Chicago Cubs: HoHoKam Stadium
All week long we're sharing suggestions of where to find breakfast, lunch, dinner and drinks near each spring training stadium. Have a favorite spot baseball fans should hit? Leave it in the comments.
For the masses of fans who flock to the winter home of the Cubs each year (frequently selling out the largest capacity of seats of any Cactus League stadium), this ain't Wrigleyville when it comes to eats around the stadium. Get into that car, Arizona-style, and head into downtown Mesa or to restaurants a few minutes away to score the best out-of-the-ballpark baseball fare.
Crackers & Co. Cafe This locally owned all-day breakfast and lunch chain features a hearty selection of traditional American and Mexican-inspired a.m. favorites in the form of skillets, omelets, signature creations, pancakes, and light starters. Standout dishes include the Cinnamon Swirl French Toast, California Eggs Benny, and the Southwest carnitas topped with homemade Baja sauce and tomatillo salsa. Service with a smile included.
T.C. Eggington's Since 1985, owners Thom and Kathy Coker's breakfast and lunch spot (they also own Ncounter in Tempe) has been providing the Southeast Valley with an extensive menu of homemade favorites with a focus on the fresh. Start with a just-squeezed juice, and then choose between tasty breakfast offerings like the Red Hot Mama frittatas with chorizo and jalapeños, the O'Pear Grenache omelet, or the cinnamon French toast dipped in a custard-rich batter. As T.C. would say, "A day without eggs is just like any other day, but without eggs."
Urban Picnic This compact contemporary breakfast and lunch spot in downtown Mesa (with a focus on healthy, organic ingredients) opened last year and became an instant hit with the locals. Billing itself as "seriously sophisticated fast food," the lunch menu includes made-to-order sandwiches and salads, along with a few sides. Popular hoagies include the roasted turkey breast with house made sausage stuffing and prosciutto and fig jam creations. Just-right portions, daily specials, and an outdoor patio make this picnic even more palatable.
Queen's Pizzeria & Cafe Family-owned and -operated, this homey spot in downtown Mesa features affordable pizza, sandwiches, wings, calzones, strombolis, and salads with bread and pizza dough made daily in-house. Check out a thin-crust pizza creation like the monster-size King "O" Hearts or the Ace "O" Spades hoagie with meatballs and cheese. Several meal deals and a Pac Man game make the experience a royal flush.
Los Dos Molinos A fiery fiesta of flavors, this locally owned small chain of moderately priced New Mexican fare invites you to put out the flames with pitchers of margaritas, tequila, or homemade sangria. Suggested spicy bites include the carne adovada, the chimichanga, and the green chili enchiladas. Some like it hot? Indeed.
Contigo Peru A taste (or two) of Peru can be found in this family-run spot of accessible and affordable fare, where, the owners state, one of the nation's greatest assets is the cuisine. A lengthy menu includes several classic dishes including potato-perfect appetizers like papa a la huancaina and causa, and standout seafood entrees like ceviche, chupe de camarones, and cau cau de mariscos. Be sure to order up a pitcher of the deep purple chicha morada to accompany one of the world's greatest cuisines.
Nunthaporn's Thai Cuisine Since 2009, this downtown Mesa eatery has been a spot for satisfying Thai cuisine in a comfortable atmosphere that's spacious and stylishly simple. With more than 60 menu items at $10 or less, as well as a focus on fresh vegetables and signature sauces, it's easy to share a variety of such classic standout dishes as pad thai, masaman and choo-chee curry with chicken, spicy basil (pad gra-prow), and lemongrass soup. Thai ice tea and coffee and Thai beers are also available.
Diamond's Sports Grille (formerly Sluggo's) Steeped in Cubs history (opened by former Cubs broadcasters Harry Caray and Steve Stone) and just blocks away from the stadium, Sluggo's may have changed its name, but its reputation as a hangout for Cubs fans has stayed true blue. Boasting TVs, bar bites, Old Style Beer, and baseball memorabilia a-go-go, it's springtime in Chicago -- in Mesa.
Sun Devil Liquors Inside what appears to be a run-of-the-mill booze shop, complete with drive-thru window, lies a first-rate liquor and wine establishment with a charming downstairs speakeasy-style secret. The hidden cellar serves up a broad range of beers, wines and cheese nibbles in a lounge-worthy type setting awash with the sounds of jazz and blues. Wine shy? Find a favorite with tastings from 50 cents to $3 each.