Gus’s Fried Chicken

One of the biggest food trends of the past few years has been Nashville hot chicken, fried poultry with a spicy coating. Now that so many local restaurants offer that Tennessee treat, it’s worth thinking about that state’s other major city. Memphis, with just about the same population as Nashville, offers its own culture and traditions 200 miles to the west. While the cities differ in music, with Memphis being known for the blues and Nashville for country, they both share a fondness for fried chicken, and Gus’s is bringing its food to territory beyond its Memphis base.

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Lylo Swim Club

At so many local hotels and resorts, the poolside restaurant is an afterthought, a snack bar that offers only a subset of the menu found in a more substantial indoor dining area. For the most part, that makes sense since people spending time by the pool may be more concerned with swimming or sunbathing than eating. Nevertheless, one recently refurbished Phoenix hotel has made its restaurant and bar by the pool the biggest culinary offering on the property. The appropriately named Lylo Swim Club is the breezy main restaurant for the Rise Uptown Hotel.

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Nanny’s

It’s not uncommon for restaurants to begin as food trucks, operating with a mobile model before settling into a permanent location. Sometimes, the transition can be as simple as parking the food truck and continuing to use its kitchen to prepare food to be served inside the new restaurant building. Nanny’s, which specializes in fried chicken, French fries, and fish and chips, has followed just that approach with its move from a Laveen-based food truck to a small restaurant on Washington Street, about two blocks from the 12th Street light rail platforms.

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Thai Basil (Park Central)

Recent headlines have lamented the closure of MetroCenter, once the largest mall in the Southwest. Long before MetroCenter’s rise and eventual fall, Phoenix saw the development of its first mall: Park Central. In the heart of the area now known as Midtown, Park Central’s development in the 1950s was the first step in retail’s departure from the traditional downtown business district three miles south. Of course, Park Central, like most malls, has faded as a shopping destination, but it is now finally re-emerging as an office and health care cluster. Continue reading “Thai Basil (Park Central)”

Southern Rail

For over a century, the Sunset Limited, the legendary passenger train that runs from Los Angeles to New Orleans, stopped in Phoenix on its way across the southern tier of the country. That particular train now passes through Maricopa, 35 miles to the south, leaving Phoenix without intercity passenger rail. Despite that unfortunate development, it’s comforting that a restaurant, appropriately named Southern Rail, brings a bit of cooking from New Orleans and the South to Uptown Phoenix, just a block from the Central / Camelback light rail station. Continue reading “Southern Rail”

Mrs. White’s Golden Rule Cafe

Just east of Downtown, between Heritage Square and Eastlake Park, lies a changing area of Phoenix. Part of the Azteca Plaza shopping center has been demolished, and several new apartment buildings are under construction or recently completed. Amid these developments, there are some aspects of the neighborhood that remain much the same as they have been for decades. Two historic churches, Immaculate Heart and Tanner Chapel AME, are landmarks in the area, and in between them lies Mrs. White’s Golden Rule Cafe, a half-century-old restaurant. Continue reading “Mrs. White’s Golden Rule Cafe”

Nocawich (temporarily closed)

It’s fashionable for cities to have neighborhoods identified by two syllable nicknames. The classic example is SoHo (for “south of Houston Street”) in New York. Here in Phoenix, local versions such as RoRo (Roosevelt Row) and CenPho (Central Phoenix) have met with a mixture of acceptance and derision. One local full service restaurant, Noca, embraced this trend for several years with a name that reflected its location just north of Camelback Road. The original Noca has been closed since 2014, but its legacy endures in a casual sandwich shop known as Nocawich. Continue reading “Nocawich (temporarily closed)”

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