It’s easy to start your day with King Coffee in Tempe.
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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 lower Mill Avenue in Tempe.
Many are familiar with the restaurants and bars of Mill Avenue in downtown Tempe. But there’s a whole different world of food, drink, and friends the farther south you travel on Mill. From classic college-town coffee shops to decades-old neighborhood bars, pizzerias, and gourmet yogurt shops, here’s an all-day guide to the southern stops along Mill Avenue.
1020 South Mill Avenue, Tempe
King Coffee is a Tempe-area shop with that special, indescribable something. The shop has all the hallmarks of a casual, college-town cafe and doesn’t slack when it comes to quality. King Coffee’s staff do a great job with beans from local roaster Cortez Coffee. And as if that wasn’t enough, they are always warm and welcoming — you won’t find any disaffected, grumbly college baristas at this shop.
Serving eggs every old which-a-way since 1986.
131 East Baseline Road, Tempe
This quintessential Phoenix-area breakfast has been around since 1986. U.S. Egg is known for serving eggs every old which-a-way, topping off your coffee, and some specialty dishes like chicken and waffles. In addition, you’ll find a variety of sandwiches, salads, and some morning cocktails.
d’Lite – Healthy On The Go
125 East Southern Avenue, #101, Tempe
This healthy-eats spot offers more of a quick breakfast option. Try the AZ Burro with smoked turkey, egg white, and avocado, or go low carb with just that, the Low Carb Breakfast. The Breakfast Club is served on a toasted, sun-dried tomato bialy, and crammed with egg, bacon, turkey, tomato, and cream cheese. There are also plentiful options for coffee, tea, juices, and smoothies. And d’Lite – Healthy On The Go is called that for one convenient reason — the drive-thru window.
37 West Baseline Road, Tempe
Just need a quick coffee and doughnut? The Park Plaza at Mill Avenue and Baseline Road is home to a Bosa Donuts, one of the sites on the ever-growing list of locations in Arizona. Find plain and fancy doughnuts, breakfast sandwiches, croissants, muffins, and yes, hot coffee.
The 2,500-square-foot, dog- and kid-friendly patio is perfect for brunch.
Fate Brewing Company
201 East Southern Avenue, Tempe
The third Valley location of Fate Brewing Company — very recently known as McFate Brewing — took over a midcentury, two-story, 6,000-square-foot office complex at Southern Avenue and College Road. There’s food, beer, and a dog-friendly beer garden, which is perfect for brunch. Brunch menu items include the Brewer’s Huevos, the Salmon Florentine Benedict, and the French Texas Toast, a.k.a. the French Revolution.
Bao Chow at Yucca Tap Room
29 West Southern Avenue, Tempe
Yucca Tap Room has been a stalwart live music venue in the Tempe area since the 1970s. It doubles as a good place to drink. You can hit the Yucca for a Baileys as early as 6 a.m. But we recommended the breakfast options at Bao Chow, too, including the Slutty Burrito and the I Hate Myself and Want To Die breakfast platter. Join that with a beer or heavily poured mimosa and you’ve got yourself a new brunch spot.
Try the 10-inch cauliflower pizza at Zesty Zzeeks Pizza & Wings for lunch.
Zesty Zzeeks Pizza & Wings
3139 South Mill Avenue, Suite B5-B6, Tempe
This place may seem like your typical strip-mall style pizza joint, and in many ways it is. But when pizza and wings are on your brain, you’re in for a nice surprise here. Zzeeks offers 18 different wing styles, plus broccoli cheddar and cauliflower crust pizzas, salads, and crispy appetizers. There’s also Coors Light on tap and even pizza cookies for dessert.
3128 South Mill Avenue, Tempe
Those on the hunt for traditional varieties of ramen can swing by the new Azusa Ramen at Southern and Mill avenues in the Fry’s anchored shopping plaza. The menu lists tonkotsu, miso, shio, and vegetarian ramen, as well as beer and wine.
Monkey Pants Bar and Grill
3223 South Mill Avenue, Tempe
Need a dark, windowless bar to enjoy your hearty lunch of pub fare? At Monkey Pants, the Monkey Wings are plump, with a generous ratio of sauce to wing surface area — not dry, not dripping. Flavors include mild, medium, hot, barbecue, Cajun, Mae Ploy, teriyaki, or the signature Spankin’ Monkey Sauce. There are also cross-country-themed burgers, wraps, salads, and chicken sandwiches.
Tempe City Tacos
119 East Southern Avenue, Tempe
TC Tacos is a quick Mexican eatery known for its street tacos. The restaurant is open daily for lunch with a menu including menudo; entrees like pollo adobado and fajitas; and tacos with cecina, barbacoa, bistec, and more. In addition to that menu, you’re allowed to bring in your own wine or beer. If you’re out of your favorite domestic at home, the owner of TC Tacos also owns Valley Fair Liquors, which is located right next door.
