PHOENIX — Editor’s note: This article was first published on July 21, 2016. It has been updated and refreshed to include a few more restaurants that Mr. Flavortown himself and his “Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives” team have visited since. Also, because of the COVID-19 pandemic, restaurants have had to temporarily modify their operations and menus. We recommend checking a restaurant’s website for current hours before visiting.
Guy Fieri has been all over the country checking out some of the most unique restaurants, menus, and “dynamite” flavors on his Food Network TV show, “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives.”
His trek for delicious cuisine has brought him to the Grand Canyon State many times, visiting at least 35 restaurants in Flagstaff, Phoenix, and most recently, Tucson, over the years.
Mr. Flavortown has tried everything from gas station BBQ to farm-fresh burgers, authentic Italian sausage, baked ziti pizza, ‘stakable’ fries with shredded beef, bacon and mac and cheese, and, of course, gourmet Mexican cuisine. He even tried a spot known for its vegan Mexican dishes, including Jackfruit tacos.
View the map below to a see a list of locations, followed by a brief description of each restaurant and what dishes Guy tried or were featured on the show.
4165 S Gilbert Rd #5, Chandler, AZ 85249
GrubStak is a neighborhood eatery in Chandler that specializes in customized gourmet fry dishes, known as “Staks,” that are then topped with different meats, sauces, and toppings. They have a few signature “staks,” including Sweet Lou’s BBQ, which is waffle fries topped with BBQ pulled pork, Applewood bacon, and coleslaw (or mac and cheese) and their Chilaquiles, which Guy Fieri tried. For those looking to stay a bit away from the fries, you can also get your “stak” topped with root vegetables. They also have sandwiches, salads, and wraps. The restaurant’s original location opened in 2016 in downtown Gilbert, but that location since closed. The concept relocated to Chandler.
The show also visited Aunt Lena’s Creamery in Chandler several years ago. However, that business shut down back in 2009, according to local media reports at the time.
Sal’s Gilbert Pizza
1150 S. Gilbert Road, Gilbert, AZ 85296
Sal and Grace opened Sal’s Gilbert Pizza, a neighborhood Italian restaurant in 2006 in Gilbert, Arizona, after moving to Arizona from New York, according to their website. From homemade pizzas, strombolis, and calzones to Italian Antipasto salads and traditional salads, the menu is vast enough to have something for anyone. But, it’s one of their specialty pizzas that seems to have caught Guy Fieri’s eye — the Baked Ziti Pizza. Just like it sounds, it’s a pizza topped with Rigatoni pasta, mozzarella and a pink sauce. Guy also tried the Baked Lasagna.
Joe’s Farm Grill
3000 E Ray Rd, Gilbert, AZ 85296
Joe’s Farm Grill is a popular eatery in Gilbert, Arizona, that is located on the Johnston Family Farm. Joe Johnston and his wife opened the restaurant in 2006. Burgers are one of the signature items, but the menu also has a variety of chicken sandwiches, pan pizzas, and other comfort foods. On Diners, Drive-ins and Dives, Guy Fieri tried the Ahi Tuna Sandwich, Fontina Burger, BBQ Chicken Pizza, and a side of onion rings.
Courtesy La Piazza Al Forno
La Piazza Al Forno/Piazza Romana
5803 W. Glendale Avenue, Glendale, AZ 85307 (La Piazza Al Forno)
10210 W McDowell Rd, Suite 120 Avondale, AZ 85392 (Piazza Romana)
Fans of Triple D will likely remember Justin Piazza, owner of La Piazza Al Forno, from his multiple appearances on Food Network, but even more so, they may also remember Justin’s dad’s dance moves. La Piazza Al Forno is an authentic Italian pizzeria in Glendale that specializes in personal Neapolitan pizzas, as well as other Italian favorites. They first appeared on Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives in October 2008. There, Guy Fieri tried Piazza’s pizzas, as well as the Chicken Cacciatore. They also appeared on an episode of Triple D Nation and most recently, Takeout: Home Delivery, a show where Guy Fieri makes a dish at home using ingredients from past Triple D restaurants. In the years since, Piazza opened Piazza Romano, a smaller joint that specializes in Roman-style rectangular pizzas.
5739 W. Glendale Avenue, Glendale, AZ 85301
Foodies can take a trip to Germany without leaving the Valley of the Sun. Haus Murphy’s has been part of Historic Downtown Glendale for more than two decades. It is owned by Brett and Rose Hoffmann. The menu features large Bavarian pretzels, Sauerkraut, Schnitzel, and a variety of German sausages. Guy Fieri tried the Sauerbraten, Pork Schnitzel, and Wiener Schnitzel.
