When Travis Dickey opened the first Dickey’s Barbecue Pit in 1941, the menu offered beef brisket, pit hams, barbecued beans, potato chips, drinks, and that’s all. By focusing on perfecting the flavors of a few dishes, Travis was able to increase quality and, ultimately, the number of customers. Patrons were so enamored of the food that the restaurant eventually expanded into a nationwide franchise, allowing Americans all over to wear badges made of barbecue sauce. Dickey’s has been passed on to Travis’s sons, but not much else has changed—the quality meats are still seasoned and smoked onsite, and except for the addition of spicy cheddar sausage in 2011, the menu has remained largely the same for the last 50 years.
Regional meats ensure that the most succulent Texas-style chopped beef brisket, old-recipe polish sausage, and fall-off-the-bone pork ribs make it to tabletops. Sides such as mac 'n' cheese and green beans with bacon continue to enhance feasts with an extra punch of homestyle tastiness. Each meal comes complete with complimentary ice cream, soft rolls, and dill pickles.
At Mad G’s Grill & Tavern, beer is considered the universal mixer, which is why the chefs pour it into pint glasses, cocktails, and pizza. Traditional drinkers can grab a domestic, craft, or bottled brew from the menu of more than 40 beers—including Deschutes Obsidian stout and The Lost Abbey—and those looking for a modern twist on the classic beverage can turn to the menu’s 12 beer cocktails, which come blended with other beers, liquors, and spices.
Mad G’s chefs also pour the hoppy drink into many of the menu’s pub-grub meals, which are served nightly until 2 a.m. Pabst Blue Ribbon makes an appearance in beer-battered appetizers, and Lumberyard IPA simmers around braised mushrooms. Even the crusts of the house pizzas are mixed with Mad G’s house brew, creating a distinctive taste beneath toppings of roasted garlic, marinated artichokes, and house-pulled mozzarella. As patrons appreciate brews in their medium of choice—whether it's in a cocktail glass, a slow-cooked chili, or impressionistically dribbled onto a napkin—they can partake in weekly events including pool tournaments, trivia nights, and fish racing.
Mark Smith and Gary Clark wouldn’t be where they are today without a 50-year-old barbecue recipe. When the two childhood friends started a catering service in college to cover their living expenses, they soon became renowned for their barbecue, made with a Tennessee-style recipe passed down through several generations. Bolstered by demand, they bought a truck and a portable barbecue pit—but soon traded these for a brick-and-mortar location, a rustic storefront on East Van Buren Street. More than 25 years later, the pair are still serving smoked meats at Honey Bear’s BBQ, boosting their output with a second location on North Central Avenue and a separate catering center.
Their recipe has only improved with age, earning them accolades such as the Phoenix’s Best BBQ Sauce 2010 Award from the Phoenix New Times. Inside the Honey Bear BBQ kitchens, chefs brush this signature Tennessee sauce onto pulled pork, shredded chicken, and beef brisket, which they serve by the pound, pile onto sandwiches, or stuff into face-level catapults. They complement the mesquite flavors with traditional Southern sides such as potato salad, cowbro beans, collard greens, and tater tots. For faraway fans, they also bottle and ship their signature sauce around the country.
Twisted Sisters Sports Grille is a home-away-from-home for fans of the Denver Broncos, but fans of ASU, drink specials, Angus burgers, and hot wings will also find plenty to cheer about. Half-pound patties flip onto pretzel rolls, accompanied by smoked bacon, barbecue sauce, provolone, and other burger-friendly treats. Turkey, italian, ham, and club grinders, served with house-made potato chips, combine gooey cheese with crisply toasted bread, adding crunching sounds to the cheers of Sun Devils and Broncos fans and despairing wails of those who wanted to watch CSPAN.
A glass-fronted display cooler showcases J&M Fish Market's fillets and shellfish, which are flown in daily and approved by third-party inspectors for optimum freshness. Clam strips and frog legs join fillets of catfish, tilapia, walleye, and other fish, which are measured by the pound. In addition to its signature fresh seafood, J and M serves up fried chicken and fried fish, as well as house-smoked meats topped with regular or spicy barbecue sauce. They round out their menu with nachos, tacos, and burgers. They also prepare food for carry out, delivery, and catering, appeasing those who wish to enjoy tasty meals on the go or in the comfort of their own in-home restaurant.
Pho Tempe brings a small piece of Saigon to the Phoenix area, namely the intermingling flavors of pineapple, mango, ginger, lemongrass, and tamarind. The chefs' dedication to the bold cuisine of southeastern Asia is evident throughout the menu, which includes a number of cozy pho noodle soups brimming with everything from brisket to shrimp. With an emphasis on casual home cooking, the chefs also assemble Vietnamese-style banh mi sandwiches with crispy carrots, white radishes, and cucumber slices layered alongside cilantro and spicy jalapeños. For a sweet end to a meal, Pho Tempe makes smoothies by blending green tea or bananas into a drink that tastes as refreshing as a popsicle made from strawberry-flavored icebergs.