Life in Mesa > Eat/Drink
Eat, drink and be merry
Whether it’s a bite to eat or socializing with friends, Mesa has plenty to offer
By Gremlyn-Bradley Waddell
Whether you’re a typical student on a tight budget or a non-traditional one looking to live it up a little, Mesa’s restaurant scene is full of tasty offerings for everyone, starting in the city’s center.
Students are welcomed with open doors -and awesome specials – at several downtown Mesa restaurants and cafes. Just a short stroll from campus is two of Mesa’s coolest coffee joints, Inside the Bungalow, the coffeehouse-plus-yoga studio-plus café, and Lo-Fi Coffee, where an 8-ounce cup of joe sets you back just $1.85. Or trade in cereal for a treat like cinnamon roll French toast at Sweet Cakes Café. For lunch, you could linger at Sweet Cakes and order the French dip or BLT with avocado, or you could mosey over to Mango’s Mexican Café and Bakery to snarf fresh tamales and killer nachos. Then again, why not live la dolce vita at the classic, cozy Italian deli, Cucina di Vita, purveyor of wraps, paninis and pizzas or nosh on “seriously sophisticated fast food,” mostly sammies and salads, at the pint-sized Urban Picnic. The Grill on Main not only serves faves like fried chicken and pulled pork sandwiches but also offers afternoon tea, a great way to snag downtime, not to mention a cool first-date idea. With 30 restaurants and cafes in downtown Mesa, you’re sure to find something you love.
Now, if all that studying leaving you parched (and you’re at least 21 years old, of course) head over to the Desert Eagle Brewery for micro-brew action, or party like you’re in your own backyard at The Monastery, where you can grill your own burgers and steaks (a full-service menu is available, too) while sipping imported and domestic libations. Catch the game and a cold one at The Mad Dog Saloon, and for a south-of-the-border-style happy hour, Dos Gringos rules. For a unique experience, duck into Monsterland, where the “every day is Halloween” approach really works, and offerings include “Children of the Corn” fritters, bat wings and Swamp Water. Yum!
If you want to amp up the fancy factor for dinner, head east and into Rancho de Tia Rosa for luscious Mexican cuisine, or down some history with your meal at the Landmark Restaurant, which, in its previous life, was a Mormon church.
Albright College, UIU and Mesa Community College students, don’t fret – you have plenty of close, mouth-watering options, too. Get filled up on a breakfast classic at Village Inn or any of the egg-centric dishes at T.C. Eggington’s or the Good Egg. Think breakfast should be the biggest meal of the day? Go for the breakfast buffet at the Hilton Phoenix East/Mesa’s own Zuni Grill, which also serves lunch and dinner. Speaking of lunch, nab a quick yet relatively healthy sub just across the street at Jimmy John’s (bonus: drive thru!) or opt for Pita Jungle’s hipster ambiance and vegan-friendly fare. Also nearby is the Olive Garden and Oregano’s Pizza Bistro, which offer lunch and dinner at fairly reasonable prices. A few blocks south, the Cornish Pasty Co. concocts hearty, British, turnover-like temptations and Macayo’s Mexican Restaurant delivers delish Mexican dishes. If you need to let loose, head back to the Hilton’s Atrium Bar, or just stay at Macayo’s and order one of the margaritas, like the Spicy Raspberry version. Fun fact? The recipe’s online. Muchas gracias, Macayo’s!