2950 S. Alma School Road, Mesa, AZ 85210
Those looking for a taste of the Hawaiian Islands should probably make a trip to Aloha Kitchen in Mesa, Arizona. Lynn Tso and her husband have owned the small mom-and-pop restaurant for nearly three decades. During his visit, Guy Fieri tried the Manapua, a barbecue pork bun, and the Kalbi, which are Korean-style short ribs. They also have a teriyaki chicken plate, chicken katsu plate, and Bulgogi plate, each served with scoops of rice, macaroni salad, or a tossed salad. They also have noodle dishes, spam musubi, and other dishes.
204 E 1st Ave, Mesa, AZ 85210
Republica Empanada is a restaurant in downtown Mesa that specializes in South American-style empanadas, which are essentially pastries that are stuffed with sweet or savory fillings. Diners will find more than 20 kinds of empanadas on the menu. They also have a variety of rice dishes, appetizers, salads, and tortas on the menu. Guy tried the Arroz con Pollo and the Cubano Empanada, which is filled with Pernil, ham, mozzarella, and dill pickle.
1923 E McDowell Rd, Phoenix, AZ 85006
2160 N Alma School Rd, Chandler, AZ 85224
127 W Main St, Mesa, AZ 85201
Armando Hernandez and his wife, Nadia Holguin, opened their restaurant, Taco Chiwas, in 2016. It quickly became a fan favorite, was highlighted in local publications, and caught the interest of Triple D and Guy Fieri. The eatery specializes in street tacos, burritos, and gorditas, a pastry filled with meat, cheese, and other toppings. Fieri tried the Barbacoa tacos and the Deshebrada Roja Gorditas. They have since expanded with a second location in Chandler and a third in downtown Mesa.
The Wild Thaiger
2631 N. Central Ave. Phoenix, AZ 85004
The Wild Thaiger is a Thai-Asian restaurant located in central Phoenix. It is owned by chef Olashawn Hasadinratana-Weaver. One of the dishes that Guy Fieri tried was the Dragon Eggs. Weaver opened a second concept called Little Thaiger, but that location has since closed, it appears.
39510 N Daisy Mountain Drive, Anthem, AZ 85086
Tortas Chano, formerly known as Roberto’s Authentic Mexican Food when it was on Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives, is a Mexican restaurant located in Anthem, a community north of Phoenix. The restaurant has been in business since the 1990s, according to its website. The menu features a variety of Mexican cuisine. Guy tried the carne asada, the salsa, and the al pastor.
525 S. Central Avenue, Phoenix, AZ 85004
The Duce is a unique spot in downtown Phoenix’s Warehouse District. In its heyday (the 1920s), it was a produce district near downtown’s train depot. Today, owners Steve and Andi have resurrected the past and brought it into the present. Inside the warehouse, you’ll find a wrestling ring, an old-timey soda fountain, games, a vintage clothing shop, dance floor and trailer. Guy tried the Beer Can Chicken, the mac & cheese muffins, and the s’mores cheesecake.
St. Francis (new ownership)
111 E. Camelback Road, Phoenix, AZ 85012
St. Francis is an urban neighborhood restaurant in Phoenix. Local restauranteur Aaron Chamberlin and his brother, Dave Chamberlin, opened the restaurant in 2009. They sold it to new owners in 2018. When it was featured on Triple D, Guy Fieri tried the Pig Dip, the Moroccan Meatballs, and the Rustic Iron Skillet Pancake. According to a recent online menu, it appears that the Pig Dip, now called The Famous Pig Dip, and the Moroccan Meatballs (same name) remain on the menu. Chamberlin also owns Phoenix Public Market Cafe and Taco Chelo, both in Phoenix. His brother owns Ghost Ranch in Tempe.
Paradise Valley Burger Co
4001 E. Bell Road, Phoenix, AZ 85032
One look at Paradise Valley Burger Co.’s Instagram account and you’ll know what to expect from this Phoenix burger joint — interesting and creative burger combinations, and there are new specials every week. Owner Brett Shapiro opened his burger concept in 2011. On the show, Guy Fieri tried the Country Fried Burger, lightly fried beef, jalapeno/thyme reduction, lettuce, tomato, and fried onion, and the Paradise Valley Burger, which is beef lettuce, tomato, cucumber, pickled onion, and 1000 Island dressing. Since the show, Shapiro also opened a pizza concept, Paradise Valley Pizza Company.
