Ten More Food Fixes Phoenix Needs

I got cranky a few months ago, and I made a list. A list of food-related things Phoenix needs. I just looked back on that list, and am delighted to report that we've now got two out of five. Not bad.

OK, so we got that fancy-schmancy bowling alley. And a paleta shop. Still no salt store, and I don't see any more healthy chains coming our way (though we did finally get that Pita Jungle on Roosevelt Street). But the odds weren't bad on the first wish list, so I'm going to break out a new one.

This time I consulted with our super-smart Chow Bella staff; there was no shortage of ideas, including one Michele Laudig tossed out last week -- funky doughnuts. In fact, we might break out another list next week. It wouldn't be hard to do one for Mill Avenue alone!

Warning: There's nothing super high-end on this list so I'm sure I'll piss off the folks I pissed off last time. But hey, it's Phoenix. Get over it, people.

Here's my list. Please -- make your own. Leave it in our comments section, or email me at [email protected] and maybe we'll publish your list, too.

Get the list after the jump.  

1. Farrell's.

That's right, I said Farrell's, the chain ice cream parlour that you remember, if you are of a certain age. I want Farrell's back. (If you grew up here you'll get that I also want Bombay Bicycle Club, Lunt Avenue Marble Club and Joe Hunt's back, but for now, I'll take Farrell's.) The origiinal Scottsdale location on Indian School west of Scottsdale Road is even available, since that Fuddrucker's thankfully bit the dust. You might think Farrell's is a figment of the past, but there are two locations in California and two in Hawaii and definitely room for one here. I'll even sit through the scary "Zoo" processions that terrified me as a child. 

2. Bad Chinese Food. 

Yep, you read that right. We need some cheap, crappy Chinese food, and we need it now. (We also need some really good Chinese food, my Chow Bella colleagues observe, and they are right.) You know what I'm talking about. The dive on the corner where you don't want to look too closely at anything, including your plate, but somehow find yourself there (or better yet, ordering take out) at least once a week. 

If you want to go the franchise route, check out this too-cool-for-school (or Phoenix?) spot. 

3. A Cheese Shop. 

For a brief time we had one, in Lara Mulchay's wonderful Petit Fromage. Alas, Petit Fromage bit the cheese, er, dust.

4. And for that matter... Grilled Cheese, Please.

A grilled cheese shop. This is a trend we'd love to see Phoenix get on. What, you say? That's so New York? Yes. But even Denver's got one

5. A Really Good Jewish Deli.

We've said this before, but it bears repeating. We need a good Jewish deli. For the record, Stan's Metro Deli was not it, and I don't know anyone who was sad when it closed its Tempe doors (again).

Remember Bomans on Scottsdale Road? We need Bomans. Or import something from out of town. And please, while you're at it, stock the place with some Jews. I know they are hard to find in these parts, but really, a Jewish deli needs someone who knows the difference between Hanukkah and Passover. Make sure your deli counter looks good, too. I was in Chompie's the other day and almost swooned, the salads all looked so crusty and hard -- and not in a good way. 

6. More food trucks.

We need more of everything in this city: more community gardens, more street food, more one-ingredient restaurants. But what we really need is critical mass when it comes to the food truck thing. In Austin, they're throwing food truck festivals -- though to be honest, even those hipsters have their headaches. And Portland -- well, you know about Portland. Hey, there are empty lots in downtown Phoenix. Set up a food truck court! Every day!

7. A Cocktail/Dessert Bar.

Or three. Think of the creative possibilities! Oh wait, someone already has

8. Meatballs.

It's true. There exists an all-meatball shop. In New York. We want our own! (Hey Lisa G, we loved the balls at your now-defunct cafe/bar! What are you up to?!)

9. Originality.

Speaking of balls, it's time for Phoenix to get some. Yeah, yeah, I just gave you a list of (mostly) stuff other people have already done in other cities. I get that. Annoying. But hey, you've got to start somewhere with the dreaming, so why not with someone else's make-em-at-your-table pancakes, an awesome idea out of -- yep, you guessed it, Portland. 

So why can't Phoenix be even better (or at least as original as) Portland? Why can't we come up with ideas that others will slobber all over and want to copy?  We need to take advantage of what we've got here in town, starting with Latino culture, which we tend to embrace with a pinkie finger.

  How about an agua fresca/horchata/Mexican hot chocolate bar (sure, toss in some margaritas) with a small artisan bakery offering fresh-baked Mexican pastries, breads and even homemade candy? Not gigantic like Pro's Ranch Market (even though I'm a fan) but boutiquey -- toss in some super-cool Mexican crafts, as well. Maybe someone's doing that somewhere, but I've never seen it -- and I want it here in my hometown!

Don't you?

10. PIE. 

Pie, pie, pie. Was our Pie Social last year a big enough hint? How about all the press the awesome Pie Lab has gotten, including today on Jackalope Ranch

Keep your eye on the pie, Phoenix. Do it right and this could be big.

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Amy Silverman is a two-time winner of the Arizona Press Club’s Journalist of the Year award. Her work has appeared on the radio show This American Life and in the New York Times, the Washington Post, Lenny Letter, and Brain, Child. She’s the co-curator of the live reading series Bar Flies, and a commentator for KJZZ, the NPR affiliate in Phoenix. Silverman is the author of the book My Heart Can’t Even Believe It: A Story of Science, Love, and Down Syndrome (Woodbine House 2016). Follow her on Instagram (@amysilverman), Twitter (@amysilvermanaz), and at