For the location of the first Dillon's, Rich Dillon and George Valverde chose a 1940s Thunderbird Road structure that a writer for the Phoenix New Times described as "a cute, converted old house that looks like grandma's parlor." Since then, they've opened four more eateries in locations that are as appealing as the signature flame-kissed and slow-smoked meats served inside. Wildlife World Zoo & Aquarium's shark tank flanks the dining room of Dillon's at the Zoo, and the boat-accessible Scorpion Bay location opens onto the waters of Lake Pleasant so that diners can chortle as fish attempt to develop democracy. Live music and karaoke lend additional social vibes to the smokehouses.
elle wine bistro lets dining duos choose from a seasonally rotating menu of both popular and obscure tongue teasers. Diners can open meals by noshing fried brie topped with a spiced green-apple chutney in the glow of the bistro’s light-studded, suspended circular ceiling or saunter out onto the open-air patio to nibble on steamed mussels bathed with Thai green curry. Locally sourced, organically produced ingredients take center stage in entrees such as homemade Italian sausage in baby-shrimp-tomato-fennel broth and the roasted organic Amish half-chicken with chipotle-orange glaze. Owner Jeff Fuld’s passion for pairing eatables and vino inspires an impressive wine list that includes glasses of pinot grigio and malbec that can complement meals and create a culinary harmony unseen since the California Raisins dominated the airwaves.
In order to craft a truly authentic New York–style pizza, NYPD Pizza holds that only New York water will do. All of its kitchens boast a custom filtration system that replicates the flavor and character of Big Apple tap water, said to give the city's pizza and bagel dough its trademark flavor. At NYPD Pizza, that meticulously made dough is hand-tossed and baked inside of a classic stone oven. Similar care is put into selecting the rest of the ingredients—the kitchen strives to use only fresh, vine-ripened tomatoes, and employs exclusive cheese blends from Wisconsin and California.
The menu sports more than 15 specialty pizzas, many of which are New York–themed, such as the signature Brooklyn Family topped with pepperoni, sausage, and fresh basil. Other standouts include a Veganizza with veggies, Daiya vegan cheese, and an optional gluten-free crust, and a Pizza Blanca white pie with olive oil and crushed garlic. Slices of pizza, bites of Italian sandwiches, and family-size helpings of pasta all pair well with sips of NYPD Uptown Amber Ale, a craft beer brewed exclusively for NYPD Pizza by The Phoenix Ale Brewery.
Ono Hawaiian BBQ brings the island to the mainland with tender meats soaked in made-from-scratch marinades. Chefs hand roll chicken katsu in panko bread crumbs to give it a fresh, crispy texture, and assemble generous portions of crispy shrimp, island whitefish, and barbecue chicken in the seafood mix.
The roasters at Coffee X Change ignite peaceful morning rituals with fresh-roasted regional beans procured from the fair-trade market. With a day's notice, customers can order one pound of house, Peaberry, or globetrotting beans from such coffee-rich regions as Costa Rica, Kenya, or New Guinea, and the expert java-whisperers roast the beans overnight. To satisfy the percolating preferences of all patrons, brew maestros can grind the batch of freshly cooked crop or leave the beans whole for personal grinding practice or delicious slingshot ammunition. Though the market price of each bean type varies, batches range from approximately $12.45–$14.45 per pound.
Flagstaff Nordic Center's snowy trails wind gently through the Coconino National Forest and snake up the scenic San Francisco Peaks. Before making tracks into the wilderness or across the wilderness's carpet, guests visit the Nordic Nook pro shop in downtown Flagstaff to slip into Salomon boots and lock into Fischer skis, or get strapped into snowshoes by Yukon Charlie or Tubbs. Skiers are then ready to glide along 25 miles of nonredundant, groomed cross-country trails studded with classic downhill slopes and an absence of chairlifts. A thrilling descent and views of Humphrey's Peak reward experts that hike up Peak-A-View Trail, and a smooth surface running through aspen groves and a nearby pillow factory coaxes wobbly novices to test the mountainside. Snowshoers trek along a network of paths that begins with easier trails close to the main lodge, and stretches outward, past a warming yurt with a wood stove, in loops of increasing difficulty.