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Jan 27, 2009 02:31 PM

Tempe hole-in-wall recs???

DH and I are headed to see the Lion King on Friday. We'll only have about an hour/hour and a half (depending on traffic) for dinner, before we need to head to the Gammage. We're not necessarily looking for something fancy, but something quick and over the top delish. No specific style of food--we like it all. Near the Gammage would be a plus. Any recommendations?

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  1. To make the experience as stress-free as possible, I'd do one of the following:

    Park in Downtown Tempe, walk to a restaurant, and then walk to Gammage. In other words, park once and avoid the last-minute rush to trying to find parking near Gammage right before the show.


    Take light rail to either Mill Ave / 3rd St or College / Veterans Way and walk to a nearby restaurant and then Gammage, which is about 1/2 a mile from either station.

    With that in mind, these would be my recommendations near Gammage:

    Restaurant Mexico -- A Tempe classic -- cheap and good, more interior Mexican than typical border food

    Chuck Box -- Another Tempe classic -- basic burgers and brew

    Caffe Boa -- Eat in the bar and enjoy the happy hour specials on appetizers and wine by the glass.

    Phoenicia -- Middle Eastern, good and cheap

    Paradise Hawaiian BBQ -- Hawaiian plate lunches with a strong Korean influence

    Caffe Boa
    398 S. Mill Avenue, Tempe, AZ 85281

    Restaurant Mexico
    423 S Mill Ave, Tempe, AZ 85281

    Chuck Box
    202 E University Dr, Tempe, AZ 85281

    Phoenicia Cafe
    616 S Forest Ave, Tempe, AZ 85281

    Paradise Hawaiian
    580 S College Ave, Tempe, AZ 85281

    1. I'm tempted to say Cornish Pasty Co., but that takes you out of the area of Gammage pretty fast. One of my little secret favorites in that area is Bison Witches, a small bar and sandwich shop tucked away off Mill on 6th. The menu is dominated by sandwiches. All I ever get is the 1/2 sandwich and soup combo, which gets you half of one of their sandwiches (half is plenty big on its own, trust me) and a bread bowl of soup.

      Once you've parked somewhere around Mill, you can take either the Flash Back or Orbit Jupiter Back from the Mill area down to Gammage. Flash runs every 10 minutes, Orbit every 15, and you can pick up either of them across Mill from Bison Witches. Both do stop running at 10, so depending on when the show lets out you may have to walk back up to Mill, but it isn't too far, and much better than dealing with the throngs of cars trying to exit the parking lot.

      Bison Witches Bar & Deli
      21 E 6th St Ste 146, Tempe, AZ 85281

      4 Replies
      1. re: JK Grence the Cosmic Jester

        The flash is great, I take it as an ASU student, and it's free! I wouldn't walk from Caffe Boa to Gammage, it's a little too far from comfort especially if you're dressed up for the theater. Also, I eat at Mucho Gusto often after class and really like it although it's not a complete hole in the wall, it is very good mexican.

        Link to seth chadwicks review(i only once experienced slow service there):

        Mucho Gusto
        603 W University Dr, Tempe, AZ 85281

        1. re: AnonymousWaitress

          I would heartily ditto Mucho Gusto for the OP's request.

          Caffe Boa is just about the only place I send people on Mill anymore, but if you want casual and tasty and close by, Mucho would fit my bill.

          1. re: AnonymousWaitress

            I've walked from Boa to Gammage before and never found it to be a problem, especially in mild January weather. I don't dress up much for the theater, though.

            Mucho Gusto has never thrilled me, but a lot of people seem to like it.

            1. re: silverbear

              Agree. I have found MG over-rated after a couple of visits. Good chips and salsa though.

        2. Love the Chuck Box and Casey Moore's..

          1. Had the same dilemma last Saturday. We settled on House of Tricks and while it wasn't quick, it was over the top delish! If you do have an hour and a half, you can make it, there's public parking right across the street from the restaurant and after dinner walk straight down Forrest through ASU's campus to Gammage.

            House of Tricks
            114 E 7th St, Tempe, AZ 85281

            1. It's a fantastic theater experience and I would hope you'd make it a little upscale, which for us in AZ means wearing pants!

              If I were taking a lady for a night out to a Broadway touring show, I'd at least opt for a bit of adult/urban vibe, which you can defintely get in Tempe and not break the bank. As mentioned, Boa and Tricks are good places for chow and wine. I've also been pleased with La Bocca. I've not been to MG, but have heard good things. That said, all are within walking distance.

              1 Reply
              1. re: tastyjon

                Ha ha! True TastyJon - It is a truly fantastic theater experience and I went in a dress and a shawl! I was shocked at how many wore shorts and t-shirts. If I was going to do it again, I'd wear the same ensemble and wear comfortable sandals and ride the light rail. And find something nearby to eat.

                We had intermission during the play that I saw and there was over-priced bad wine and room temp appetizers to eat.