Chandler meets the two qualifications for a historic downtown dining district: good restaurants and old buildings. Yes, there is a lot of history in this pocket of Chandler, which goes back to the days of people riding in on horses for a beer. From exposed brick wall joints to conscious coffee roasters, underground bars, Irish pubs, and the home base for SanTan Brewing, downtown Chandler creates quite the culinary destination.
Peixoto Coffee Roasters11 West Boston Street, #6, Chandler
Peixoto Coffee's shop primarily roasts and serves coffee from owner Julia Peixoto Peters’ family farm in Brazil, but it does make a few exceptions, featuring beans from other regions around the world. Where Peixoto has truly succeeded is in educating consumers about how coffee makes its way from crop to cup. Peixoto Coffee is working hard to introduce Brazilian culture, coffee, and cuisine to the east Valley by offering pastries and specialty coffee items like nitro cold brew and iced cascara.
Original ChopShop35 West Boston Street, Chandler
Rising and shining at 7 a.m. daily, the Original ChopShop offers avocado toast (of course), the Sunrise Wrap, and the Balanced Bowl. Beyond breakfast, find parfaits, grilled protein bowls, and sandwiches. Fresh juices include the Cold Buster, Daily Detox, and more. There’re even 24-ounce protein shakes with whey powder, including the Jacked Up PB+J and the Muscle Malt — to which a shot of cold brew can be added.
Downtown Chandler Café and Bakery40 South San Marcos Place, Chandler
If you’re the type of person who’s starving upon waking, then the platter-heavy breakfast options at Downtown Chandler Café and Bakery may be perfect for you. There’s the Waffle Platter, the American Breakfast, Biscuits & Gravy, and more than three options each for pancakes, omelets, breakfast burritos, and Benedicts. What’s more, the pastries and bread here are baked daily on-site, and they serve breakfast all day.
Over Easy140 North Arizona Avenue, #104, Chandler
This Arizona breakfast chain has a location right in downtown Chandler. Here's where to get your chilaquiles, chicken-fried steak, and chile pork and grits as early as 6:30 a.m. You can also bet on Over Easy offering breakfast cakes like brioche French toast, malted waffles, and pancakes with M&M's if you so choose. And just so you know, signature Easy Cocktails include the morning mule and the Irish chai.
SanTan Brewing Company8 South San Marcos Place, #106, Chandler
The state’s largest craft brewery may not seem like the place serving excellent brunch, but you’d be wrong. From 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., Saturday and Sunday, brunchers may choose from the Brewer’s Omelet, the chicken and waffles, the ham, egg and cheese panini, or the breakfast pizza. For children in tow, there is a small kids' menu, including the Kid’s Big Play and the kid’s chicken and waffle. The best part about brunch at SanTan Brewing Company? No one is going to judge you for pairing your eggs with a pint or two of MoonJuice IPA.
The Perch Brewery232 South Wall Street, Chandler
No matter what you think of the parking, The Perch Brewery does have a fun gimmick. There is a well-known collection of over 50 brightly colored, tropical rescue birds gently caged throughout the patio-style eatery, and they make wonderful dining companions. Aside from that, there are more than 40 craft beers on tap in the garage area, and a menu of starters, salads, burgers, pizza, and entrees like the beer-battered fish and chips.
Mingle + Graze48 South San Marcos Place
Many of us have a favorite lunch spot, and more often than ever, that lunch spot has to offer a big salad. Good news then, as the 2019-established Mingle + Graze offers just that — the BIG Salad. Expect romaine and mixed greens, tomatoes, cucumbers, carrots, green beans, feta crumbles, toasted pistachios, pickled onion, and herb vinaigrette in, yes, a big bowl. There are also sandwiches, snacks, and quite a selection of meat and cheese boards to be enjoyed in one of the more darling dining rooms in the district. If you really want to make a day of it, Mingle + Graze is also BYOB, so feel free to walk in with your favorite big bottle of wine.
West Alley BBQ & Smokehouse111 West Boston Street, Chandler
Wanting to be different is what sets West Alley apart from metro Phoenix’s barbecue scene. What makes West Alley BBQ a nice addition is that it deepens what we have with what we don't really have (Tennessee-style) and that it flexes its creative muscles despite being anchored in tradition (old-school pits, experimenting with almond and fruitwoods). The baby back ribs are for real. They are expertly crafted and vanish from your platter too soon. A light sweetness and nuttiness created by almond wood smoke almost call to mind, in the scarcest, most fleeting way imaginable, European pastries made with sweet almond paste.
Ghett'Yo Tacos241 South Oregon Street, Chandler
Downtown Chandler's urban taqueria is Ghett'Yo Tacos, where you can snag street-style tacos with al pastor, carnitas, pescado (fish), and jackfruit. Equally important here are the slides, coming in wild orders involving Doritos and peanut butter and jelly. The menu also lists snacks like elote, frijoles and/or guacamole with chips, Sonoran hot dogs, and posole. And yes, Ghett'Yo also has a walking taco — taco mixings poured into an open chip bag ideal for the patio or for exploring the rest of downtown.
Gadzooks Enchiladas and Soup290 South Arizona Avenue, Chandler
This Phoenix-based lunch joint offers the full build-your-own enchilada (and many other foundational items like tacos, nachos, and salads) experience. Fillings and toppings range from Modelo-braised bison, green chili pork shoulder, and sweet-and-spicy cornbread to a goat-cheese schmear and a fried egg. All orders at Gadzooks may be best accompanied by the house-made crema, pumpkin cookies, and a draft from Wren House Brewing Co.
