Tasty Kabob

Iran has been in the news a lot lately. From the agreement intended to limit the proliferation of nuclear weapons to the re-election of the current president, there have been plenty of headlines about political intrigue within the Islamic theocracy that has dominated the country since 1979. A more enduring heritage is found, however, in the culture of Persia, the ancient, storied civilization that flourished long before today’s controversies. Persian food, underappreciated in the United States, flourishes at Tasty Kabob, located along the Apache Boulevard “Spice Trail” in Tempe. Continue reading

Pizza People Pub

As local enthusiasm for food trucks has ebbed and flowed, it’s been fun to see the unexpected items coming out of mobile kitchens. When the Pizza People truck first started circulating, it was easy to fear the worst — maybe frozen pizzas reheated in an Easy-Bake oven. Instead, people who ordered from the pizza truck found themselves eating fresh, well-crafted individual pies with inventive topping combinations. After that successful start in 2011, Pizza People upgraded in 2013 to a fixed location, with the Pizza People Pub having operated continuously since then. Continue reading

Canyon Cafe

Anyone visiting the Arizona Center recently may have noticed some renovations going on at the development. Some of the changes are significant changes to the complex’s look, even if they fail to completely remediate the center’s major shortcoming: its inward focus and lack of street presence. Still, new owners are investing in the property and trying to give it a viable future with a fresh look and promises to add a hotel and housing. Amid all this change, one of the few survivors of the original tenant mix, Canyon Cafe, endures in one of the Arizona Center’s prime spots. Continue reading

MJ’s BBQ Chicken & Fish

Look at any map of development along light rail, including the one associated with this blog, and there’s a pretty big gap. It begins around 16th Street, where the Eastlake neighborhood with its historic churches gives away to a light industrial area that continues for two miles or so until the tracks reach Gateway Community College and Sky Harbor Airport. Businesses can struggle in this zone, but one recent arrival, MJ’s Barbecue Chicken & Fish (no commas), is not only worth the trip, but also drawing increasing numbers of customers despite its somewhat isolated location. Continue reading

Phoenix Public Market Cafe

Farmers markets are seemingly everywhere these days, but one of the longest-running ones is the Phoenix Public Market at the north end of Downtown. The open-air market, which just celebrated its 12th birthday, has one feature that few can claim: an adjacent restaurant that celebrates the bounty of the market and locally produced food seven days a week. The Phoenix Public Market Cafe, sometimes also known as the Cafe at the Phoenix Public Market, operates just east of the outdoor market site, three blocks south of the Roosevelt / Central light rail station. Continue reading

Pizzeria Bianco and Bar Bianco

It’s amazing how sometimes the most out-of-date, inaccurate information is what endures in popular opinion. Visit some online food and travel discussion sites, and you’ll see persistent hand-wringing about how to avoid three-hour waits for a table at Pizzeria Bianco. The problem is that even if Bianco is worth a wait of several hours, it has been several years since that kind of endurance test has been part of a meal there. The Pizzeria Bianco of today is a more accessible and less intimidating place than it was just a few years ago, without any loss of food quality. Continue reading

Cornish Pasty Company

Higher education, especially at the graduate level, often relies on case studies, detailed accounts of specific events, phenomena, or organizations. If anyone were to write a case study about the Cornish Pasty Company (CPC), it might be pretty interesting. From its humble beginnings a decade ago, CPC has become a mini-chain throughout the region, and two of its latest locations are urban ones. A brand new location on Monroe Street in Phoenix has just opened after years of delays, and last year a much smaller location on Mill Avenue in Tempe quietly debuted. Continue reading