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Oct 2, 2009 11:43 AM

TEMPE - Gift Cards

Some Asian friends have just moved to Tempe where the husband will be working on his PhD at ASU. I'm not famillar with the area but would like to send them 2 or 3 restaurant gift cards. I would like to buy $25 cards, but for restaurants where $25 would cover about half the bill for lunch or dinner. I also need to be able to purchase the cards online. Any suggestions would be appreciated. Thanks!

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  1. Is the ethnicity of the recipients mentioned because it is linked to what type of food they are likely to enjoy? If so, does that mean south Asian (Indian, Pakistani, etc.), southeast Asian (Vietnamese, Thai), or something else?

    Regardless, I don't think many restaurants aside from big chains sell gift cards online.

    1. I agree with silverbear; I don't think you'll be able to find restaurant-specific gift cards online, other than those offered by national chains. There are various generic pre-paid gift (debit) cards one can order online, but I don't know that they are offered in denominations under $100.

      Some local restaurants around town offer gift certificates, but you would most like have to purchase those with a credit card over the phone or by check through the mail.

      1. I only mentioned that these folks are Asian in an effort to convey their lack of US restaurant knowledge, not just their unfamiliarity with the Tempe area. In fact, I believe Asian cuisine would be at the bottom of their list of foods to try as they have already found a Korean market and are cooking at home.. Chain restaurants would be fine. Other than Chili's, I don't know what chains are in the Tempe area. If anyone would post a few, I'll check for web sites and online gift cards. Thanks again.

        2 Replies
        1. re: JKSea

          Thanks for clarifying. Tempe itself is one of the least "chainy" parts of the Phoenix Metro Area. A lot of the restaurants there are independents and focus on inexpensive food oriented toward the university community.

          Two independent favorites in Tempe are Cafe Boa (Mill Avenue location) and House of Tricks. Neither sells gift cards online, but both could probably sell one to your over the phone and send it in the mail.

          As for chains, there is an outpost of Z Tejas on Mill Avenue in Downtown Tempe. That chain sells gift cards online:

          Heavy-duty chain territory is found along Ray Road which is just over the border in Chandler and the Ahwatukee neighborhood of Phoenix. You might use Google Maps to scan for chains along Ray Road near I-10 if you want to see what is available there.

          1. re: silverbear

            Flemings, Roys, Tomaso's, Outback, Carraba's, Charleston's, On The Border, Romano's Macaroni Grill and, of course, In N Out are all basically at that intersection.

        2. The places I can think of of that sell gift cards online are more casual than what you're looking for:
          PF Changs is within walking distance of campus. You can buy gift cards online at

          Chompies is within biking distance of campus. Looks like they will sell you a gift card over the phone.

          There is a Chipotle within walking distance of campus. $25 here would more than pay for lunch for 2.

          For something a little more upscale, but still within walking distance of campus you might try calling Caffe Boa or House of Tricks.

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

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

          1 Reply
          1. re: achicken

            Thanks for all the great suggestions!

          2. There's a local chain called Oregano's which has online purchase of gift certificates. They are popular, because the food's pretty decent -- pizzas, salads, wine and desserts, usually dining al fresco, with swing or Rat pack music playing. They fit your price range and make for a nice evening out for a couple -- especially if they can dine at off hours to circumvent the common wait.

            Oregano's Pizza Bistro
            523 W University Dr, Tempe, AZ 85281