Welcome to Dining Guides, an intermittent series on the many dining hubs around the greater Phoenix area and what they have to offer. Breakfast to drinks, quick coffee to sit-down dining, we break down some of our favorite places in each neighborhood. Today, we want to zero in on the Madison neighborhood.
Uptown Phoenix has a wonderful little cluster of homes, businesses, and restaurants that’s not quite Dreamy Draw, and not quite the Seventh Street dining corridor. It’s the Madison neighborhood along 12th Street, 16th Street, and State Route 51, just north of Missouri Avenue and south of Northern Avenue. Restaurants include classic Phoenix staples like Texaz and Feeney’s and quick lunch spots like George’s Kitchen and Los Taquitos. Let’s explore.
The Human Bean
6502 North 16th Street
Like most new Phoenix eateries these days, the drive-thru-only Human Bean was once a garage and mechanic shop. Now, the 16th Street and Maryland Avenue intersection offers coffee shop classics like the house brew, espresso, chai tea, regular tea, and smoothies. House specialties like the Mexi Mocha and Irish Cream Breve can also lift you up on a quick-paced morning. And, yes, we know there are a Starbucks and Dutch Bros. nearby.
Luci’s has just about everything.
Luci’s Healthy Marketplace
1590 East Bethany Home Road
Luci’s is a fantastic place for coffee, but it also has great options for breakfast. The all-day breakfast part of the dine-in menu offers omelets, burritos, breakfast sandwiches, and gluten-free flapjacks. Some unique options include the Funky Monkey French Toast, The Waffelicious, and the Birchermuesli “Moose.” And if you’ve got a long day ahead, don’t snooze on that toddy. While you wait, be sure to explore the adjoining market for local food products and gifts.
Brunch at The Vig is laid back, fun, and filling.
Courtesy of The Vig
6015 North 16th Street
The Vig knows what you’re after for brunch — booze or a way to deal with last night’s booze. Day drinks include the Vig Bloody Mary, Cold Brew Old Fashioned, and Morning Mules — even a build-your-own mimosa. And for food, think coconut French toast, the chorizo burrito, and the aptly named Hangover Helper — pork carnitas and over-easy eggs with white cheddar, guajillo salsa, pico de gallo, crema, and tortillas to sop up what’s left.
Richardson’s Cuisine of New Mexico
6335 North 16th Street
The New Mexico menu at this upscale eatery is always impressive, but the brunch menu is extra fun. The Richardson’s combo comprises a jalapeno Benedict covered in jalapeno hollandaise, plus two chicken enchiladas and a side of asparagus with a choice of red or green chile. It’s a force. But there’s also the carne adovada and eggs, the breakfast burrito, and the local ambassador that is the Midwestern — Schreiner’s New Mexican sausages, Nueske’s smoked bacon, and Queen Creek ham with three eggs, hash browns or potatoes, and toast.
Get the chicken feta salad, or any salad, from George’s Kitchen.
Jacob Tyler Dunn
6102 North 16th Street
This family-owned, fast-casual Greek and Mediterranean eatery is known for its lunch specials. First, there’s the Chicken Feta Salad — with mixed greens served under a generous amount of free-range, grilled chicken breast, and enough imported French feta to satisfy even the biggest feta fiend. But there are also Greek fries, other salads, pizza, and insanely good pitas. If you happen to develop a taste for any of this, you’ll often spend lunch in George’s Kitchen sleek dining room (though delivery and takeout service is available).
7000 North 16th Street
For a quick lunch of fresh-tasting Mexican food, Los Taquitos delivers with its menu of street tacos, tostadas, burritos and bowls, tortas — you get it. The shrimp burrito is a go-to, maybe paired with a carne asada street taco and a side order of chips and pico if you’re in the mood for a big lunch. Fast-casual service gets you in and out in a tight 25 minutes.
Pat’s Pizza Plus (temporarily closed)
1135 East Glendale Avenue
Pat’s is that quintessential neighborhood pizza place. The Sicilian-style, thin-crust pizza has been a cult favorite since 1995 — making it one of the longest-standing eateries in the neighborhood. Aside from pizza, orders can include calzones, meatballs, stromboli, salads, wings, and sandwiches. The dining room is small and decorated with New York and Scorsese decor, which is fun for everyone.
6845 North 16th Street
If you’ve ever had trouble deciding between upscale bar food, sushi, pho, or tacos for lunch, Moto makes this easy. The menu covers a lot of ground, but not in a national chain sort of way. The Moto Chicken Salad is a favorite, as are the Asian Nachos and the Exit Wound bowl for spice fiends. And if you’re knocking off for the day, there’s a full bar and quite a few sake options.
Zipps Sports Grill
1515 East Bethany Home Road, #100
Zipps has all the tools — bar food, solid drink options — for an especially fun lunch. The menu casts a wide net, with everything from those famous Phoenix wings to focaccia, pizza, burgers, and pizza. And don’t overlook the mozzarella sticks. They come wrapped in a crunchy shell like a cheesy eggroll, and it’s hard to be satisfied with just one if you’re sharing. Plus, there’s a full bar, and the 32-ounce beers are a steal when on special.
