maple syrup and whipped butter, and more. If modifications are necessary, Tryst can accommodate with gluten-free, vegetarian, and vegan options. Breakfast is available from 7 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.
Flower Child21001 North Tatum Boulevard, #16-1000
Healthy, but tasty, Flower Child is a popular lunch spot in Desert Ridge. Ladies lunching, people picking up to-go orders, and moms toting their kids in strollers are usually fixtures at this casual-but-trendy lunch spot. The vegetables usually have an interesting twist which includes Indian-spiced cauliflower,Thai green papaya, and red chile-glazed sweet potatoes. Vegan poke, Madras yellow curry, and the forbidden rice bowls have the options of adding all-natural chicken, grass-fed steak, salmon, or tofu. The teas and lemonades are ones you won't typically find at other restaurants. And if you're looking to day drink, Flower Child offers Arizona beers like Lumberyard Diamond Down lager and seasonal Four Peaks.
Slices21001 North Tatum Boulevard
Sometimes lunch needs to be quick, and there is nothing like a New York-style pizza to fill that need. A landmark since 1998, Slices offers at least 25 varieties of pizzas, including pepperoni pineapple bacon, cheeseburger, white prosciutto, and Colby chicken. Grab a slice with a drink for less than $6. Slices also offers calzones and gluten-free crusts. There usually isn't a wait, so even with a short lunch break you can savor your downtime.
Tikka Shack21001 North Tatum Boulevard, #48-1520
Indian food doesn't have to be intimidating. The menu at Tikka Shack targets the newbie Indian diner to the person who absolutely craves curry morning, noon, or night. For a suburban lunch joint, they are generous with favorite options like samosas, masala fries, and biryani. Crafting your own curries is a new way to enjoy a midday meal. Patrons can choose from tikka, korma, and spinach masala or Goan vindaloo. After choosing your sauce, pick chicken, veggies, paneer, shrimp, or lamb as your protein. Add naan or rice to finish your meal. The portions are generous and the spice level isn't crazy. Get your lunch on as early as 11 a.m.
BJ's Restaurant and Brewhouse21001 North Tatum Boulevard
Sometimes you need a go-to place for a happy hour that will leave you satisfied after a hard day's work. Around since 1978, BJ's Restaurant and Brewhouse serves 11 award-winning, local craft beers and 10 rotating, seasonal options. For dining, expect chips and dip, burgers, and bite-size pizzas. During happy hour, happening 3 to 7 p.m. Monday to Friday, and 10 p.m. to close Sunday to Thursday, hand-crafted beers are $5 and Dark Horse wines are $6.
Pigtails Cocktail Bar21001 North Tatum Boulevard
A speakeasy concept is always fun for those looking for an escape from the ordinary bar experience. Pigtails Cocktail Bar features a raw oyster bar and drinks boasting barrel-aged whiskey, organic vodka, botanically infused gin, and variety of tequilas. No password is required, and the covert entry makes this an exciting end to the weekday, or any day. Hours are 4 p.m. to midnight, Tuesday through Thursday; 4 p.m. to 2 a.m. Friday, 1 p.m. to 2 a.m. Saturday; and 1 to 10 p.m. Sunday.
Yard House21001 North Tatum Boulevard, #48-1550
Though lively and casual, Yard House takes its happy hour seriously. The expansive food menu includes half-priced appetizers such as boneless wings, poke nachos, spinach cheese dip, chicken nachos, classic sliders, onion ring tower, pork lumpia, fried mac and cheese, and chicken lettuce wraps. There is plenty to drink, too. All draft beers, wine, spirits, and cocktails are $3 off and nine-ounce wines are $4 off. Happy hour is 3 to 6 p.m. Monday to Friday, and 10 p.m. to close Sunday to Thursday.
Barrio Queen21001 North Tatum Boulevard
It always feels like a good time walking into Barrio Queen. Since its debut in Desert Ridge last year, there is always a wait outside the restaurant. Patrons are excited to try the handcrafted drinks like the jalapeño margarita, La Dahlia, and the award-winning skinny chola. The goal is to make you feel as if you are dining in Mexico via authentic favorites like queso fundido, yucca fries, roasted elote, and several varieties of tacos, enchiladas, and tortas. Don't miss trying the chile relleno — a fresh roasted poblano filled with mushrooms, spinach, zucchini, red pepper, and tomatoes.
CB Live21001 North Tatum Boulevard
Focused on entertainment, the CB Live lineup features comedians, variety shows, and other entertainers so guests can let loose and enjoy a show with their meal. The dinner menu offers nachos, Copper Fries, a hummus plate, steak bites, burgers, vegetarian bowls, roasted chicken, and more. There are also cocktails like include Moscow mules and a seasonal whiskey smash, as well as beer and wine. You can literally sit back, enjoy your food, and watch the show.
Nori21001 North Tatum Boulevard
You wouldn't expect modern Japanese dining down the street from suburban homes, but Nori offers just that — udon noodles, miso soup, edamame, and crispy salmon, as well as several varieties of sushi and tempura. Pair your meal with cold sake to get the full Japanese cuisine experience. Couples will definitely dig the cool-but-sophisticated atmosphere. Listen up, couples, this feels like a legitimate date night.
Sandbar Mexican Grill21001 North Tatum Boulevard
No matter the time of day, there is always a party going on at Sandbar. Live music, outdoor cabanas, and a multicolored furniture scheme will put you in the mood to celebrate — even if it is a Monday evening. There is plenty to eat, too. Tacos, nachos, macaroni and cheese, sizzling fajitas, and even salads if you want to keep it light. Multitasking fun is the main mission at Sandbar and at night, people are dancing to the music while keeping their margarita from spilling.
Sizzle Korean BBQ21001 North Tatum Boulevard, #36-1220
Keeping it interactive is a novel way to have dinner. At Sizzle Korean BBQ, the meal is cooked at your table. Hyunwook Lee, the executive chef, wants to fuse Korean, Asian, and Japanese cuisines. Be aware that it is mostly about the meat here, with different cuts of beef and pork cooked to your liking. There is the option to complement the meat with soups, noodles, and rice as well.
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Nekter Juice Bar21001 North Tatum Boulevard, #18-1096
If vegan ice cream is your thing, stop by Nekter Juice Bar and try the coconut vanilla. But whatever you get, you can sprinkle on your choice of chocolate chips, cacao nibs, chocolate drizzle, coconut flakes, strawberries, blueberries, or hempseed granola. A variety of smoothies are also available to satisfy that sweet tooth while staying somewhat healthy.
Paris Rendez-vous21001 North Tatum Boulevard
Who says you need to travel to Paris to taste a French dessert? Paris Rendez-vous offers macarons, canele de Bordeaux, and croissants. These aren't just ordinary sweet treats. The macarons taste homemade with rich, deep flavors and just the right amount of soft shell crunch you'd expect. Once you have one macaron, you will ask for more. Gelato is also offered if you need something to cool your palate.