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 happy hour, quick coffee to sit-down dining, we break down some of our favorite places in each neighborhood. Today, we zero in on the Garfield Historic District.
A simple glance at Garfield Historic District's expanding culinary scene is proof enough that the neighborhood is on the up and up. What was once a booming residential development in the early 1900s went overlooked for a while. But you can bet your bottom that Garfield is the comeback kid, and its food and drink are leading the charge.
Street Coffee625 North Seventh Street
In the smörgåsbord of coffee establishments that is downtown Phoenix, Street Coffee is easily accessible. Just off Seventh Street, you won't need to creep past historic buildings with a magnifying glass or wonder if your car will be towed in the time it takes to chug your latte. Street definitely has the usual suspects — coffees, espresso, smoothies, etc. — but also sells tasty baked goods like matcha white chocolate scones, apple strudel, and empanadas stuffed with beef or chicken.
Bask in the demure vibes with a cup of coffee, count the bakery items as breakfast, and use the Wi-Fi to ogle your Instagram frenemies. Either way, you'll be happy that you stopped in.
Rito's Mexican Food907 North 14th Street
This is the no-frills type of joint you insist on taking your sheltered, but well-meaning, midwestern visitors to. "Here, you thought Taco Bell was authentic Mexican food? Welcome to AZ, suckas." Lie to them and say the red sauce isn't that hot. Make them pronounce quesadilla correctly. It's practically a rite of passage, and Rito's Mexican Food is the perfect setting.
Walk into the cash-only restaurant at 14th and Garfield streets and be greeted by pink walls, hungry guests, and a busy counter. Burritos can be made the regular way, but why? Go for deep fried, enchilada, or chimichanga style. Or — brace yourself — chimichanga enchilada style: deep-fried, smothered in red sauce, topped with cheese, lettuce, and tomato. Tacos are filled to the brim, tostadas have that telltale crisp, and word on the street says Rito's refried beans are the best in town.
Tastybox621 North Seventh Street
If you prefer your lunch healthy, in reusable Tupperware, and made by someone else, this is your spot. Tastybox, in the same building as Street Coffee, serves international cuisine in bento boxes. Stop in for a $10 box, which clocks in at a maximum of 600 calories, ready in 10 minutes or less. Each day of the week offers a meat, vegetarian, and vegan option, and the menu changes seasonally.
Celebrate Friday with the Jefe, a tomatillo and green chili ground beef salad served with salsa fresca, corn tortillas, and fresh fruit. The following Tuesday, go full vegan with the Fasian, a rice noodle and kale salad with truffle salt edamame and summer squash.
Mother Bunch Brewing825 North Seventh Street
Upon exiting Interstate 10 to head south on Seventh Street, this is the brewery you sometimes wonder about. "Mother Bunch. That place looks kind of cool. Maybe I'll invite my one friend to grab a drink there soon," you ponder. Well, here's your reminder.
Traffic Hour, as Mother Bunch Brewing dubs it, has a few specials up its sleeve from 3 to 6 p.m. Monday to Friday. Salty Pork Rinds or Bacon Popcorn are $4, while Mother Loaded Fries are smothered with melted cheddar and topped with smoked tri-tip, chicken, or bacon for $8.50. Vegans should go for the vegetable pâté, a seasonal veggie spread served with French bread and crostini, for $6. Well drinks, wine, and draft beer are $1 off, and don't forget to check the chalkboard for the daily drink special.
Beer lovers can settle on one brew, or create a flight to test the wheaty waters. Try the No.11 McBride's Irish Red, a nod to handyman and owner Jimmie McBride, with a caramel front and roasted dry and slightly hoppy finish.
Gallo Blanco928 East Pierce Street
When the white rooster abruptly flew its Clarendon Hotel coop in early 2015, Phoenicians collectively mourned the loss. But Gallo Blanco landed in Garfield a couple years later, and has been a key player in the neighborhood's growth ever since. Nestled in a historic brick building that once housed American Way Market, the white-and-tan brick exterior and large windows create an airy feel.
Gallo serves all three square meals, plus a sweet tooth of any shape. Breakfast goes from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday to Friday, but starts at 8 a.m. on Saturdays and Sundays. The Mexican breakfast, two eggs with chorizo, beans, and corn tortillas, and the crispy chilaquiles, served with chicken or veggies, come highly recommended. Then there are tortas, burritos, ensaladas, tacos, ceviche, and much more. Try the churros or tres leches for dessert. Gallo Blanco is open until 10 p.m. Tuesday to Thursday, midnight Friday and Saturday, and 10 p.m. on Sunday.
Welcome Diner929 East Pierce Street
This diner is a veteran to Garfield — its original nine-seat restaurant was around in the 1980s. The current location at 10th and Pierce streets opened in 2018, and still makes comfort food from scratch and serves it daily till 2 a.m.
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Housed in a new building across from Gallo Blanco, Welcome Diner knows its way around classics like biscuits and gravy, pulled pork french fries with Carolina barbecue sauce, and fried green tomato, nudged between two slices of Noble sourdough with corn relish, chipotle ranch, and arugula. The Bumblebee, fried chicken on a biscuit with honey, pickles, and house beer mustard, can also be enjoyed late night.
Peep the counter for baked goods and wash it all down with a refreshing Paloma: tequila in a salted bottle of grapefruit soda with a lime wedge. Enjoy dinner, then a late-night menu, every day from 5 p.m. to 2 a.m., and brunch on the weekend from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Salsitas Mexican Food1541 East Roosevelt Street
Salsitas is ready to serve up Mexican fare at any time of the day or night. Convenient, affordable, and usually pretty busy, what Salsitas Mexican Food lacks in glam it makes up for in freshly made corn tortillas. Plus the salsa bar is lit. Breakfast burritos are served 24 hours a day, along with tacos, carne asada, and lengua.
But if beef tongue is not your thing, you have plenty of options. Stop by on the weekend for menudo or birria (Mexican beef stew), and grab some horchata to round it all out.