You have to check out the inside of Feeney’s.
Jacob Tyler Dunn
Feeney’s Restaurant & Bar
6314 North 12th Street
You’d be surprised to find this old Phoenix restaurant tucked away on 12th Street by the liquor store, Laundromat, and Circle K, but don’t go passing it by. Feeney’s is open for lunch (do try the Feeney’s Steak Salad), but the vibe is ideal for dinner. There’s escargot and Beef Tender Toast for starters, plus steak, seafood, chicken Marsala, and classic entrees like the liver and onions, beef Wellington, and London broil. The creme brulee will cap you off for dessert, along with a nightcap from the bar. Plus, the walls hand-painted to look like an Old World village are not to be missed.
6003 North 16th Street
This Phoenix institution fuses the characteristics of a major steakhouse, a rowdy country bar, and a neighborhood diner into a cozy, quaint restaurant. The decor is all fun neon logos, stickers, hats, photos, and a “Luckenbach Pop. 3” sign, but the supper menu is no joke. The steaks at Texaz are cut right in the back with USDA beef, and only seasoned with a bit of kosher salt. The smoked prime rib is pretty famous, but there’s also chicken-fried steak, pork chops, fried catfish, and a hell of a bar.
Phoenix City Grille
5816 North 16th Street
This is a take-your-client-to-dinner kind of place — elegant, simple, and just safe enough without being boring. The menu at Phoenix City Grille consists of small plates like Uriel’s Green Chile Pork and neighborhood-specific entrees like the Madison Stir Fry Pan, the 16th Street Beef Short Rib, and the Rose Lane Chicken. There’s a private dining room as well, and yes, they do take reservations.
But you are more than welcome to Dick’s Hideaway.
6008 North 16th Street
Part of the Richardson’s family, Dick’s Hideaway is a dark, narrow cubby — and maybe one of the best places on the 16th Street strip. The challenge of having a drink here is resisting the urge to order food, since someone’s aromatic meal is often cooking on an open flame right behind the bar. There is a lengthy wine list, and the daily happy hour promises $6 Bloody Marys, $6 mimosas, $6 margaritas, $6 wines, and $6 house drinks. And it’s those house drinks those bartenders do so, so well. And if you’re looking for another cozy spot under the Richardson’s umbrella, the subterranean Rokerij is just down the street.
1525 East Bethany Home Road
Not too long ago, the old Z’Tejas building was taken over by Arizona’s largest craft brewery — SanTan Brewing — all to the benefit of Madison-area beer drinkers. Stop in for the 1920 Arizona Style Lager, the Moonjuice Galactic Grapefruit IPA, and seasonal options like Mr. Pineapple. Other libation options include Arizona wines, and drinks like SanTan-a-ritas, and whatever you want with your SanTan Vodka. Weekday happy hour is from 3 to 6 p.m., and there’s a reverse happy hour Sunday through Thursday from 9 to 11 p.m.
Sweet Republic is a constant best.
Jacob Tyler Dunn
6054 North 16th Street
Known for imaginative flavors like peaberry espresso and Madagascar vanilla, Sweet Republic has earned its spot as the go-to neighborhood ice cream joint. More flavors? Okay, how about Sweet Fairytale, horchata, Mayan chocolate, and cherry cheesecake? There’s also your choice of vegan sorbet in strawberry, chocolate, coconut, and mango margarita.
6007 North 16th Street
While most of A Bakeshop’s business must come from cake orders for weddings, special occasions, whatever, this little bakery is perfect for a quick cake pop — or two. The daily menu offers cookies, cannolis, macarons, slices of cake, cupcakes, and cold brew.
Niccoli’s Italian Grocery-Deli
6102 North 16th Street, #9
For top-tier Italian desserts, this is your place. A go-to can be the cannoli, made in-house with whipped ricotta, powdered sugar, and a licorice liqueur. The crunchy cannoli shell is then dusted with powdered sugar again. And aside from the market inside Luci’s, Niccoli’s Italian Deli is another quick spot for coffee, pasta, olive oil, and sauce — and even a quick sub or salad.
Linger Longer Lounge is a go-to in the Madison District.
Linger Longer Lounge
6522 North 16th Street, #6
Linger Longer Lounge has become quite the hang. If you ever frequented the late Rogue Bar, you’ll recognize some of the décor inside the revamped LLL. Retro beer signs glow against the wood-paneled walls and a jukebox blasts classic rock, ’80s jams, and Tenacious D. LLL has also started serving some killer charcuterie boards.
5835 North 16th Street
If you’re looking for the neighborhood bar on this guide, this is it. The vacation-themed haunt has been around since 1996, and visitors can still pull up a stool at the half-circle bar and flip through the jukebox. The Swizzle Inn (or just The Swizz) is also the place to be during the holidays, as just about every square inch is covered in Christmas lights and decor.
Editor’s note: This story was originally published on May 10, 2019. It was updated on November 30, 2020.
Keep Phoenix New Times Free… Since we started Phoenix New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who’ve won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists’ Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism’s existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our “I Support” membership program, allowing us to keep covering Phoenix with no paywalls.