Looking for more cheap eats from the food directory in the premiere issue of DPJ magazine? Food editor Justin Lee dishes out an expansive list of the best in affordable dining around Downtown Phoenix.


La Condesa Gourmet Taco Shop Mexican/Tacos
With a deep lineup of some of the most crave-worthy tacos in the city, La Condesa is a casual taqueria with updated leanings. From the hefty dogfish shark tacos, to their notoriously tender cochinita phibil tacos, the small central city eatery has proven itself delicious to a diverse stream of patrons. Along with one of the best salsa bars in a wide radius — it actually demands that you browse it — La Condesa manages to straddle that fine line between authenticity adherence and casual-eater accessibility very successfully. Monday to Saturday 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., Sunday 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. 1919 N. 16th St. (602) 254.6330

Evans Churchill

Carly’s Eclectic
Simple and unsuspecting, Carly’s is a neighborhood café and bar that offers you unpretentious eating in a comforting, locals-only setup. With live music on select nights, a casual display of sandwiches, salads, soups and other easy eats on the menu, as well as a straightforward offering of wines, brews and cocktails at the bar, it’s not difficult to understand why Carly’s is a smart option for the easy and inexpensive. Monday to Wednesday 11 a.m. to midnight, Thursday to Friday 11 a.m. to 2 a.m., Saturday 9 a.m. to 2 a.m., Sunday 9 a.m. to midnight. 128 E. Roosevelt St. (602) 262.2759

Phoenix Public Market/Urban Grocery & Wine Bar Market
This Downtown grocer is a respected source for the quick, healthy and responsible. Besides the bi-weekly farmers market held each Saturday morning and Wednesday evening in the adjacent parking lot, the indoor Urban Grocery & Wine Bar also carries an efficient selection of the reliably sourced and primarily organic. From local, seasonal produce, meats and dairy products, free-range eggs and baked goods, to a rotating menu of ready-made foods to go, the market has become a valued neighborhood asset to its surrounding community. Tuesday to Saturday 7 a.m. to 8 p.m., 14 E. Pierce St. (602) 254.1799

Tammie Coe Cakes and MJ Breads Bakery/Pastry Shop
Skilled baker turned local baking luminary Tammie Coe, along her partner, MJ Coe, serve some of the best bread and pastries in the city at the Downtown branch of their popular enterprise. The restrained retail shop, overflowing with racks of well-crafted, homemade loafs of fresh bread, is a worthy waylay for a midday snack; or, grab a cup of coffee, turning the experience into a simple meal on the go. Monday to Thursday 6:30 a.m. to 7 p.m., Friday 6:30 a.m. to 10 p.m., Saturday 8 a.m. to 10 p.m., Sunday 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. 610 E. Roosevelt St. (602) 253.0829

Verde Mexican
Quirky, modern and bright, Verde brings smart, authentic Mexican eating to Downtown. Fast-casual in orientation, Verde serves up straightforward plates of slow-stewed meats — chicken, pork, beef — with their now-famous housemade tortillas for bite building and plate sopping. Add a large bowl of fresh-made chips, guacamole and a couple cervezas? Inexpensive, quick and delicious. Sunday to Thursday 10:30 a.m.-9 p.m., Friday 10:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m., Saturday 8 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. 825 N. 1st St.


Baiz Market Al-Hana Restaurant Middle Eastern
A Middle Eastern must-try. Off the beaten track but traveled to from locations citywide, Baiz is an international specialty foods market that maintains its no-nonsense value with pride. The tiny Al-Hana restaurant — or sectioned sitting area amidst the market — has become a popular lunchtime anchor for those looking for the best in Middle-Eastern comfort foods. From chicken shawarma and lamb kabobs, to freshly baked pita and hummus so addicting you’ll surely need to stop the intake to save space for their voluminous selection of sought-after Middle Eastern pastries, Baiz Market is a hidden gem by the most honest of definitions. 523 N. 20th St. (602) 252.8996

