Compass Arizona Grill
Photo by Compass Arizona Grill

The Phoenix metro boasts plenty of restaurants that serve up delicious food, but there are some that stand out for their added unique features. Whether you want to dine in an old church, along an airport runway, or with a real bull, Phoenix has a place for you.

Read on for some of the most interesting eateries that will be sure to impress your out-of-town relatives.

1. The Hangar Cafe

The Hangar Cafe offers a unique dining experience within walking distance from the runway at Chandler Municipal Airport. The cafe includes patio seating and shaded rooftop seating. If you visit on weekend mornings, you can eat and watch airplanes take off and land. They’re not the giant commercial planes; these are much smaller. But, still fun to watch!

IF YOU GO:
The Hangar Cafe
1725 E. Ryan Road, Chandler, AZ 85249
480-899-6965
View their Facebook page

2. Taco Guild

Despite its location in central Phoenix, you can drive past Taco Guild and not even realize it. It actually inhabits an old chapel that dates back to the late 1800s. Inside, you’ll see vaulted wood ceilings, painted murals, stained glass and a beautiful bar. The recommended food: tacos of course!

IF YOU GO:
Taco Guild
546 E. Osborn Road, Phoenix AZ 85012
602-264-4143
www.tacoguild.com

3. Rustler’s Roost Steakhouse

When it comes to Rustler’s Roost, the only question you need to ask is if you’re ready to eat a deadly desert animal. Yes, the appetizer menu contains an authentic rattlesnake dish. This Western-themed restaurant, bar, and banquet hall nestles in the hills near the Arizona Grand Resort. Make sure to snap a picture with Horney, the bull. Just don’t get too close; he’s real.

IF YOU GO:
Rustler’s Roost Steakhouse
8383 S. 48th Street, Phoenix AZ 85044
602-431-6474
www.rustlersrooste.com

4. The Yard

For a one-of-a-kind eating experience, look not further than a group of independent restaurants collectively known as The Yard, a Sam Fox concept. The venue features a large covered outdoor area that has lounge seating, along with outdoor games like cornhole. It’s upscale enough to go out for date night, but also casual enough if you want to grab a drink with friends. Restaurants: Culinary Dropout, Barrio Urbano, Little Cleo’s Seafood Legend.

IF YOU GO:
The Yard
5632 N. 7th Street, Phoenix AZ 85014
www.culinarydropout.com

5. Organ Stop Pizza

Enjoy a pizza pie inside a giant mess hall and listen to the unique sound of a Wurlitzer pipe organ. (Fun fact: It’s the largest of its kind in the world!) Opened in 1972, Organ Pizza continues to be a staple in the Valley. They also serve sandwiches, salads and desserts.

IF YOU GO:
Organ Stop Pizza
1149 E. Southern Avenue, Mesa AZ 85204
480-813-5700
www.organstoppizza.com

6. Rawhide Western Town

Step into the Old West at Rawhide Western Town! Strap on those cowboy (or cowgirl) boots and ride down the dusty roads on a real stagecoach. Visit shops that sell upscale Western souvenirs and knickknacks. Experience a live stunt show, mechanical bull and petting zoo. Pan for gold and strike it rich. Since we’re talking about food, you don’t want to miss the steakhouse (or the fried rattlesnake).

IF YOU GO:
Rawhide
5700 W. North Loop Road, Chandler AZ 85226
480-502-5600
www.rawhide.com

7. The Perch Pub & Brewery

The Perch Pub & Brewery boasts something truly unique in the East Valley: it’s home to around 40 rescue birds – hence the name. So you can eat, sip and chat with some winged friends right around you.

IF YOU GO:
The Perch
232 S. Wall Street, Chandler AZ 85225
480-773-7688
www.perchpubbrewery.com

8. Compass Arizona Grill – Hyatt Regency

What better way to take in an Arizona sunset than from atop one of downtown Phoenix’s hotels? Compass Arizona is a 360-degree revolving restaurant at the top of the Hyatt Regency Hotel. You get a bird’s-eye view of the downtown hustle and bustle, while the mountains paint a beautiful background for a sunset–no matter which you look.

IF YOU GO:
Compass Arizona Grill – Hyatt Regency
122 N. Second Street, Phoenix, AZ 85004
602-440-3166
www.compassarizona.com

9. Little Saigon

For an authentic Vietnamese restaurant in the West Valley, check out Little Siagon. It first appeared in Phoenix and then a decade ago moved to its current home in Glendale. It’s family owned and operated. Food blogger, Joanie Simon, who runs JoanieSimon.com, says besides going for the food, the restaurant was built inside an interesting old house.

IF YOU GO:
Little Siagon
7016 N. 57th Avenue, Glendale AZ 85302
623-939-6136
wwww.littlesaigonaz.com

10. Quiessence at the Farm (at South Mountain)

If you’re looking for a farm-to-table experience in Phoenix, Quiessence should certainly go on your list. The restaurant sits at the back of The Farm at South Mountain – a real working farm. It uses local ingredients from the farm and other local farms for the dishes. You’ll feel like you’re in someone else’s backyard…because you are!

Note: The restaurant will close from July 17 to August 17.

IF YOU GO:
Quiessence at the Farm
6106 S. 32nd Street, Phoenix AZ 85042
602-276-6360
www.thefarmatsouthmountain.com

Of course, this list isn’t exhaustive. There are many other unique restaurants around the Valley.

  • Hanny’s (downtown Phoenix) used to be a department store. Then it was used firefighter training. Now it’s a restaurant. Word to the wise, watch out for the elevator shaft.
  • Lou Malnati’s (Uptown Plaza) is a Chicago staple, but it opened its first out-of-state location here in Phoenix. Now that’s cool!
  • Postino’s Wine Cafe (Gilbert, Phoenix, Scottsdale, Tempe) is known for its Bruschetta. They have multiple locations in the Valley, all built within unique spaces.
  • The Stockyards (Phoenix) has a rich history here in Phoenix. It was a real cattle stockyard in 1919. The restaurant opened in 1947. A fire destroyed it in 1953, but it reopened in 1954 and still exists. It’s even part of the City of Phoenix’s historical register.
  • Gertrude’s (Phoenix) is located within the Desert Botanical Garden. It is named after Gertrude Webster who founded the garden in 1939.
  • DeSoto Central Market (downtown Phoenix) is another unique eatery. Its located within the old C.P. Stephens DeSoto Six Motorcars dealership. Today, it features a variety of restaurants with unique creations.
  • Rockin’ R Ranch (Mesa) is an old Western town with gun fights, panning for gold and live stage shows.

– Josh Frigerio, ABC15 / Edited for Phoenix.org