101 East Baseline Road, Tempe
This family-owned, fast-casual Mexican eatery has those killer burros. The Vasquez family has owned this local Mexican chain since its establishment in 1986. Someburros offers authentic Sonoran-style Mexican food. Specialties include the carne asada burrito, tostada verde, and borracho burro, and horchata.
Appetizers like rosemary fries and mac and cheese bites are $2.99 during happy hour.
Brick & Barley A Neighborhood Bar
201 East Baseline Road, Tempe
Yes, that Bar Rescue-famous bar is situated right at the brick-walled Mill Towne Center. Brick & Barley A Neighborhood Bar offers a happy hour on weekdays from 3 to 7 p.m. Drinks are popping, and the appetizers are $2.99. And what are some of those appetizers? Mac and cheese bites, rosemary fries, chips and queso, and more.
The Charro Completo burro at Casa Reynoso in Tempe.
3138 South Mill Avenue, Tempe
Casa Reynoso is a classic Mexican restaurant that’s been tucked away in the Fry’s Shopping Plaza near Mill and Southern avenues since the early 1980s. The Gollo Burro remains one of Casa Reyonso’s top sellers, but other choices include the Verde Half & Half and the Charro Completo. Casa Reynoso creates one of the best classic cantina atmospheres in Tempe, especially when the decor and intimacy of the restaurant is combines with chips, salsa, and margaritas.
The Golden Pineapple
2700 South Mill Avenue, Tempe
Options at The Golden Pineapple have a “San Diego” vibe — lots of Mexican dishes and seafood fare and tropical-leaning craft cocktails. But this Tempe restaurant — housed in the former Riazzi’s Italian Garden which operated from 1989 to 2017 — is actually pretty local. It serves Chula oysters, Schreiner’s Fine Sausage chorizo, and Arizona Sake. We recommend the tamale fries, the brisket burger, and Grandma’s Tacos, which should all be enjoyed on that dreamy patio.
27 East Southern Avenue, Tempe
East Valley residents, ASU students, and fans of Breaking Bad definitely know about Venezia’s. The Tempe-based, family-owned pizzeria offers daily specials on those mega slices of pizza (like the chicken pesto), plus calzones, salads, wings, and sandwiches. The menu also lists gluten-free pizza bowls and cauliflower crust pizza.
Opa Life Greek Café
227 East Baseline Road, Suite J007, Tempe
This Valley-based Greek restaurant chain has one location in Tempe, right at the Mill Towne Center. Opa Life Greek Café has a full menu of Opatizers like a hummus trio and spanakopita, plus big salads, burgers, sandwiches, and pizza with sauce made in-house each day. In addition to the authentic Greek cuisine, Opa offers coffee, tea, and desserts. To make a night out of it, there is beer, wine, and a full bar as well as live music — mostly jazz — on Wednesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays.
The pastry case at Honeymoon Sweets Bakery.
Honeymoon Sweets Bakery
606 West Southern Avenue, #1, Tempe
Blink and you’d miss Honeymoon Sweets Bakery. The bakery and cake shop just off Mill Avenue is in an industrial-looking shopping plaza that doesn’t appear to contain a friendly bakeshop. Inside find crunchy mixed-berry tarts, fresh cinnamon rolls, and piled-on cupcakes in the display case (and something like a wedding cake showroom to the right).
219 East Baseline Road, Tempe
Look no further for a yogurt shop with a sense of humor. Aloha Yogurt, located in the Mill Towne Center, invites guests to come pack their own bowls at this self-serve froyo spot. Think gourmet flavors with handmade toppings, plus specialty items like the Froyo Taco and Froyo Sammy. Established in 2010 by some Arizona State University alumni, Aloha Yogurt also offers coffee, smoothies, and dog-urt — or frozen yogurt for dogs, which is best enjoyed on the dog-friendly patio.
Go to Time Out Lounge when you don’t want to be on Mill Avenue anywhere north of University Drive. Time Out has been owned by Laura Kelly-Phillips and Ed Phillips (a.k.a. the Tall Man) since 1988, and you’ll often find them behind the bar. Marked by the “Sorry We’re Open” door in the back corner of the Huntington Square Shopping Center, Time Out is known for its pool tables, drink specials, and its regulars. Hungry patrons can also order in, as the place is BYOF.
Casey’s Woodshed has been around since 1979, and in that time it’s earned its reputation as a sports bar, happy hour master, and neighborhood hang. The bar offers domestic beers on tap and whiskey-heavy cocktails, which can all be enjoyed in the glow of the many neon beer signs. And if you’re hungry, there are some addictive wings, burgers, and starters.
As 24-hour, fast-food Mexican restaurants go, Torres is somehow a cut above — not that we usually eat this food sober. Torres Mexican Food offers your standard late-night staples, like burritos, tacos, and quesadillas, with an air of patience and grace. That’s a quality the staff here probably picked up from people who have just closed down Q & Brew, followed later by Yucca Tap Room, Monkey Pants, and Time Out Lounge.
Editor’s note: This story was originally published on September 6, 2019. It was updated on February 12, 2021.