Welcome to Dining Guides, an intermittent series on what the many dining hubs around the greater Phoenix area have to offer. From breakfast to happy hour drinks, quick coffee to sit-down dining, we break down some of our favorite places in each neighborhood. Today: zeroing in on Sunnyslope in north-central Phoenix.
There’s a special part of Phoenix, just north of uptown and just shy of North Mountain: Sunnyslope. It’s part old Phoenix, part developing Phoenix, and as with similar neighborhoods in the Valley, there's a whole host of great dining options. Here are some of our favorite eateries in this north Phoenix area. We hope we got all of your choice spots, too.
Lifeboat Coffee36 East Dunlap Avenue, #7
Stay afloat with a morning beverage from Lifeboat Coffee. This Sunnyslope roastery and café offers hot house coffee, frappes, lattes, and more in dinghy, dory, or lifeboat sizes. The cafè also has espresso, Italian sodas, iced teas, and quick bites (bagel sandwiches, pastries, etc.).
Grinders Coffee Co.17 East Dunlap Avenue, #104
For iced drinks, you’re going to want to hook into Grinders Coffee Co. Go straight for the cold brew, or try (over time, please) other menu items like the Viennese mocha, caramel macchiato, or a simple vanilla latte. The narrow coffee shop also offers pastries and local art.
Hi Hi Donuts8714 North Seventh Street
Formally Rainbow Donuts, this Sunnyslope bakery offers more than 60 varieties of doughnuts, plus kolaches, breakfast sandwiches, and breakfast burritos. Hi Hi Donuts also offers juice, coffee, and colorful boba tea options.
Scramble, a breakfast and lunch joint9832 North Seventh Street
The north Phoenix location of Scramble is the closest thing you'll get to a farm-fresh breakfast in this neighborhood. Scramble uses local purveyors to create dishes like the Phoenix omelet, chile verde burrito, and the vegan veggie scramble.
Spoke & Wheel Tavern8525 North Central Avenue
Attention cyclists, we have your bike-friendly lunch spot right here. At the Spoke & Wheel Tavern, find hefty burgers, regional dishes like the Sonoran hot dog, and a shareable pretzel plate in addition to a solid indoor bike rack. You’ll also find handcrafted cocktails and cold beers to get you set for the ride home.
El Bravo Mexican Food8338 North Seventh Street
Around since 1982, the original location of the family-owned El Bravo Mexican Food is easily found off Seventh Street thanks to its bright red sign. Head in for enchiladas, chimichangas, flautas, burros, tamales, tacos, and fried popovers to boot. Modelo Especial and Tecate Light are $4 a pop, and salsa and hot sauce is sold by the pint.
Polish Goodies Bistro8903 North Seventh Street
This family-owned Polish Goodies Bistro started in November 2011 and got so popular they needed to open a brick-and-mortar kitchen in Sunnyslope. Walk in to this small eatery for pierogis, homemade sauerkraut, stuffed cabbage rolls, potato pancakes, and so much more.
GreekTown Restaurant8519 North Seventh Street
Greektown has been around for about five decades, and you can easily spot the small restaurant by its big fat Greek sign. This is the place for dolmades (seasoned beef and rice rolled up in grape leaves) but you can still get gyros, kabobs, and salads.
Reign of Thai12032 North Cave Creek Road
Dine-in or take-out are your options at Reign of Thai (and most places). But we suggest you dine in, as this Sunnyslope Thai joint offers a wild lunch buffet. Pile on the pad Thai, go nuts on the yellow curry and be sure to get your fill of Thai egg rolls. And sure, you can take stuff to-go at $4.99 per pound.
Flavorz Fish&Chicken9706 North Seventh Street
This family-owned eatery specializes in deep-fried catfish, chicken wings, and baked macaroni and cheese. There's also a variety of cakes baked in-house daily as well as a sweet and spicy house sauce called "sticky sauce." It's been a family staple for generations, and now on the menu at Flavorz Fish&Chicken.
