This is it, readers, my last Dine Like a Local 2020-2021 post. Featuring the best lunch spots around Phoenix that The Scout Guide Phoenix/Scottsdale IG followers nominated and voted on, this list is filled with gems found in each and every corner of the Valley. If anything stood out to me, it is that tacos are a very popular lunch food in this town. So, on that note, I am raising a glass filled with a margarita on the rocks to wish you a hearty Salut! xoM
Blanco Tacos & Tequila
With four Valley locations (this includes one in Phoenix Sky Harbor airport), Blanco Tacos & Tequila is a Fox Restaurant Concepts offering modern Mexican fair in colorful, beach-y settings. Enjoy tequila flights and `a la carte tacos, or go for the classic burrito or bowl layered with savory fillings, like spicy Machaca short rib or red chili chicken, fresh salsas and a delicious house guacamole. Good to know: Take advantage of Tuesday25 where you get 25% off your order or purchase a Fox Concepts Gift Cards from Costco where you pay $79.99 for 2 – $50 gift cards.
Boca Taqueria is a family-run Mexican restaurant serving the East Valley, with locations in northeast Mesa, Gilbert, and soon to come in Eastmark (Mesa). I have been to the original location on Greenfield Road after attending many a child’s swim meet, and we love the charming Mexican tile decor and the carne asada tacos. My personal fave, what I consider my “comfort food” as it is a staple in San Antonio taquerias, are the bean and cheese tacos. Good to know: Sign up for Boca’s Reward program and earn 1 point for every $1.50 you spend and receive a $2.50 discount for every 50 points you redeem.
Calitacos used to operate as a food truck before establishing a brick and mortar in Tolleson. Coined as one of the best lunch spots in Phoenix among West Valley locals, Calitacos specializes in street tacos and tacos de birria, typically made from goat and served for special occasions. Try the Birria Queso Tacos, the Mulitas, and the Cali Super Nachos. Most recently, I noticed on IG they have sopes and a trompo (for tacos al pastor). Good to know: There are no delivery options at Calitacos, but you can order ahead for take out.
9820 W Lower Buckeye Rd #103, Tolleson, AZ 85353 www.vestu.xyz/calitacos/
With two Valley locations, Chula Seafood specializes in ocean to plate dining. In their infancy, founders Jon and Mandy Heflin would buy swordfish off the fishing boats in San Diego wharf and drive the fresh catch to Phoenix to sell at the Vincent’s Saturday farmer’s market and to select restaurants. Now the operation has grown to a processing facility and two restaurants, with plans to expand Valley wide. Good to know: Check online for Chula’s daily specials…the Swordfish Cubano is a must!
Cocina Madrigal Tacos & Tequila
Chef Leo Madrigal opened Cocina Madrigal in South Phoenix and crafted a menu based on his extensive 30-year history working and developing menus for Z’Tejas Grill, Taco Guild, Hopdoddy Burger Bar, and Salty Sow. Cocina Madrigal specializes in homemade enchiladas, handcrafted tacos and specialty items such as Oaxaca Fundido, and Hatch Green Chili Pork. Good to know: Cocina Madrigal in 2019 was listed at the #5 place to get tacos in the U.S. by Travel + Leisure magazine.
4044 S 16th St, Phoenix, AZ 85040 www.cocinamadrigal.com
Dog Haus San Tan
Dog Haus creates hand-crafted hormone- and antibiotic-free hot dogs, sausages, burgers, and plant-based proteins, all served on King’s Hawaiian rolls. The menu at Dog Haus is rounded out by local craft beers, signature cocktails, and premium shakes. Good to know: Dog Haus also has a location in Scottsdale Quarter, but the new SanTan Village location features the California-based chain’s first beer garden in Arizona.
2224 E Williams Field Rd #107, Gilbert, AZ 85295 www.santanvillage.doghaus.com
Eric’s Family BBQ
Hailed as having the best brisket and mac’n’cheese outside of Texas, Eric’s Family BBQ was a spot I knew I had to try. If you want a tasty BBQ meal in the Glendale/Litchfield with large servings, friendly servers, and speedy service, then a trip out to the West Valley is in the cards for you. Good to know: Eric’s Family BBQ has a very loyal following…if in a rush, call to pre-order for dine in or take out. Closed Mondays. THE SCOUT GUIDE PHOENIX/SCOTTSDALE WINNER.
12345 W Indian School Rd, Avondale, AZ 85392 www.ericsfamilybbq.com
Gadzooks Enchiladas and Soups
With four Valley locations, Gadzooks started in 2013 on the SE corner of 7th Street and Osborn in an old dress shop. Gadzooks is a family-run business serving customizable enchiladas and tacos, soups, nachos, chopped salads, and the owner’s mother’s delicious pumpkin cookies. Good to know: There are options for vegetarians, my preference being the enchiladas stuffed with sautéed spinach and mushrooms and topped with their spicy green salsa.
