After a long day of workshops and networking at WordCamp Phoenix, there’s nothing better than digging in to a good meal. Luckily, downtown Phoenix has plenty to offer when it comes to food. You can find almost anything, from an American breakfast to a Caribbean seafood feast, within just a short walk of the convention center in the city’s pleasant February weather.
Here are ten top-notch picks for where to chow down after pressin’ it up at WordCamp Phoenix.
Since its founding in 1988, the nationally-recognized Pizzaria Bianco has been a downtown Phoenix staple. Founder and chef Chris Bianco is often credited as one of the driving forces in the artisanal pizza movement. The short menu features wood-fired pizzas topped with housemade mozzarella. Although delicious, the restaurant is good for small groups, 1-4 people. They don’t deliver, and they only take reservations for groups of six to ten, so make sure to grab some friends and call ahead.
Caribbean seafood may seem out-of-place in the deserts of Arizona, but there’s a reason The Breadfruit and Rum Bar has been featured on so many “best restaurants” lists. While the menu features Jamaican staples like jerk chicken and plantains, you can expand your palate and enjoy curried crab or a whole grilled fish with a tamarind glaze. The bar boasts over 150 brands of rum, so you’re sure to find one that fits your fancy.
Trapp Haus opened its doors last February and immediately created a hubbub in the Pheonix food scene. The menu features brisket, pork, and chicken every way you can think of, from sandwiches and bowls to “Mac Rolls”—brisket folded into smoked mac and cheese, then fried and served with a signature sauce. Trapp Haus also offers some seafood eats, like lobster tails and fried shrimp.
4) Gallo Blanco
Located in the historic Garfield District, Gallo Blanco is a Mexican restaurant renowned for its tortas, tacos, and elote. After a two year hiatus, the restaurant is back by popular demand. Menu highlights include the “Naco Torta,” a housemade telera roll full of steak, two eggs, and avocado, and “Elote Callejero,” the restaurant’s take on the Mexican street food staple of an ear of corn with mayo, cheese, and chile piquin.
Looking to dive into Phoenix’s craft beer scene? Look no further than Mother Bunch Brewing, located right in Roosevelt Row, Phoenix’s walkable art’s district. The brewpub boasts an expansive menu of pub grub, as well as about 20 beers on tap. You can find the typical beer hall favorites—burgers, sandwiches, or soft-baked pretzels—but there are also plenty of options if you are more of a foodie. Try the “P.E.I. Mussels” or build your own meat and cheese board for an appetizer, order a “Backyard BBQ Burger” topped with pulled pork, beer cheese, and Creole-style mustard as an entrée, and finish with a chocolate chip stout milkshake for dessert (if you somehow still have room!).
The name isn’t lying—start your day right with a truly big diner breakfast. Matt’s is a popular place to grab a cup of coffee, a stack of fluffy pancakes, or scrambled eggs with salami. It’s a crowded, but cute spot, with friendly service and a classic breakfast nook ambiance. Matt’s serves breakfast until it closes at 2:30, but also offers a lunch menu with more diner staples, like burgers or a BLT.
7) The Duce
The Duce is a truly unique hangout, so don’t expect a traditional dining experience. The Duce is part diner, part cocktail bar, and part retail space that draws crowds young and old with its boxing ring and swing dancing floor. But The Duce isn’t all style, no substance. Stop by for the mac and cheese muffins, which were featured on Guy Fieri’s “Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives,” or try any one of a variety of sliders with one of many featured cocktails.
You can’t ask a local where to eat without The Arrogant Butcher entering the conversation. It’s a stylish steakhouse featuring new American comfort food, located just a block from the convention center. The menu includes a raw bar with crab, oysters, and shrimp, lighter eats like salads and sandwiches, and hearty entrées from prime rib to jambalaya. The Arrogant Butcher also offers a variety of cocktails and an extensive list of wines.
Elevated southern food has been on the rise for a while now, and The Larder + The Delta is a prime example. You won’t find southern-fried soul food here. Instead, the menu is proudly vegetable-centric to accurately reflect it’s Southern roots. Highlights include swordfish served with turnips, benne tahini, fennel slaw, and a caper currant emulsion, or the broken rice porridge served with braised greens, mushrooms and a soft-cooked egg.
The Pheonix Public Market Cafe is where to go to find casual, simple foods made with local ingredients and some southwestern flair. A lot of the menu, which consists mostly of bowls, salads, and sandwiches, can be made vegetarian, vegan, or dairy-free. But the cafe also offers a half rotisserie chicken and a pork chile verde pot pie. The bar is both indoors and out, perfect for sitting back with a glass of local wine or a trendy cocktail on a cool evening.
Can’t wait to check out one (or more) of these restaurants at WordCamp Phoenix? Neither can we! It’s going to be a great time. Be sure to tag us if you hit up any of our favorite hot spots on Twitter, and be sure to use the hashtag #PressOnPhoenix.