North Mountain Brewing Company522 East Dunlap Avenue
If you enjoy a craft beer with coworkers, North Mountain Brewing Company should be your first stop after clocking out. This Sunnyslope microbrewery offers Phoenix-brewed suds like the C.R.E.E.M. Golden Ale and the CardinAle Red. Or better yet, just opt for the sampler flight. There’s also food, like gourmet burgers, pizza, and pub-style appetizers, as well as wine, mead, and cider.
Butler’s Easy Bar and Lounge8375 N 7th St., Suite C
This dim and sleek cocktail lounge hosts happy hour daily from 4 to 7 p.m. That means you can clock out with every intention of ordering a glass of wine or craft beer from Butler's Easy. Or try one of the signature cocktails. An especially playful one is the Hispanic at the Disco — a zesty cocktail with Maestro Dobel Diamanté, Cocchi Americano, Foro Amaro, and Yellow Chartreuse.
Little Miss BBQ8901 North Seventh Street
The second location of Little Miss BBQ appears to be as popular as the first, or so the lengthy dinner line would have us assume. Find a table in the spacious Midcentury Modern dining room or the lively back patio to take your tray of chopped brisket or pulled pork with jalapeno cheddar grits. Just don’t forget one of Bekke's Smoked Pecan Pies.
Timo Wine Bar8801 North Central Avenue, #104
This petite wine bar and restaurant is known for wood-oven fare, meaning all the bread, pizzas, and entrees like the wood-fired lamb chops were prepared using rustic cooking techniques. Around since 2011, Timo Wine Bar is an intimate dinner spot also offering wine, tapas, and a romantic-leaning dining room and back patio.
Ladera Taverna y Cocina8729 North Central Avenue
This hip Mexican restaurant and bar offers a menu described as “an authentic take on modern Mexican cuisine.” Tacos are an easy choice, while other house specialties range from mole to cochinita pibil and pescado a la Veracruzan. But the cocktails at Ladera are a real treat here. The Pinche Paloma is a favorite, as is the Sancho Sour and Mezcalada. Pair any one of those with the queso fundido appetizer and you’ll be set.
Via Delosantos9120 North Central Avenue
You won’t find lard in any of the dishes at Via Delosantos. The team here is adamant about that. But you will find house specialty dinners like the pollo fundido, Roman’s Street Tacos combo, Calabacitas Con Queso — Via Delosantos’ version of “Mexican succotash.”
Karl's Quality Bakery111 East Dunlap Avenue, #13
In 2014, Karl's Quality Bakery moved to its current location at The Marketplace on Central in Sunnyslope. The bakeshop is overseen by Christine Boerner, a Swiss-trained chocolatier, baker, and Karl’s daughter. Once inside, load up on sugar cookies, strudel, Bavarian tarts, Florentine biscuits, French macaroons, and yes, the famous kronuts.
Raspados Solaris9204 North Seventh Street, #6
Raspados Solaris takes raspados to new heights — literally. More than mere shaved ice concoctions, these dreamy desserts not only invite chocolate to the party (about time), but unusually cool toppers like tiramisu and Oreos, too. Points also for fancy flavors combos, like tiguiol (horchata and strawberry), and valesol (banana and chocolate), and solaris (tres leches and berries), and the chocolate-coated cup they’re served in.
Do Drop In9501 North Seventh Street
How to describe a lovely place like the Do Drop In? First of all, yes, people do play that Charlie Daniels song often on the jukebox. Second, there’s beer, mixed drinks, a smoking patio, a couple of TVs, a popcorn machine (not self-serve, thank you), and a great mix of regulars. It’s the ideal bar.
Rum Runners8355 North Seventh Street
A small, rowdy, pirate-themed bar to watch the game or get weird with friends? That’s Rum Runners. This nautical neighborhood joint is a little more polished than some of its surrounding taverns, but it may have what you’re looking for — drink specials, flat screens, and a snack counter (minimum $5 spent at the bar).
Big Daddy's Sports Lounge10618 North Cave Creek Road
Right off the winding Cave Creek Road, Big Daddy's Sports Lounge has a nine-foot projector screen, plus various other TVs, a baseball-themed menu of bar food, and all the ice-cold domestic beers you can guzzle.
Editor's note: This story was originally published on March 6, 2020. It was updated on May 6, 2021.
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