La Santisima Gourmet Taco Shop
1919 N. 16th Street, Phoenix, AZ 85006
5932 W. Glendale Avenue, Glendale AZ 85301
La Santisima Gourmet Taco Shop, as its name suggests, specializes in street tacos bringing together flavors from all parts of Mexico. “We enjoy Mexican flavors with a dash of our family’s own special character,” the restaurant says on its website. Two of the dishes that were highlighted on Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives were the Nogada Taco and the Oaxacan Black Mole Chicken. They have two locations in Phoenix and Glendale. A third was open in Flagstaff, but that location appears to have closed.
Giuseppe’s on 28th
2824 E Indian School, Phoenix, AZ 85016
With the signature black and white checkered tiles, Giuseppe’s on 28th is a self-described no-frills, old-school Italian restaurant in Phoenix. Chef Richard Block, who studied in Italy and is also a musician, purchased the restaurant in 2002. They were featured on Triple D in 2006. The menu features a variety of Italian classics, such as Veal Osso Buco, Suppli di Riso, Bolognese raguChicken or Eggplant Chicken, as well as salads, pasta dishes, subs, and, of course, desserts. On the show, Guy Fieri reportedly said their version of Bolognese ragu was better than his. He also tried the Pork Shanks and Osso Buco.
2814 N. 16th Street, Phoenix, Arizona 85006
Chef Silvana Salcido Esparza and her restaurant, Barrio Cafe, have been staples of Arizona’s dining scene for years. She has been named a semifinalist in the James Beard Foundation’s “Best Chef: Southwest” category multiple times. She opened Barrio Cafe in 2002 to elevate Mexican-American culture and showcase authentic Mexican cuisine. During his visit, Guy Fieri tried the Chiles en Nogada, Tilapia, Cochinita Pibil, and the Yucatan Pulled Pork. Esparza opened a second restaurant, Barrio Cafe Gran Reserva, but closed it because of the pandemic.
15414 N 19th Ave, Phoenix, AZ 85023
Chino Bandido combines Mexican, Asian, and Jamaican flavors. Owners Frank and Eve Collins opened their restaurant in late 1990, according to the restaurant’s website. Originally, the restaurant was 1,000 square feet and had 16 seats, inspired by the hole-in-the-wall-type restaurants the Collins’ were inspired by. They expanded over the years adding more space and seats. The food combinations are endless. They serve burritos, bowls, and quesadillas. Dishes highlighted on the show were Pollo Diablo, Jade Red Chicken, and Machaca.
Over Easy is an Arizona-based restaurant chain offering modern twists on classic breakfast dishes. It was founded in 2008 by celebrity chef Aaron May, who worked at a few local resorts in town, opened a few restaurants, and has appeared quite a few times on various Food Network shows, including Triple D, and Guy’s Grocery Games. The concept has since expanded and franchised with multiple locations in Arizona, and a few out of state. On the show, Guy tried the ham steak, chicken-fried steak, and the Banana-Nut French Toast. They also have “Golden Waffle Dogs,” which are deep-fried sausage links, kind of like a corn dog. That dish was featured on Food Network’s Best Thing I Ever Ate.
Matt’s Big Breakfast
If you’ve lived in Phoenix for a while or have visited in the last decade, you’ve likely heard of, or perhaps received a recommendation to check out, Matt’s Big Breakfast. It started as a very small diner in 2004 in downtown Phoenix (that’s the one Guy Fieri visited on Triple D). In the years since, it has relocated to a larger building and expanded with locations in Tempe and Scottsdale, and will soon have a location in Glendale. It is owned by Matt Pool and his wife. Their menu is focused on local, quality ingredients. The menu has 11 breakfast items on it: a few egg and meat combinations, pancakes, waffles, a scramble, and a burrito. Guy tried the “Chop and Chick,” which is two eggs and a skillet-seared Iowa pork rib chop served with toast and potatoes. He also tried the bacon and waffles.
Los Taquitos Comida Mexicana
Los Taquitos is a small family-owned and run chain of Mexican restaurants in the Phoenix area. The concept started as a food cart in 1981 and now the owners’ children run the operation using the same family recipes. Guy Fieri tried a variety of tacos on the show, including the carnitas street taco, something he described as “killer,” according to Food Network’s website. He also tried the Camarones a La Diabla. The menu also has enchiladas, burritos, bowls, tostadas, and sandwiches.