Bourbon Jack’s11 West Boston Street, #1, Chandler
There's loads of historic charm at this Chandler joint, and it extends beyond the collection of vintage pictures and décor lining the walls. Bourbon Jack's is situated in the circa-1918 Arrow Pharmacy building, which dates back to the days when many folks in the suburb rode horses to get around. There are also rotating happy hour specials, more than 200 whiskey varieties on the menu, and live country music on occasion.
Craft 6468 West Buffalo Street, Chandler
Downtown Chandler’s Craft 64 is a pizzeria and craft beer bar offering Italian favorites and a few libations. There’s a sommelier on staff, and a couple of signature cocktails, along with more than 30 options of Arizona beer. To eat, expect pizzas, sandwiches, salads, bruschetta, and a beautiful house-made mozzarella caprese. During happy hour, happening daily from 3 to 6 p.m., small plates are $8 each, five types of wine are $6, and you get $1 off all local beer.
DC Steak House98 South San Marcos Place, Chandler
The anchor of San Marcos Place's restaurant row, DC Steak House — or downtown Chandler steakhouse — is an old-school surf-and-turf restaurant, complete with the white tablecloths and special-occasion outfits. DC Steak House offers steaks, seafood, chops, ribs, chicken, and pasta. And, there are more than a few things to drink. Check out the long list of reds, or go for a local craft beer from Huss Brewing or, of course, SanTan Brewing Co.
The Brickyard Downtown85 West Boston Street, Chandler
Set in the former Chandler Arizonan building, The Brickyard Downtown is a bar and restaurant with a new American menu, 12 beers on tap, and some well-known cocktails. The downtown dinner spot features starters like pork belly skewers and Mini Bricks, salads, menu icons like the ahi tuna with ginger foam, short rib osso buco, and desserts like mini churros. The 90-seat dining area has preserved much of early, workaday Chandler, including the original brick and raw concrete floors but, has added some garage doors, a lengthy bar, and a bistro-lighted patio.
Crust10 North San Marcos Plaza, Chandler
Part of the locally owned mini-chain of Italian restaurants, Crust can be found on the southeast corner of the Crowne Plaza San Marcos hotel above The Ostrich (we’ll get to that spot later). Crust Chandler serves a menu of New York-inspired Italian food, i.e. pizzas, appetizers, salads, pastas, and other entrees. All of Crust's pizza can be ordered as either individual pizzas, 20-inch round pies with thin crust, or Sicilian-style.
Serrano’s Mexican Restaurants141 South Arizona Avenue, Chandler
The family behind Serrano’s Mexican Restaurants celebrated 100 years as a family-owned business in Chandler in one way or another in 2019. The downtown Chandler spot is the flagship location of the local Mexican chain and offers exactly what you'd expect from a restaurant with a surname titled. Think daily-made tortilla, chips and salsa, margaritas, burros, and pollo fundido. This is also the location of the Serrano's test kitchen, from which you may order a brisket torta, peach tres leches, churromissu, and a Taco ‘bout a Bloody Mary.
Paletas Betty96 West Boston Street, #100, Chandler
Offering some of the best Mexican ice pops in the Valley, Betty Alatorre de Hong, a native of Michoacán, uses her grandmother's recipes to bring her handmade creations to downtown Chandler. Using local ingredients, the seasonal menu at Paletas Betty may include bursting-with-flavor melon, tangerine, mango con chile, and durazno (peach, ginger, and honey).
Spirit House8 South San Marcos Place, #106, Chandler
The 49-seat Spirit House is a cocktail bar in downtown Chandler overseen by the people behind the neighboring SanTan Brewing Company. Expect the flagship spirit, Sacred Stave American Single Malt Whiskey, plus other whiskeys, gin, and botanical spirits. There will also be cornbread, bruschetta, salads like the Chandler Chop, and tartines — or open-faced sandwiches — in what was once a storage space.
The Ostrich10 North San Marcos Place, Chandler
This subterranean downtown Chandler bar is pretty fun, offering craft cocktails that will make it tricky to get back up those stairs on the south-facing side of Crust Chandler. The space itself was ready for the cocktail bar when it opened in 2015, as The Ostrich is housed in the historic tunnels connecting the golf course clubhouse of the Crowne Plaza San Marcos and the nearby railroad station. It was also a place where ostrich feathers were stored by Dr. AJ Chandler himself. The drinking lounge is dark and almost glowing, with lots of space at the bar where you can watch the bartenders impressively mix and shake your drink order.
The Sleepy Whale290 South Arizona Avenue, Chandler
The Sleepy Whale opened for daily beer-slinging service in downtown Chandler in 2019 by some of the dudes behind The Wandering Tortoise and The Theodore. Since then, it's happily been received by the community. The beer bar and bottle shop has 32 taps and features Arizona beer companies like Wren House, Arizona Wilderness, Pueblo Vida in Tucson, Dark Sky from Flagstaff, and more.
Murphy's Law Irish Pub58 South San Marcos Place, Chandler
This Irish bar in downtown Chandler might be easy to miss, as it's crammed in with the many shops, restaurants, and other bars surrounding Dr. A.J. Chandler Park. But upon entering the narrow room that is Murphy's Law, you'll know you've found your next favorite pub. A good mix of Irish and Arizona ales fill the beer menu and the late-night menu lists pub fries, poutine, Jameson wings, and more. The late menu is available from 10 p.m. to 1 a.m. Sunday to Thursday, and 10 p.m. to 1:45 a.m. on Friday and Saturday.
Editor's note: This story was originally published on July 5, 2019. It was updated on February 4, 2021.