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PHX: Downtown suggestions please (no car!)

My husband is attending a conference based at the Hyatt on N. Second Street starting September 9th. I need to plan a Sunday lunch and a Wednesday lunch (both will be around 1:30) as well as dinners for Saturday through Wednesday nights (fairly early - around 6:00). Full bar is preferred. Beer/wine a must. Our budget is moderate ($8 to 15 entrees) and our party size will range from 3 to 6 people, mostly men aged 40 to 50. I can get them to splurge on a taxi a few times and from what I have read here these need to be for Phoenix Ranch Market/Tradiciones and the Fry Bread House. They will accept a wait only if there is a bar available for that purpose. Need to stay fairly mainstream - nothing too exotic. We hail from North Carolina. I would really appreciate any suggestions! Thanks

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  1. This is going to be pretty tough. Most places within a few blocks of the Convention Center cater to the lunch trade. In addition, the low price point for entrees will knock out some nearby dinner favorites such as Kincaid's and Durant's. Would you be willing to go up to the $20-25 range for entrees? The savings in cab fares might offset the higher entree prices.

    By the way, the Fry Bread House does not have a liquor license, so keep that in mind. It's probably a better choice for one of your lunches.

    1 Reply
    1. re: silverbear

      I like your angle on the taxi vs price of dinner. Maybe we could swing a couple of the dinners up to the $20-25 entree range. Thanks for the info about no liquor at the FBH.

    2. Coach & Willie's on 3rd st and Jackson might be a good fit. It's next to the ball park, has a bar and is pretty standard American fare. I have to ask, though. If they want "nothing too exotic", how'd you come up with Ranch Market and Fry Bread House?

      3 Replies
      1. re: ajs228

        Thanks for the suggestion.
        Re: exotic - thought I could get by with those two due to their "regional" nature. Read about them on this board and they sound great!

        1. re: puzzlelady

          They are great, and a good way to get a taste of Arizona cuisine.

        2. re: ajs228

          Coach & Willie's - Heh!

          As I type this, I'm sitting here enjoying a couple slices of leftover Mignon pizza from Coach & Willie's obtained after the dreadful loss to the Giants last night.

          It was my first time in there and if the Mignon pizza is any indication of how the food is, then I'll be heading back on future visits to Chase Field. The pizza crust was perfect if not just a smidge underdone but still had loads of flavor along with a duo of crispness and chew. It was topped with roasted garlic, carmelized onions, and filet cooked to your liking. I was fully prepared for a pizza with "tough" beef on top but this was different. It appears that they are actually using filet. The beef was easily chewed through on the first attempt at a bite. Scores major points for me. It was happy hour which meant that the pizza and my one beer were both 1/2 off. The total bill was just under $10. Hard to beat.

          Anyway - my point is that it seems like a decent place with decent food. I understand that the location is probably pretty good but it seems like it's tucked away. ( Behind US Airways arena )

        3. I think based on the criteria, you will have a wonderful time at Sam's Cafe at the Arizona Center, just two blocks away. I always have a good time at Bar Smith as well which is just 1 block south of the hotel. I'm just four blocks from the Hyatt and probably been to every restaurant within walking distance 10 times... and Sam's, Bar Smith, and My Big Fat Greek Restaurant reign supreme in my book.

          1. The choices named above are probably good given your constraints. For steak and seafood, Durant's and Kincaid's are good. Durant's is more unique but a cab ride away; Kincaid's is a local outpost of small chain but walkable from the Convention Center.

            2611 North Central Avenue, Phoenix, AZ 85004

            1602 E Roosevelt St, Phoenix, AZ 85006

            Kincaid's Fish Chop/Steakhouse
            2 South Third Street, Phoenix, AZ 85004

            Sam's Cafe
            455 N 3rd St Ste 114, Phoenix, AZ 85004

            Fry Bread House
            4140 N 7th Ave, Phoenix, AZ 85013

            Coach & Willie's
            412 S 3rd St, Phoenix, AZ 85004

            My Big Fat Greek Restaurant-Phoenix
            455 N 3rd Ave, Phoenix, AZ 85003

            Bar Smith
            130 E Washington St, Phoenix, AZ 85004

            2 Replies
            1. re: silverbear

              Forgot to add, La Tolteca is good for an authentic mexican meal. Counter service so its best for lunch, but it's a 10 minute walk from the Hyatt.

              1. re: silverbear

                I wanted to chime in on Kincaid's. I visited their happy hour (half off appetizers) during the AZ Auto Show and thought it was really good value, particularly the Classic Sampler (Teriyaki Tenderloin was amazing) and the Meatloaf Sliders were good as well. I had the wings, which I really enjoyed.

              2. The Copper Square Ambassadors mentioned Seamus McCaffreys Irish Pub and Nicks 101 Bistro. Any experience with these two?

                6 Replies
                1. re: puzzlelady

                  Seamus McCaffrey's is a lot of fun, usually with good live music. I've only tried the food once or twice, but it was OK.

                  1. re: puzzlelady

                    Seamus is my local watering hole. I eat elsewhere.

                    Nick's... well, its his 4th or 5th restaurant and they all failed before this one.

                    1. re: AZBconcierge

                      Is this Nick's 101 Bistro related to the Nick's at Grayhawk and Pinnacle Peak?

                      1. re: rxenergie

                        Unrelated, I believe. Nick's 101 is the latest from Nick Lagidakis:


                        1. re: silverbear

                          Interesting. For some reason, I thought that Euro Cafe in Mesa was a Lagidakis venture, but it's not mentioned in the story. Besides the crazy portion sizes, is there/was there ever a connection between Nick and Euro Cafe?