Thee Pitts Again (Closed April 2020)
Thee Pitts Again was a barbecue diner in Glendale, Arizona. Cheryl and Roger Wagner launched the business in 1979, according to their website. Guy Fieri and his Triple D team visited them in 2007. After 40 years, the owners closed their Arizona location in April 2020. They have a second location in Colorado that remains open, according to a Facebook post. Guy tried the BBQ, Cheryl’s coleslaw and the simple chili.
Bootleggers Modern American Smokehouse
7217 E 1st Street, Scottsdale, AZ 85251.
Bootleggers Modern American Smokehouse is (yup, you guessed it) an American BBQ restaurant located in Old Town Scottsdale. It reportedly opened in 2013 and has since expanded with a second restaurant in Phoenix. On the show, Guy Fieri tried the Boot Dumplings, which have pork belly & shrimp, mango chipotle sauce, and beet coulis, and the French Dip sandwich. The menu also features burgers, meats, sandwiches, and tacos.
6149 N Scottsdale Rd, Scottsdale, AZ 85250
Slanted Rice is a Vietnamese bistro at The Shops at Hilton Village in Scottsdale. The restaurant was featured on Season 27 of Food Network’s Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives. Guy Fieri sampled the Crispy Clay Pot Chicken and Crispy Pork Egg Rolls. It is owned by Hue Tran & Ty Chu, who also run Rice Paper, Saigon Kitchen, and Poki Bar Central.
The Thumb (formerly Tom’s Thumb)
9393 E. Bell Road, Scottsdale, AZ 85260
The Thumb is another unique joint in Arizona that combines many concepts in one: a gas station, convenience store, marketplace, car wash, and a BBQ restaurant. The menu covers a lot of ground. There are breakfast tacos and grits, soups and salads, sandwiches, burgers, ribs, brisket, and comfort sides. Guy tried the half-stack, and the pigs and grits.
6501 E Greenway Pkwy #159, Scottsdale, AZ 85254
Perk Eatery is a family-owned breakfast restaurant in north Scottsdale. It was featured on Diners, Drive-ins and Dives in 2013, where Mr. Flavortown described the restaurant as a “classic Americano with a southwest kick.” Some of Perks’ specialties include The Cowboy, steak, eggs, and potatoes, Huevos Rancheros, Bacon Breakfast Tacos, and The Outlaw Scramble, which is eggs, chopped ham, bacon, sausage, sauteed onions and green peppers, then topped with Cheddar and a cilantro-jalapeno sauce. Guy tried the breakfast enchiladas and the “Chicken on the Coup,” which is their version of biscuits and gravy.
DeFalco’s Italian Eatery
2334 N Scottsdale Rd a133, Scottsdale, AZ 85257
DeFalco’s Italian Eatery is an Italian grocery store, marketplace and deli all in one. The family-owned business’s roots began in Toronto, Canada, then moved to Michigan, and eventually made its way to Scottsdale in 1972, according to its website. They serve sandwiches, calzones, pizza, pasta and salads. You order at the counter and eat at one of the tables scattered throughout the grocery store or eat outside. They also have a market with Italian goods, such as olive oil, pasta sauce, and olives.
Andreoli Italian Grocery
8880 E Vía Linda, Scottsdale, AZ 85258
Those looking for a taste of Italy will want to add Andreoli Italian Grocery to their lists. Owner Giovanni Scorzo and his wife moved to the United States from Italy in 1985 and opened Andreoli’s in 2007. It’s an Italian market, restaurant, deli, and bakery. Scorzo makes his own meats, cheese, and bread. On the show, Guy Fieri tried the Prosciutto Sempronio sandwich and the Bollito di Carne.
1212 E Apache Blvd., Tempe, AZ 85281
Curry Corner is a restaurant in Tempe, Arizona, not far from Arizona State University, which specializes in Indian and Pakistani cuisine. Owner Farah Khalid opened her restaurant in 2000. Guy tried the Tandoori chicken tikka, topped with garam masala and the Goat karahi.
The Lodge Sasquatch Kitchen
26 S Farmer Ave, Tempe, AZ 85281
Those with an appetite and a hankering for an over-the-top grilled cheese, or just in the mood for some comfort American food, may want to check out The Lodge Sasquatch Kitchen in Tempe. The restaurant was founded by Aaron May, who as you read earlier helped create Over Easy, which was also featured on “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives.” There used to be locations in Scottsdale, Arizona and Fort Collins, Colorado. Those have since closed. It was then opened in Tempe back in 2015, according to local media reports at that time. The menu features a variety of burgers, grilled cheese sandwiches, wraps, sandwiches, chicken tenders, hot dogs and brats. The show featured the Pork Green Chili and the Habanero Parmesan burger.
