Today, we'll zero in on Maryvale, an urban village in west Phoenix that began as a master-planned community in the 1950s. The largely working-class area spans west of Interstate 17 and U.S. Route 60 to past 107th Avenue in its westernmost areas, from Camelback Road south to Interstate 10.
Maryvale has an abundance of marvelous Mexican food, with some of the busiest taco and torta spots in town, but there are other tasty dining and drinking options as well. Here is an all-day rundown of what to nosh and sip on in the area.
7540 West Indian School Road, Suite A4
623-849-8285 In France, crepes are a daily occurrence, but Americans are not always so lucky. El Cafezito serves the sweet and savory kind, with offerings like a Nutella Crepe adorned with fresh strawberries and bananas and drizzled with Nutella, and the Ham and Cheese Crepe topped with sliced tomatoes and parmesan cheese. The berries crepe with cream cheese and the pizza crepe topped with pepperoni are two fan favorites, so bring a friend along to share a few items.
El Cafezito also provides plenty of caffeine, from espresso drinks like cappuccinos and Americanos to hot and iced teas like matcha and chai.
Genie G's Family Restaurant
7349 West Indian School Road
623-846-0114 Genie G's is a diner reminiscent of a foregone era where coffee is refilled from a glass pot at the breakfast counter. Waltz inside this humble eatery solo and grab a stool, or bring the gang and go for a booth.
The plates are hearty and the 75th Avenue Breakfast is a popular choice, with three eggs, gyro meat, golden hash browns, and all the toast or pancakes you can eat. If you're feeling extra casual, ask for some plain old cereal — it's served in a bowl with milk. Lunch and dinner are also served here, but it definitely fits the classic breakfast diner bill, with the most important meal of the day served all day.
The Donut Shoppe
2929 North 75th Avenue, #29
8141 West Camelback Road, Suite B 623-242-9789 Both of The Donut Shoppe's locations are go-to spots for brekkie on the run or donuts for the office. Breakfast sandwiches are filling and made quickly — perfect for a hectic morning commute. Try the classic egg, bacon, and cheese sammie on your choice of croissant, bagel, or toast, or kick it up a notch with the ham and cheese croissant with jalapeño.
Donuts range from glazed to topped with Fruity Pebbles. Go for a mixture of a dozen regular, cake, or filled donuts, or try a dozen "fancies," like cookies and cream bars and croissant donuts. The Donut Shoppe also serves coffee, smoothies, boba teas, and Thrifty Ice Cream, and is open for lunch.
Herb N' Grinds Coffee Lounge
5950 West McDowell Road, #103
480-395-7058 Herb N' Grinds is an all-around interesting place. It's part coffee, kava, and kratom shop, part electronic dance music hangout, and part glassblowing studio. The lounge, which has been open for about a month, used to be an event space hosting live DJs, but now people can hang out all day, coffee in-hand. Herb N' Grinds also serves kava, a calming beverage utilized for ceremonies in the South Pacific, and kratom, an energizing herbal extract derived from the leaves of an evergreen tree grown in Southeast Asia.
The space is chill and funky, with books inside milk crates stacked atop of one another surrounding the blown glass on display. Beverages range from a Vietnamese Shotgun made with espresso, condensed milk, French vanilla, and half and half, to the King Louie XII, a guava lemonade with a shot of kava. And in case you're in need of any glass accessories or tobacco products, the next-door smoke shop Herb 'N Legend has got you covered.
Ta'Carbon Mexican Grill
2929 North 43rd Avenue
602-682-7701 Ta'Carbon makes some of the best tacos in town, and its seemingly never-ending lunch crowd is a testament to that. The charcoal grill restaurant cranks out favorites like carne asada, pastor, seasoned and marinated pork cut from a spit, and barbacoa, slow-roasted beef with a savory flavor and tender texture. Other options like cabeza, roasted beef head, lengua, braised beef tongue, and tripas, braised and pan-fried tripe, should appease even the most adventurous eaters.
Try the Hazz Taco for something a bit extra, where melty cheese holds together a mixture of green chile beef and carne asada. Ta'Carbon serves their tacos on either corn or flour tortillas and invites customers to add toppings like spicy salsas, pico de gallo, pickled carrots, and sliced cucumbers at the salsa bar.