Pro’s Ranch Market/Tradiciones Mexican/Grocery
More indoor Mexican bazaar than simple supermarket, this popular chain offers quality, variety and authenticity on the cheap. From the roving mariachi to the bright desert colors, Mexican is not only on the menu, it’s also on the agenda. For fast bites, the store’s one-stop “food court” is the ultimate draw. Selling fresh, ready-made goods like homemade tortillas, ceviche, tortas and pastries, as well as specialty daily-mixed refreshments from a dedicated beverage bar, it’s manufactured frenzy worth getting lost in. Have a little extra time? The market’s adjacent, sit-down restaurant, Tradiciones, is equally well worth the visit for tried-and-true, inexpensive Mexican eats that satisfy. 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. 1602 E. Roosevelt St. (602) 254.6676


Fry Bread House Southwestern/Native American
A secret still largely unearthed, one of Phoenix’s best kept gems is this humble institution to that special fried bread we all crave so dearly but rarely seem to eat that often. From the savory kind, to the oh-so sweet, Fry Bread House continues to serve its eponymous specialty with no remorse to over indulgence. In addition to the famous fry bread tacos and standard fry bread-plus-toppings offerings, the unfussy eatery also serves a list of house stews, traditional burritos (rolled in flour tortillas) and tamales. Monday to Saturday 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. 4140 N. 7th Ave. (602) 351.2345


Gallo Blanco Café Mexican/Contemporary
Notoriously focused La Grande Orange alum Doug Robson brings his independent culinary stamp to the Midtown dining landscape — with fantastic results. Located inside the trendy Clarendon Hotel, Gallo Blanco serves an efficient and refreshingly inexpensive menu of regional Mexican fare with a Mexico City bent. Nearly all ingredients are either made in house or sourced from reputable local purveyors. The modern, funky eatery offers an intelligent selection of starters, salads, a mélange of tortas and tacos (options include pork, beef, fish and vegetarian), as well as other selected house specialties. Equally as impressive, Gallo Blanco also presents a small all-day breakfast menu. 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday to Thursday, 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday to Saturday. 401 W. Clarendon Ave. (602) 274.4774

Lenny’s Burger Shop American/Burgers
A Phoenix area institution since the 1980s, Lenny’s lively Midtown branch of the popular local burger chain proves you don’t need to sacrifice quality entirely when craving a greasy burger and fries. This popular weekday lunchtime pit stop, Lenny’s posts a simple menu of the basics, done well: burgers, hot dogs, fries and milkshakes. Monday to Friday 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. 2825 N. Central Ave. (602) 263.8700

South Phoenix

Carolina’s Mexican
This homegrown institution since the 1960s — a temple to what true Sonoran-style Mexican food can taste like if done exceptionally well — Carolina’s original outpost just south of Downtown continues to draw locals and tourists alike in steady numbers. The infamous, practically eulogized tortillas, made daily in house, warrant a visit alone, if for nothing else: to stock up. The red sauce makes others bow, and their Oaxaca burrito (potatoes, chorizo, oh my) is indeed a crave-inducing offense. Monday to Friday 7 a.m. to 7:30 p.m., Saturday 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. 1202 E. Mohave St. (602) 252.1503

Lo-Lo’s Chicken & Waffles Southern/Soul
Chicken and waffles, done exceptionally. Lo-Lo’s continues to prove it’s of the best examples of the popular food combination anywhere, and it’s right in our own back yard. The original eatery, just due south of Downtown, continues to serve the masses with humble airs, leaving patrons full and already plotting their next return. Though fried chicken is king, Lo-Lo’s also serves equally comforting Southern standouts like mac and cheese, grits, fried okra, and yes, red velvet cake. Monday to Thursday 9 a.m. to 7 p.m., Friday to Saturday 9 to 9, Sunday 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. 10 W. Yuma St. (602) 340.1304


That’s a Wrap Eclectic/Wraps
Tiny and efficient, That’s a Wrap serves an extensive menu of interesting wraps, as well as a smattering of salads and rice bowls. Great for a fast bite that won’t empty the wallet, the cheerful, fast-casual café emphasizes the healthy, but doesn’t stress it — satisfaction and flavor are essentials here. Throw in a glass of berry lemonade with your order, made fresh in house, and you can see why this place continues to be a popular neighborhood lunchtime layover. Monday to Thursday 10:30 a.m. to 9 p.m., Friday to Saturday 10:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. 800 E. Camelback Rd. (602) 252.5051