                          1. re: hohokam

                            Romeo, the owner/chef of Euro Cafe, cooked with Nick for years -- I believe it was at Nick's Golden Cuisine, at 38th/Thomas and/or 37th/Indian School -- before opening his own place with his wife, and with Nick's blessing, in Mesa at Longmore & Southern in the late 80s or early 90s. At first, Euro Cafe's menu was very similar to Nick's and the food was very comparable in quality, quantity and price. Over the years, they have evolved, although I've never been to Euro since it moved to Gilbert and haven't been to 101 since Nick arrived there. I hope he makes it -- good cook, poor businessman, terrible at choosing locations ... Like when he open his cafe at Hayden and Osborn virtually next door to the mob-run Uncle Sal's ... they wouldn't let him serve pizza and the rest is history ...

                  2. I don't believe anyone's mentioned Cibo as of yet. It's a bit of a hoof but it falls well within your price range. Very good artisan thin-crust pizzas, antipastos, Italian wines and beers in a historic house. Your early dinner time should insure there won't be too much of a wait.

                    Also, for a bit of a splurge I'm pretty sure you won't be unhappy with Circa 1900, fine dining across from Pizzeria Bianco in Heritage Square. The space is lovely, it's in a Craftsman bungalow, and they do a lot of locally-sourced organic ingredients.

                    I'll also second Sam's Cafe for nonthreatening southwestern close by. They do a good happy hour, it's a good spot to meet up.

                    Finally, for the novelty factor and for decent bar food, consider Alice Cooper's Town just south of the arena. Your group is of an age that will appreciate the memorabilia. Hard Rock Cafes wish they had a fraction of the cachet of Vince's place, and the food is decent, and local bands sometimes play.

                    603 N. 5th Ave., Phoenix, AZ 850103

                    Circa 1900
                    628 E Adams St, Phoenix, AZ 85004

                    Alice Cooper's Town
                    101 E Jackson St, Phoenix, AZ 85004

                    1. For lunch option, Crazy Jim's at 3rd Ave and Washinton is in walking distance. Good salads, subs, pita. Have lunched at Portland's a few times which is at Portland and Central - quite, prompt - business lunch service, straight forward food.

                      Calabria deli at Roosevelt and about 3rd or 5th ave is a good option too. Not too far away to walk but if it's still over 100 degrees may just be too hot.


                      1 Reply
                      1. re: Bazel

                        If you're thinking of going as far as Roosevelt:
                        Did anyone else mention Carly's Bistro yet? Very affordable, trendy atmosphere, and good beer list/cocktails. Food is sandwiches and pita-wrap things that are good, not great. Hours: all day, IIRC. I've gone for lunch and I know they're open for dinner on First Fridays...
                        Also in the area is a bar that has gotten some pretty good reviews although I haven't made it there myself: The Roosevelt Tavern. Some food (not typical bar fare - owner is Matt Pool of Matt's Big Breakfast - great breakfast) and apparently pretty long beer list. Open from 5 until 12 on weeknights, not typical for downtown...

                        816 N 3rd St, Phoenix, AZ 85004

                        Carly's Bistro
                        128 E Roosevelt St, Phoenix, AZ 85004

                      2. I'm thrilled to have so many good options. This is really going to secure my post as the Dining Director (an unpaid post)! Will report back on our luck. Based on the weather forecast, 100% cotton is in order. Thank you!

                        1. At 7th Ave. & McDowell (short cab ride from the Hyatt) there's a restaurant called My Florist which is rather different. The entrees are restricted to soups, sandwiches and salads along with a bar. Therefore, the prices will definitely fall easily within the parameters you set up. What makes this restaurant special, however, is the really cool decore and the music from one of the Valley's most talented pianists. Even if you don't get there for dinner, I recommend hitting it for breakfast or lunch.

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: Fendel V

                            This is a big thank you to all of the folks who sent suggestions. We had a very nice trip to your city.
                            Sam's Cafe was our first stop. We ate there twice. The food was very good. The service was a bit unpolished but earnest. Chix enchiladas and the chips were interesting.
                            Focaccia Fiorentina was also a double stop. The food was a good value. Only disapppointment was they wouldn't let us purchase wine and wouldn't tell us why. They clearly had some in a cooler. Oh well, had my first Italian beer instead.
                            Kincaid's was amazing. The halibut cheeks special on Thursday was worth every penny. So was the Kincaid's Amber Lager. Service was professional.
                            Coach & Willies was a B. Fish & chips, burger, and a southwest style salad - nothing bad and nothing super but we were full for a reasonable price.
                            While I was on a Grand Canyon tour with the tour group Detours - would recommend them - the guys went to Seamus McCaffrey's and said it was OK. A Sedona note: the tour guide ordered our lunch from a place called Sedona Memories and it was the best turkey sandwich I have ever, ever had and I used to own a deli. I subed mayo for the cream cheese but other than that had it their way.
                            A classmate from long ago treated me to lunch at Barrio Cafe. What a treat. Of course the guacamole was a must. I had the Mayan style pork and enjoyed it very much.
                            We have a trip to Scottsdale planned for April 08. Will want to get your ideas again! Thanks

                            1. re: puzzlelady

                              glad to hear you had a good time.

                              Jeff and Jeff over at Detours do an awesome job. I had the pleasure of doing an overnight tour of theirs and it was a lot of fun.