With colorful murals and a collection of some of Phoenix' best art galleries, the Roosevelt Row Arts District definitely offers a feast for the eyes. But in recent years, this creative neighborhood in downtown Phoenix also has become one of the Valley's hottest spots for dining.
Bounded by Seventh Avenue to the west and 16th Street to the east, the arts district begins at the Interstate 10 and runs south to Fillmore.
Here are the best places to dine and drink next time you're in the area.
The Dressing Room
Located on the north side of Roosevelt between Second and Third streets, the Dressing Room is a pint-sized eatery with a miniature menu to match. But don't let the small selection scare you away, as this self-proclaimed "micro-restaurant" delivers big, bold flavors inspired by street food from around the world. Standout dishes include the All Day Burrito, stuffed with eggs, bacon hash browns, avocado and corn, and the Korean Yakitori, made with marinated ribeye and served with peanut sauce, miso slaw and lettuce cups. There's a full bar with a well-curated selection of beer and wine, plus a cocktail list that's equal parts inspired and approachable.
Details: 220 E. Roosevelt St., Phoenix, 602-777-0763, conceptuallysocial.com/the-dressing-room.
With a cantina, cafe and event venue under one roof, Paz Cantina aims to be the buzziest hangout on Roosevelt Row. You'll find the restaurant and bar in the middle of action on the northeast corner of Roosevelt and Third streets, serving a wide menu of Mexican fare including burritos, tortas, quesadillas, salads and a list of more than 10 types of tacos. The beverage selection is equally broad, with cocktails and more than three dozen types of beer, including local options from breweries such as San Tan, Four Peaks, Huss, OHSO and Papago. Once you're done enjoying the art, head to the patio for lawn games including bags, giant Jenga and oversize Connect Four.
Details: 330 E. Roosevelt St., Phoenix, 602-883-3651, pazcantina.com.
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Late-night eats on Roosevelt Row don't get much better than at Taco Chelo, which is open until 2 a.m. every Friday and Saturday night. This taqueria offers a small but satisfying menu of tacos, including carnitas, barbacoa, carne asada, fish and vegetable plus sides, salads, quesadillas and dessert. In the kitchen, you'll find chef Suny Santana, a up-and-coming talent from Monterrey, Mexico, and many of the dishes are made just the way his grandmother and mother taught him. On the beverage side, there is beer, wine and agave spirits only — but the frozen margaritas are not to be missed.
Details: 501 E. Roosevelt St., Phoenix, 602-368-5316, tacochelo.com.
The Lost Leaf
Open for more than a decade on Roosevelt Row, the Lost Leaf is a staple of First Fridays and the arts community. This cozy historic-home-turned-watering-hole is known for its sprawling beer selection and live music performances offered 365 days a year. The selection of beer on tapand in bottles and cans may be overwhelming, so don't be afraid to ask the bartender for a recommendation based on your preferences. A selection of about dozen wines rounds out the list.
Details: 914 N. Fifth St., Phoenix, 602-258-0014, thelostleaf.org.
Gallo Blanco, located on the northwest corner of 10th and Piece streets, may be a little farther from the heart of the First Friday action, but it's well worth the extra effort to find. In a neighborhood not lacking in Mexican options, Gallo Blanco stands out with a wide menu of specialties that goes well beyond the usual suspects. There are shareable appetizers like the ceviche del dia, elote callejero and envuelto, an addicting combination of al pastor and melted cheeses inside a corn tortilla, plus tacos, burritos, tortas and salads. Breakfast entrees including excellent flapjacks, an egg torta and migas are served until 4 p.m. and for dessert, don't skip an order of the house-made churros.
Details: 928 E. Pierce St., Phoenix, 602-327-0880, galloblancocafe.com.
Recently relocated from its original location to a new building on the southwest corner of Pierce and 10th streets, Welcome Diner serves Southern comfort food with a twist. There are familiar favorites like biscuits and gravy, mac and cheese and fried-chicken sandwiches, plus options for vegetarian and vegan diners, including a top-notch Southern panzanella salad and jackfruit po'boy. The cocktail list is divided into two categories, the first being "Welcome Style" drinks like the spot's signature Hurricane and the Industry Sour combining green chartreuse, Fernet Branca, lime and simple syrup. The second half of the list, under the header "Classics" offers up just that with options including the Sazerac, Last Word, Old Fashioned and Whiskey Sour.
Details: 929 E. Pierce St., Phoenix, 602-496-1111, welcomediner.net.
FOR SUBSCRIBERS:Don't sleep on this mezcal cocktail from Welcome Diner's late-night menu
It'd be hard to miss this new development about one block south of Roosevelt on First Street. Made of stacked shipping containers, the Churchill brings together a medley of locally owned businesses under one gigantic roof, including a pizza joint, acai bowl stand, wine store, Mexican eatery, sandwich shop and two bars. For cocktails, the best option is Pobrecito, a tropical-themed cocktail counter serving up one of the best pina coladas in town. Forbeer lovers, the Brill offers 24 beers on tap. No matter what you're drinking, you can't go wrong with Central Mexican fare from Provecho or a pie from Freak Brothers Pizza.
