1) Chuck Box
This burger joint has not changed much over the decades. It opened on University Ave in Tempe in 1972.
The secret to their great tasting burgers is the Mesquite charcoal they use. Most places use a flat top of a gas grill but not Chuck Box. The place is just like you would expect a grub box the kind of food you expect to be an old wagon on the prairie serving fresh cooked meat. The secret spice they put on the burgers is called “Magic Dust.” The restaurant was rejected by DDD Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives. If you love this place you are probably happy because the lines would be twice as long. It’s kind of the best kept secret in Tempe. It hasn’t changed much in 35 years. Generally they are open until 11pm but have limited hours in the summer time when school is out. The most important thing to know if you go is that they only accept cash. It would be a shame to go there and not be able to enjoy a big juicy burger.
2) Snooze an A.M. Eatery
Snooze is an A.M eatery that is now available on College Ave. I first tried this place when the Gilbert restaurant opened. I assure you the Tempe location is just as good if not better. My understanding is that in a college town you can find shorter waits early. But if you want brunch the Tempe store will have a long wait. I’m personally not a big Breakfast person but yes this place has the best French Toast I have had anywhere. The hash browns are traditionally awesome. Nothing fancy but just good in how they should be. Some use the potato as a measure to the quality of the food. I had a corn beef on a pretzel roll with thousand island, swiss cheese and sauerkraut. I’m here to tell you there is no place in Phoenix that has better corn beef.
3) Tempe Public Market
This one is tricky in that they have a few sister restaurants but they go by the city name. So we got a nice Tempe name for one of the city’s best eateries. Everything here is fresh. They pride themselves with serving up the most fresh food around. The bread is baked fresh daily. Food is prepared from scratch and made to order. Breakfasts, salads and sandwiches. They will tell you they specialize in burgers. A burger is always great on a freshly baked bun. The tip here is to save room for desert. I had a mini apple cake that rocked.
4) Otto Pizza & Pastry
The tip here is to just keep it simple and go with a slice or two. The slices are always fresh. The slices tend to have a thinner crust and a crispy taste. Love the flavor of their pizza. One of the few places in Tempe that actually has really good pizza. This place is tucked away on a side street across from the Circle K. It’s next to two other great Tempe landmarks. Casey Moores and the Cartel Coffee Lab. They don’t do fancy things like delivery and they close early. This is not a late night pizza place for drunks. They have a few tables out front which is great on cool days if you enjoy eating outside. And they don’t forget that you only serve Coke products with Pizza.
5) Hurts Donut Company
This is not a meal restaurant but a desert joint. The problem is the Donuts are so big they are actually a meal. It’s going to be tough to eat two of them. They have crazy gourmet flavors. The place is open 366 days a year not a typo. And they serve up fresh donuts all day long. I have been in there at midnight and they are serving fresh product then too. Their mission statement is, “The relentless pursuit of really, really really, freaking good donuts.” This is a must try place and probably not the kind of place you want to eat at frequently because the calorie count has to be huge.
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