Though they don't knead the dough themselves, customers at MyPie by Crust certainly have a hand in their pizzas' creation. That's because they dictate their assembly every step of the way. At the restaurant's front counter, chefs take requests for custom-built Neapolitan-style pies directly from their hungry patrons, beginning with the selection of a fresh-made white, wheat, or gluten-free crust. To top that fresh foundation, customers then select from five different sauces—including conventional pizza sauce, spicy fra diavolo, and savory BBQ—and an assortment of meat and vegetable toppings. Each pie then enters an 800-degree oven that cooks it to perfection in two minutes—roughly 10 times faster than a home oven might take, and roughly 100 times faster than it would take to bake it over a single candle. Though custom pizzas are the restaurant's forte, they also craft traditional varieties such as Margherita and Hawaiian—both mainstays of MyPie's parent company, Crust, whose multiple Arizona restaurants continue a legacy of using fresh, homemade, and local ingredients in crafting their signature pies.
For more than two decades, The Mystery Mansion Dinner Theater has kept diners guessing with ghoulishly goofy whodunits. The rotating repertoire includes Murder at Greystone Manor, which takes place on the set of Golden Age Hollywood director C.D. Weasel's latest production. Before filming can begin in earnest, starlet Clara Simpleton comes down with a bad case of cold feet and cold everything else. Femme fatale and back-up actress Jewel Precious seems the obvious suspect, but the stunningly punny characters know well how to hide their motivations behind a flurry of gags and one-liners. Murder at Bedside Manor takes place in a shockingly OSHA-noncompliant hospital staffed by such consummate professionals as Barb Bituate, Old Doctor Young, Young Doctor Young, and Nurse Scratchit. "Lame jokes, puns, goofy costumes, and thin plots are the stock in trade at the Mystery Mansion," noted Barbara Yost of the Arizona Republic, adding, "Patrons can't get enough.
The same love for pizza and beer that fueled three college students in 1974 transformed their lives as they expanded their business from one rundown building in Atlanta to 100 Mellow Mushroom restaurants across 15 states today. Each eatery owes its individual style to each location's being locally owned and operated, much like impressionist painters owed their individual style to their number of ears. In the kitchens, grilled and deli-style hoagies are assembled and calzones and pizzas baked in stone hearths using dough made with natural spring water. Though many of the restaurant's dishes have remained on the menu since its inception, the culinary crew frequently devises new, often gluten-free, dishes to keep senior-ranking pepperonis from becoming too powerful. Servers pair dishes with their location's own set of local brews, which fit into a collection of up to 100 microbrewed and imported beers on tap and in bottles. Brewers such as Bell's, Abita, and Dogfish Head are also featured in regular beer events.
Restaurant veterans BJ and Gilbert Hernandez infuse Spanish and Latin flavors into traditional Cuban cuisine at both Havana Cafe locations, where chef BJ?s menu has been winning awards since 1989. BJ's tapas have caught the attention of critics at the Arizona Republic and Fodor's the latter describing the ham-and-chicken croquettes and shrimp pancakes as "marvelous." For the house specialty Paella a la Havana, BJ combines five types of seafood?? including lobster, mussels, and scallops??with chicken breast, chorizo, pork, and saffron, and the classic Cubano sandwich sees the chef carefully layering imported ham, mortadella, roast pork,swiss cheese, and pickles, and then pressing the savory stack into a thin, toasty sandwich. Those dining in-house can sample sangria that was voted No. 1 by the Phoenix New Times.
Owned and run by Irish transplants, Tim Finnegan’s recreates an authentic pub atmosphere to enjoy traditional dishes as well as international soccer matches. The pub takes its name from James Joyce's final novel, Finnegans Wake, and reflects its Celtic heritage both behind the bar and on the menu. Taps hide cold drafts of Harp, Guinness, and Smithwick's, and the kitchen fills tables with plates of corned beef and cabbage or traditional Irish breakfast, served regardless of what time it is in Belfast.
The Bleacher Report called out Finnegan's as a top destination to catch Euro 2012 matches, and fans are regularly found clustered around the long bar or lacquered wooden tables to cheer on their teams. Musicians can test new material or their ability to follow instructions on Wednesday night open mics or Sunday karaoke, while teams can test their wits on Tuesday with pub trivia. Monday and Thursday though Saturday nights are reserved for live music.
At Florencia Pizza Bistro, spreading tomato sauce on a disk of housemade crust is indeed tradition, but a tradition that has a few exceptions. The Snow White?a recipe that has been with the bistro staff for more than 30 years?arranges basil, minced garlic, tomatoes, and cheese atop extra-virgin olive oil. Eight specialty pizzas and five pesto pizzas embrace this tomato-less approach, allowing the richness of toppings such as walnuts, italian sausage, and kalamata olives to hold the tongue's attention.
With the menu as their guide, guests can select a pre-established pizza or build an original one of their own. Gluten-free crust and low-fat cheese options accommodate dietary restrictions, and half-baked pizzas allow patrons to heat up their meals later, in the comforts of their gym?s sauna. Calzones, sandwiches, and panini?made with the same housemade pizza crust for bread?also wrap meats and veggies in a toasty embrace.
As the capital city of Arizona, Phoenix offers a variety of restaurants to serve the needs of a diverse population. While some might assume that Phoenix restaurants are dominated by Mexican food, sushi, French food and other ethnic cuisines are also immensely popular. Casual dollar-taco stands easily mix with upscale French bistros in this city.
For a relaxing bottle of wine and the ability to experience a carefully crafted meal, try one of Phoenix's many French restaurants. Sophie's French Bistro offers an extensive wine list and a selection of vegetarian options to cater to every member of a dining party. Coup Des Tartes is also a popular neighborhood bistro but does not sell alcohol. Customers can bring their own wine and pay a modest corking fee. For diners on a budget, the Vincent Market Bistro offers reasonably priced French food.
In Phoenix, sushi bars offer an easy way to eat a light meal. Yasu Sushi Bistro has an extensive menu for discerning guests. Adventurous customers may want to try the small-plate menu to experience a variety of items. Yen Sushi & Sake Bar offers happy hour specials perfect for those with large appetites. For a quick and inexpensive lunch, How Do You Roll? has made-to-order sushi in an casual atmosphere. Families dining in Phoenix may find that eating at How Do You Roll? is an easy way to encourage their children to try new types of food.
From Tex-Mex to authentic Mexican cuisine, Phoenix's close proximity to the border ensures a wide variety of Mexican restaurants. For inexpensive tacos, quesadillas and similar fare, Tacos Atoyac is a great spot. Guests who plan on eating at Tacos Atoyac should be prepared to wait in line during peak lunch and dinner hours. Mariscos Playa Hermosa offers a more upscale menu, including an extensive selection of Mexican-influenced seafood.
True to the spirit of the city, Phoenix restaurants offer plenty of options to the residents of Arizona's capital.