Gecko Grill has been serving Mexican food in Gilbert on Baseline Road since 1999, and, according to their website, is set to open a new spot in Scottsdale. Gecko Grill is best known for their Mexico City Street Tacos, Southwest Shrimp Burro, and Durango Chile Relleno. Good to know: Can you say free salsa, chips and bean dip!
4341 E Baseline Rd, Gilbert, AZ 85234 www.geckogrillaz.com
Ingo’s Tasty Food
Ingo’s Tasty Food is a gourmet food stand featuring an eating counter and picnic garden seating on the corner of 40th Street and Campbell. The menu is simple and clean with salads, burgers, chicken sandwiches, craft draft beers, and handcrafted cocktails. All food is available to go. Good to know: Call in your order and enjoy curbside service. As it is owned by LGO Hospitality, will find many similar items from La Grand Orange on Ingo’s menu, like the Kale Quinoa Salad. Also, I think it is cool that they make their own cashew cheese.
4502 N 40th St, Phoenix, AZ 85018 www.ingostastyfood.com
Joy Ride Taco House
Joyride Taco House is owned by Upward Projects and has locations in Gilbert and on a shaded patio on Central Avenue in Phoenix. Tacos take center stage, but there are plenty options for salads, enchiladas, and burritos. Don’t miss out on the Hatch Green Chili Queso, the Crispy Shrimp Al Pastor, and the Blood Orange Margaritas. Good to know: Order for pick up on their website or delivery via Doordash.
Taco Chelo is a collaboration between three talents, Chef Suny Santana, Artist Gennaro Garcia, and Chef Aaron Chamberlin. The menu at Taco Chelo is simple, and the tacos, ranging from Beer Battered Fish, to Vegetable, to Carne Asada, are served on corn tortillas made by Chef Suny’s mother. I really think the fish tacos are as good as some I have eaten in Ensenada. Good to know: Wednesday special are Al Pastor Tacos, and on the weekends from 11-3 they have a special brunch menu with items like chilaquiles and breakfast tortas.
501 E Roosevelt St, Phoenix, AZ 85004 www.tacochelo.com
The Bread & Honey House
The Bread & Honey House is a small neighborhood restaurant that opened in 2019 on Van Buren near Sky Harbor Airport. Chef Javier Perez, formerly of LGO, Luci’s and Pomelo, serves up tasty comfort food like chilaquiles and fresh fish tacos fried and battered in Modelo Blanco beer. Good to know: The Bread & Honey House is closed Sundays, and be sure to try the El Hefty Breakfast Sandwich. THE SCOUT GUIDE PHOENIX/SCOTTSDALE WINNER.
4700 E Van Buren St, Phoenix, AZ 85008 www.thebreadandhoneyhouse.com
From the family of restaurants at Common Ground Culinary comes The Macintosh, with its menu of modern comfort classics from Chef and Owner Christopher Collins. Menu highlights include Southern Shrimp and Grits, Barbecued Beef Ribs, Shrimp Po’ Boy and an expansive selection of brews and whiskey. Good to know: On Tuesdays, The Macintosh offers half off bottles of any wine, dine-in only.
2119 E Camelback Rd, Phoenix, AZ 85016 www.themacintoshaz.com
Genuine Concepts, The Vig, has five Valley locations that serve lunch and weekend brunch in upscale neighborhood tavern settings. The ambiance is fun and lively with patios, fireplaces, sport screens, bocce, and live music. The menu offers a variety of dishes, from street tacos to sandwiches, salads, and poke bowls. Good to know: Happy Hour is from 3 pm to 6 pm Monday thru Friday.
Twisted Grove Parlor + Bar
Another Common Ground Culinary concept, Twisted Grove serves modern yet approachable new American cuisine such as Rotisserie Chicken BLT, Wild Mushroom Pappardelle, Tuscan Pork Porterhouse, and the famous Collins Brothers Prime Rib. Good to know: Don’t miss out on their award-winning Butterscotch Pecan Pie. Good to know: Items off the Kids’ Menu are 50% off during Twisted Hour, daily 3 pm to 6 pm (dine-in only).
8220 N Hayden Rd, Scottsdale, AZ 85258 www.twistedgrove.com
Finishing off the best lunch spots in Phoenix, Zinburger has four Valley locations (including Sky Harbor airport) serving a hearty menu of burgers, shakes, and, you guessed it, wine. From Fox Restaurant Concepts, Zinburger has a vast selection of beer and wine to complement every style of burger on their menu. Try the Samburger, with applewood smoked bacon, American cheese, lettuce and 1000 island dressing, with a side of truffle fries or hand-cut zucchini fries and a glass of Cannonball Cabernet Sauvignon. Good to know: Take advantage of Tuesday25 where you get 25% off your order or purchase a Fox Concepts Gift Cards from Costco where you pay $79.99 for 2 – $50 gift cards.
Now… what’s for dinner? Here is a list of the best local restaurants nominated for the Scout Guide’s Favorite Dinner section.