When you think of Arizona, lettuce is probably not top of mind. But the state produces almost all of the leafy greens Americans eat during the winter months, as well as a whole host of other crops, from citrus to garlic and everything in between. In the Greater Phoenix area, plenty of restaurants are building a reputation for maximizing local farmers’ bounty. Here are seven spots in Phoenix and the East Valley to get a taste of what the area’s farm country has to offer.
True Food Kitchen
Serving “honest food that tastes really good” based on anti-inflammatory diet principles, True Food Kitchen currently has locations in 10 states. With a focus on fruits, vegetables and whole grains, there are plenty of vegetarian and vegan options, but omnivores can also tuck into grass-fed beef and sustainable seafood.
In Phoenix: Biltmore Fashion Park, 2502 E Camelback Road, Suite 135
In Scottsdale: 15191 N. Scottsdale Road #101
The motto is “happy food for a healthy world,” a concept reinforced by the owners’ commitment to buying raw ingredients from ranchers who treat their animals (and plants) right. That means meat from naturally raised animals and organic produce that adheres to the guidelines set by the Environmental Working Group. Wash it all down with kombucha on tap.
In Phoenix: 5013 N 44th Street or 100 East Camelback Road
In Scottsdale: 10460 N. 90th Street
Named one of the best tequila bars by USA Today, and offering tequilas on tap and tequila flights (in addition to extra-aged tequilas chosen by a certified tequilier – yes, that’s a thing), TQLA offers plenty of ways to be naughty. But there’s plenty of nice here, too, with locally sourced, organic ingredients cooked over a local mesquite-wood-fired grill.
In Mesa: Dana Park Shopping Center, 1840 S Val Vista Drive
Joe’s Farm Grill at Agritopia
At Joe’s Farm Grill, the produce literally comes from across the road. Part of the Agritopia master-planned agricultural community, this popular diner incorporates ingredients from the farm right on site. The menu’s not particularly focused on healthy eats – the motto “common food done uncommonly well” is highlighted in the list of burgers, ribs and pizza – but there’s an extensive salad list and a sign to advise which ingredients are currently in season and picked right on the farm.
In Gilbert: 3000 East Ray Road
Arizona Wilderness Brewing Co.
With ales crafted from heritage wheat grown at the local Sossaman Farms and milled at Hayden Flour Mills, the first brewery in Gilbert, AZ, offers local drinking as well as local eating. Every Wednesday, there’s a local food special showcasing ingredients from the region’s farms to round out the farm-to-table experience.
In Gilbert: 721 N. Arizona Avenue #103
Dinner Down the Orchard at Schnepf Farms
On two dates each spring, the largest peach grower in Arizona sets a long table in the middle of the organic orchard with white linen tablecloths and plenty of mood lighting. A top local chef showcases ingredients from the farm and other local producers in each evening’s four-course meal. (Note: The second of this year’s events is coming up on April 30.)
In Queen Creek: 24610 South Rittenhouse Road
Eatery at Queen Creek Olive Mill
Arizona’s climate makes it perfect for growing olives, but this is the state’s only working olive farm. The site-pressed extra virgin olive oil features prominently on the menu, showing up as a prime ingredient in waffles and cupcakes as well as savoury items like sandwiches, salads and pizza.
In Queen Creek: 25062 S. Meridian Road