With the no-seating rule in effect, to-go and curbside have taken over the Phoenix food scene. But before the mandate — heck, even before Postmates and Uber Eats were a thing — these places were offering curbside service or drive-up windows so you could roll up, roll down, and get good food fast. Convenient under the best of times, these OG carryout operators have long had the to-go game down — no lineups or changing out of your sweats required. Start your appetites and your engines.
La Grande Orange Grocery and Pizzeria4410 North 40th Street
The parking lot at La Grande Orange can feel like a Mario Kart battle. When it’s full, and it usually is, there are cars waiting and ready to pounce. This only makes pulling into one of the big orange “Curbside Pick Up” parking spots feel all the more VIP mode. La Grande Orange has been doing curbside since it opened in 2002 (so, since before iTunes), which means stacked breakfast sandwiches stay stacked, packaged salads keep their crunch, pizzas come out piping hot, and mind-reading servers have already tossed in sides of Parmesan, red pepper flakes, and napkins — all carried out to your car window in a big logo-stamped paper bag.
Ingo’s Tasty Food4502 North 40th Street
Most of Ingo’s menu is meant to be eaten with your hands. Finger-fight over the Shattered Potato Chips, a basket of deep-fried tater slices that come with a thicker-than-yogurt cream dip and homemade green spicy sauce (double dip for best results). Or dive into their Crispy Chicken Sammy, an impossibly crispy breast layered with spicy aioli, apple slices, and pickles on perhaps the spongiest burger bun ever made. Ingo's also has grass-fed beef burgers, Toni's Deviled Eggs, and fork-required salads. Curbside is a well-oiled machine here, food comes fast and expertly packed, and every order has those legendary mini French sea salt chocolate chip cookies.
The Collins Small Batch Kitchen3160 East Camelback Road
The Collins Small Batch Kitchen proves gourmet can be to go. Started by Chef Christopher Collins, the guy behind Grassroots Kitchen & Tap, The Collins has been doing curbside since they opened two years ago with a menu as elevated as the Arcadia zip code. Favorites include the organic free-range rotisserie chicken with Parmesan garlic frites, seasoned-just-right burgers on brioche buns, blistered-crust wood-fired pizzas, and arguably the best jumbo lump crab cakes in the city. The fancy fare comes with a price tag — salads range from $8 all the way up to $20 — but at least the service and napkins match.
Let’s be clear: Someburros isn’t the best Mexican food in the city, but the family-owned, nine-location-strong mini chain has perfected the to-go hustle. Whether you call in your order or order online, piping hot chimichangas, tacos, and the trademark burros (go deep-fried and enchilada style) are ready in a jiffy. Oh, and it also offers taquitos and handmade tortillas by the dozen, plus quart containers of machaca beef, homemade salsa, and shredded cheese for at-home assembly. The food isn’t going to bowl you over with flavor or spice, but Someburros’ drive-up window is a win when it comes to convenience and quick service.
Blue Fin Teriyaki Grill1401 North Central Avenue
Don’t judge Blue Fin by its cover — housed in a blue awning brick building on the east side of Central Avenue since 1981. The outside is meh, but as with all great holes-in-the-wall, the food feels like a surprise discovery. Teriyaki chicken is grilled over pumice stones for extra flavor, panko chicken and pork katsu are breaded to perfection, yakisoba packs in plenty of noodles and veggies, and all sauces are made from scratch. Call five minutes ahead and your order will be ready for pickup at the drive-thru window, often served by the owners themselves. Pro tip: Add an almond cookie for 30 cents.
Federal Pizza5120 North Central Avenue
When you’re craving pizza and beer — so, like, right now — Federal Pizza is your place. Just phone in your order, hit the drive-thru, and voila. The puffy-edged pie, a perfect combo of crispy and chewy, comes with both expected toppers (Canadian bacon, mushrooms) and unexpected (dates, ricotta). Wash it down with a local ale or IPA. When you’re craving Brussels sprouts topped with tender belly bacon, crispy polenta sticks, and lamb bolognese, Federal is also your place. Opt for the cabernet or chardonnay with that one. Major bonus: To-go beer and wine is always half off.
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Pete’s Fish & ChipsMultiple Locations
When Pete’s Fish & Chips first opened in 1947, a one-piece fish with chips set you back 35 cents. The price has gone up — it’s now a whopping $2.75 — but not much has changed about Pete’s. The fried-to-order food is fast and no frills, with flat rectangular fillets, crispy fries, and a menu of hand-battered staples, from shrimp to onion rings, all deep-fried in nostalgia and hedonistically satisfying. It doesn’t serve ketchup, but it does serve Pete’s Special Sauce — the Valley's cornerstone condiment that’s basically tomato sauce with kick. Phone in your order and pick up at the front window. It comes on a no-leak paper plate in a white paper bag, usually in five minutes. Cash only, FYI.
Luci’s at the Orchard7100 North 12th Street
Ask a Luci’s at the Orchard regular their to-go favorite and you’ll get something like “pancakes, turkey sandwich, oatmeal ... kinda everything.” That’s because it’s a “kinda everything” place — a go-to when flapjacks with caramelized apples are calling, or your at-home Keurig isn’t cutting it, or the kids are screaming for chicken strips and fries. The packed one-page menu also includes grilled burgers, power-up bowls, fresh-squeezed juices, colorful smoothies, and a full roster of pastries. But ask a regular what they like best about Luci’s, and they’ll say the service. Normally a gathering place with communal buzz, Luci's has a staff that carries out that same enthusiasm with your order.