a few cheaper options
I am coming to Phoenix in a few weeks for a conference at the Arizona Grand Resort, most meals will be provided but my wife is joining me and not attending the conference. We are Diner, Drive Ins and Dives kind of eaters, nothing fancy just good fresh food andon the cheaper side if possoble also any must eat at hole in the walls.
I'm not familiar with what, if any, good inexpensive options are available in that part of town, but central Tempe, downtown Phoenix, and midtown-ish Phoenix offer some good choices.
Haji Baba (inexpensive, tasty Middle Eastern food)
El Pollo Supremo (Mexican-style grilled chicken and fixins)
Restaurant Mexico (central Mexico style Mexican food)
Matt's Big Breakfast (high quality American breakfast & lunch fare--avoid peak times)
LoLo's Chicken and Waffles (fried chicken, soul food, and of course, waffles)
Pho Thanh (wide-ranging Vietnamese menu)
Tacos Atoyac (taqueria with southern/central Mexican leanings)
Gallo Blanco Cafe (slightly upscale takes on central Mexican standards)
I'm sure I'm missing some obvious choices, but this should get the ball rolling.
PS. I'll come back with place links for Tacos Atoyac, Haji Baba, & LoLo's
Matt's Big Breakfast
801 N 1st Ave, Phoenix, AZ 85004
423 S Mill Ave, Tempe, AZ 85281
El Pollo Supremo
221 W University Dr, Tempe, AZ 85281
Gallo Blanco Cafe
401 W Clarendon Avenue, Phoenix, AZ 85013
423 S Mill Ave # A, Tempe, AZ 85281
1702 W Camelback Rd, Phoenix, AZ 85015
Adding place links and one more suggestion.
Sonora Mesquite Grill is a bit closer than some of the other Phoenix options. They offer very good carne asada and barbacoa tacos and guacamole. They take particular pride in their asada, but I actually thought that their barbacoa was more interesting and a very good example of the preparation when compared to other restaurants around town.
Lo Lo's Chicken & Waffles
10 W Yuma St, Phoenix, AZ 85003
Haji-Baba Middle Eastern
1513 E Apache Blvd, Tempe, AZ 85281
1830 W Glendale Ave, Phoenix, AZ 85015
Sonora Mesquite Grill
4613 E Thomas Rd, Phoenix, AZ 85018
The area is pretty run down, but I don't think I would feel unsafe right there around the restaurant, especially during daylight hours. But then again, I've lived comfortably in areas that some people consider (erroneously IMO) to be dangerous.
My policy in these matters is to tell people to use their own judgment.
I've always felt perfectly safe there but I wouldn't stray more than half a block from the restaurant late at night. I used to worry but repeatedly have shown up at night and seen brand new range rover's, mercedes, etc. (this was back in the day when lolo's was open until 1 am too).
Lolos Chicken and Waffles was GREAT!! Good food it was packed and they only had 2 people working but we still got served pretty quickly. No problem with the area either. We were stuck at the resort most of the time and our other adventures out were not as good. Aunt Chiladsas on the resort property was OK.
In Tempe almost next to Haji Baba is Khai Hoan, the best Pho I've ever tried (even compared to Orange County).
Los Taquitos have to be mentioned in Tempe.
Asadedor el Toro in McDowell & 17th Ave. for good carne asada
I agree with Matt's, best burger ever.
I also second Pollo Supremo....stick with the chicken, its the best.
Los Reyes de la Torta, 7th Street just north of Dunlap.....a drive but well worth it.
1537 E Apache Blvd, Tempe, AZ 85281
4747 E Elliot Rd Ste 17, Phoenix, AZ 85044
3135 South 48th St # 110, Tempe, AZ
A similar place is San Diego Bay, but, I haven't been there is a very long time. I would go to these places more often, but, it is not my neighborhood, and similar choices are closer to me.
San Diego Bay Restaurant
9201 S Avenida Del Yaqui, Guadalupe, AZ 85283
Also, there is a duplicate place link for San Diego Bay:
Follow both place links to find similar posts that may be helpful. Just be sure to check for the most current address of the restaurants mentioned in older posts, and that they're still open.
San Diego Bay Restaurant
9201 S Avenida Del Yaqui Ste 11, Guadalupe, AZ 85283