Details: 901 N. First St., Phoenix, thechurchillphx.com.
The Breadfruit and Rum Bar
Roosevelt Row dining doesn't get more elegant than at the Breadfruit and Rum Bar, a Jamaican restaurant and bar specializing in sustainable seafood and rum cocktails. Chef Danielle Leoni advocates for environmentally friendly practices in the restaurant industry. She not only runs a zero waste kitchen, but also features only sustainably caught seafood on the menu. Dishes that include Curried White Fish, Appleton Rum Sea Scallops and Jerk Pork and Polenta will transport you to a tropical paradise, if only for the duration of your meal.
Details: 108 E. Pierce St., Phoenix, 602-267-1266, thebreadfruit.com.
Snoh Ice Shavery
Ice cream has nothing on shaved snoh, a cross between traditional shaved ice and ice cream, which is the specialty at this downtown Phoenix dessert shop. Diners can satisfy their sweet cravings with a signature combo like the Coco Loco (coconut snoh topped with pineapple, coconut flakes and caramel) or build their own creation by selecting a flavor of snoh, toppings and glaze. The menu also includes slushies, milk tea and other beverages.
Details: 801 N. Second St., Phoenix, 602-358-7177, snohice.com.
Phoenix Public Market Cafe
This downtown Phoenix cafe, bakery and bar provides healthy options like salads, sandwiches and fresh pressed juice, plus slow-roasted entrees cooked in the kitchen's wood-fired rotisserie. Specialties include the BBQ Pulled Pork Sandwich served on a locally baked bun and the Rotisserie Chicken, which comes with your choice of two sides. In addition to an on-site bakery that produces traditional French macarons and vegan cookies, there's a full-service bar slinging cocktails, beer, wine and coffee.
Details: 14 E. Pierce St., Phoenix, 602-253-2700, phxpublicmarket.com/cafe.
Angels Trumpet Ale House
The draw for this restaurant and bar can be summed up with one number: 31. That's how many taps you'll find at Angels Trumpet Ale House, which means you can always count on finding something new on the beer list to taste. Alongside Arizona brews from names including THAT Brewery in Pine, Goldwater Brewing Company in Scottsdale and Four Peaks Brewery in Tempe, the list usually includes top national and international brands. To pair, the menu offers pub fare with a few unexpected twists. Next to a list of salads, pizzas, burgers and sandwiches, you'll find options like crispy Spam sliders, homemade Pop-Tarts and the Chet burrito stuffed with pulled pork, fries, beansand guacamole.
Details: 801 N. Second St., Phoenix, 602-252-2630, angelstrumpetalehouse.com.
The Vig Fillmore
The downtown location of this local chain of taverns offers a spacious back patio complete with an outdoor bar, televisions, bocce ball, misters, a fireplace and plenty of seating. Join the regular crowds in enjoying a drink from the list of beer, wine and cocktails or a selection from the menu, which is designed for wide appeal. Happy hour runs Monday through Friday from 3-6 p.m. and includes $6 signature cocktails, plus discounts on beer, wine and food.
Details: 606 N. Fourth Ave., Phoenix, 602-254-2242, thevig.us/the-vig-fillmore.
Searching for a romantic spot for dinner before you head to the art walk? Look no further than Cibo, the Italian eatery located on Fifth Avenue and Fillmore Street. Once a historic home, this restaurant serves some of the best ambiance anywhere in town, with a tree-covered patio decked out with twinkling lights and plenty of seating. On the menu, the focus is Neapolitan-style pizza, and there's no shortage of options for diners of all tastes. Not only will you see classic combinations including margherita, mushroom and prosciutto, but also a long list of white pizzas like the Di Notte topped with mozzarella, fontina, parmigiano, pecorino, gorgonzola and spicy salami.
Details: 603 N. Fifth Ave., Phoenix, 602-441-2697, cibophoenix.com.
The downtown Phoenix location of this Flagstaff original offers up a small but unconventional menu of Japanese noodles. The ramen shop tops their bowls with off-the-wall ingredients such as carnitas chicharron and ham fries and serves up original sides like General Tso's Cauliflower and a Pork and Kim Chi "Tostada." The cocktail list is short and focuses on Japanese-inspired riffs on familiar drinks. For example, the Osaka Smash substitutes muddled shiso leaf for mint in the classic whiskey beverage.
Details: 214 W. Roosevelt St., 602-795-1005, nonstopnoodleshop.com.
Gracie's Tax Bar
This dive bar falls on the west edge of the arts district, found the east side of Seventh Avenue, just south of McKinley Street. You won't find much in the way of elevated atmosphere, but you didn't come here for that. You're here from the cheap drinks and the clientele of cool downtowners. Step inside, and you'll find a casual interior bathed in red light with board games available for those who plan to settle into a booth and stay. Out back, a patio offers extra seating and live music on many weekend nights.
Details: 711 N. Seventh Ave., Phoenix, 602-366-0111, graciesphx.com.
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