Good food and fun dining experiences in east Mesa, Arizona
After several vacations and two full winters in Mesa, Arizona, I’ve discovered a few favourite eating locations. The restaurants below offer good food and fun times.
1. Asi Es Mi Tierra
The margaritas are good. For a nonalcoholic drink option, try the banana-strawberry shake. Horchata, a milky looking drink made of ground rice and almonds with a taste like dessert, is available on weekends. If you have room left after your main course, you may want to try the banana burrito, a banana wrapped in a flour tortilla, deep-fried and served with syrup, whipped cream and cinnamon.
The restaurant is closed on Wednesdays when the owners travel to Mexico for supplies.
2. Rancho de Tia Rosa
(Update December 2016: There is no longer a Tia Rosa location in Mesa. The family filed for bankruptcy in May. In July 2016, the Gilbert location at 891 N. Higley Road reopened under new owners.)
3. Niki’s Kitchen Fry Bread
Fry bread is flat, yeast-based bread dough fried or deep-fried. It is served by itself or with toppings. Fry bread has its origins in native American history and recipes vary by tribe and region.
Nikki’s Kitchen Fry Bread, at 816 S. Stapley Road, serves a delicious, puffy fry bread. Located in another nondescript strip mall just east of downtown Mesa, the menu includes tacos or sandwiches wrapped in fry bread. It also includes sweet dessert versions. My favourite is topped with cinnamon sugar. My husband likes the one topped with coconut ice cream and caramel sauce. It’s best not to think about the calories.
The restaurant decor is cafeteria-like. The restaurant is closed on Sundays and Mondays. On other days, its hours are from 11:00 am to 7 or 8 pm.
4. Organ Stop Pizza
Mighty Wurlitzer organs were often theatre organs, played to accompany silent films. Organ Stop’s Wurlitzer was originally built for the Denver Theater and was used regularly from 1927 into the 1930s. The original organ has been rebuilt and added to. It now has nearly 6,000 pipes. Percussion instruments, such as drums, cymbals, and a glockenspiel, located on walls around the room provide visual, as well as audio, entertainment.You order food and drink at long counters in the lobby area. Because I like their pizza I’ve never tried anything else, but the menu also includes pasta, sandwiches, and a salad bar. Hours vary by day and season. Check the website. If you go, include a walk around the building to see the turbine and blower systems.
5. What The Hell Bar and Grill
It was the all you can eat breakfast that drew me to this place. It includes eggs, hash browns or home fries, bacon or sausage, toast, and two beverages. Choice of beverage includes coffee, juice, draft, mimosa and Bloody Mary. This is not a buffet. The eggs are cooked to your specification. The home fries were wonderfully seasoned and the bacon crispy. And it is truly all you can eat. When I’d almost finished the generous plate, the waitress asked if I wanted more of anything. It is a good choice if you don’t mind eating breakfast in what is an obvious bar setting. There are also other items on the breakfast menu.
6. Waldo’s BBQ
The decor is rustic. Sawdust covers the cement floor. Old signs and funny sayings hang on the walls. Water and lemonade are served in quart mason jars. Wine comes in a jelly jar. Servers’ t-shirts sport sayings such as “I’m new here”, “The chef just quit”, and “We’re out of that”.
Have you visited one of these restaurants? Do you have another favourite in Mesa?