Burros and a few tostadas round out the menu, along with platos, which include your choice of meat served with a side of beans and tortillas.
The Lope House Restaurant
5902 West Indian School Road
So you are hanging around Maryvale at lunchtime and have some fancy clients to impress. Quick, what's your next move? The Lope House Restaurant at Grand Canyon University, inside its golf course clubhouse, is open to the public. Lunch boasts offerings like Cobb salad with blue cheese crumbles, a pastrami Reuben, and nachos with house queso, green chili pork, black beans, and pico de gallo. If you have a few hours to kill, book a tee time afterward. The Lope House also serves breakfast daily.
4344 West Indian School Road, #1
623-848-8616 Tortas are hearty Mexican sandwiches served on oblong bread hot or cold, depending on the recipe, and Tortas Paquime has them down to a science. Maryvale is one of five locations cranking out fresh bread and tortas filled to the brim daily, and lunch is especially busy.
The namesake Torta Paquime is a classic, stuffed with pork sirloin, avocado, tomatoes, jalapeños, mayo, and mustard. They also serve tostadas, flat crunchy tortillas topped with refried beans and guac, as well as quesadillas. Salads and veggie tacos are ideal for those looking for a lighter meal, but tortas are the main attraction here. Don't forget to pick up some freshly baked pan dulce or bolillo rolls for the road.
Popo's Fiesta del Sol
6542 West Indian School Road
623-846-2636 Popo's is a laid-back Mexican restaurant that has been around since 1964. At the Maryvale location, happy hour goes from 3 to 7 p.m. daily. Drink specials include the original margarita, frozen or on the rocks, for $8. Add flavors like mango, banana, or watermelon for an extra $0.50, or get fancy with the Cadillac, made with 1800 Reposado Tequila and Grand Marnier for $11.85. Bottled and draft beers are also on special, as well as the house-made sangria for $8.75.
Pair your libation with a Corona-battered-fish burrito served with rice and beans or a cheese quesadilla and toast to the fact that it's five o'clock exactly where you are.
New China Buffet
4105 North 51st Avenue, #145
623-245-3535 Coconut shrimp, check. General Tso's chicken, check. New China Buffet hits the spot for unfussy Chinese staples. Fill your plate with chow mein, beef and broccoli, and orange chicken, and revel in the food coma you are soon to be in. The decidedly casual buffet is anything but fancy, but the food is fresh and you can have a heaping plate of bright red jello for dessert. New China Buffet is also open for lunch if you wish to sate your all-you-can-eat Chinese craving earlier in the day.
Texas Rib Shack
3935 North 67th Avenue 623-792-7422 This strip mall joint serves some pretty delicious barbecue. Texas Rib Shack seasons, grills, and then smokes its meat with mesquite wood, giving it a rich flavor and tender texture. Try a chicken or rib sandwich if you're not too hungry, or go for an entree served with two sides for the full experience.
The smoked brisket dinner is a sure winner. Choose from a plethora of sides including seasoned green beans, potato salad, boiled or fried cabbage, mac and cheese, cornbread, and baked beans. The three meat combo doesn't include sides, but allows you to feast on ribs, chicken, hot links, and pulled pork, or brisket for an additional charge.
Finish your meal with some Southern dessert like Aunt Betty's Peach Cobbler or Cousin Cletis' Smoked Apple Pie.
El Dorado Sports Bar
4134 North 67th Avenue
623-873-0101 One can find bar games, live music and dancing, pool tables, and plenty of televised football games at the 24-hour El Dorado Sports Bar inside a strip mall at 67th Avenue and Indian School Road. Sip on Four Peaks Kilt Lifter on draught and plan out your next karaoke performance at the no-frills watering hole or grab a bucket of Tecates with some amigos.
Nugget4130 North 83rd Avenue, #11
623-873-1118 Nugget is a laid-back neighborhood bar hidden inside a shopping center at 83rd Avenue and Indian School Road. A red sign that reads "cocktails" in all caps should let you know that you are in the right place. Inside, there are pool tables, pitchers of beer and cocktails, and televisions for sports watching. Grab a seat at the wooden bar adorned by neon beer signs and lots of liquor. Make some friends in a cinch at this local favorite, which is open until 2 a.m. daily.