2731 W. Broadway, Tucson, AZ
119 E. Speedway, Tucson, AZ
Zemam’s is an Ethiopian restaurant in Tucson, which is about 90 minutes south of Phoenix. And for those curious, Ethiopia is located in Africa in the Horn of Africa on the far east side of the continent. Amanuel Gebremariam, who came to the U.S. as a refugee, opened his restaurant in 1993. In 2004, he opened a second restaurant, called Zemam’s Too!, according to the website. The most popular dishes are their vegetable and meat platters. “Each one of the dishes is individually its own little song and what comes together is the Ethiopian musical,” Guy said, according to Food Network’s website. Guy tried the Yedero Wat and Yegomen Alicha.
Renee’s Organic Oven
7065 E. Tanque Verde Road, Tucson AZ 85715
Renee’s Organic Oven is a Tucson restaurant that uses locally-sourced and organic ingredients and whose menu offers a little bit of everything. Diners will find customized pizzas, pastas, calzones, salads and sandwiches on the menu. Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives featured The Tailored Tony, organic grass-fed beef in marinara, roasted red peppers, basil and mozzarella, and the Spinach “dip” Calzone, creamy spinach and artichoke dip with, baked organic free-range chicken and house-roasted green chilies.
Inca’s Peruvian Cuisine
6878 E. Sunrise Dr. Tucson, AZ 85750 #130
Those looking for a taste of South America, specifically Peru, may want to visit Inca’s Peruvian Cuisine. The Tucson restaurant is owned by Fatima Campos and was featured on Food Network’s Diners, Drive-In and Dives in 2018. According to Food Network’s website, Guy Fieri tried the Seco de Carne con Frijoles, beef braised in a cilantro and Peruvian sauce, and Lomo Saltado, strips of marinated beef, onions, tomatoes, parsley, and potatoes.
Rocco’s Little Chicago
2707 E Broadway Blvd., Tucson, AZ 85716
Rocco’s Little Chicago is a self-described “casual pizza joint” in Tucson that’s known for its Chicago-style stuffed pizza and Chicago flavors. It has been part of Tucson’s food scene since 1998. They have stuffed, thin, and deep-dish pizzas, as well as soups, salads, calzones, and pasta. Looking for a class Italian beef sandwich? No worries, it’s on the menu.
2526 E 6th St., Tucson, AZ 85716
402 E 4th St., Tucson, AZ 85705
1002 W Congress St., Tucson, AZ 85745
Wendy Garcia owns Cafe Tumerico, a vegan Mexican restaurant in Tucson, a city about 90 minutes south of Phoenix. She showcased her Nopalito tacos, which are made with cactus, salsa, vegetables, and a Korean sauce. Apparently, “the dish was so good, Guy had to call his mother and tell her about it,” reads Food Network’s website about the restaurant. Guy also tried the carne asada plate which is made with jackfruit. Cafe Tumerico’s menu changes daily. They now have three locations around Tucson.
Chef Alisah’s Restaurant
5931 N Oracle Rd, Tucson, AZ 85704
Chef Alisah’s Restaurant in Tucson, Arizona, offers European and Bosnian cuisine. One of their specialties is “Cevapi,” which is essentially sausage served in pita bread. The menu features a variety of vegetable and meat dishes, and Bosnian versions of popular dishes, such as sausage, goulash, hamburgers, and kebabs.
Salsa Brava Mexican Grill
2220 E. W. Route 66, Flagstaff, AZ 86004
Restauranteur and chef John Conley opened his Mexican restaurant, Salsa Brava Mexican Grill, along the famous Route 66 in Flagstaff more than three decades ago. Since then, he has become friends with Guy Fieri. Not only was Salsa Brava featured on Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives, but his other restaurant, Fat Olives (listed below) was too. Conley has also competed on another one of Fieri’s shows, Guys Grocery Games (spoiler: he won). Salsa Brava combines Mexican and Southwestern flavors. The menu has an array of dishes, including fajitas, tacos, guacamole, enchiladas, burritos, and combo plates. On Triple D, Guy tried the Navajo Taco, tableside guacamole, coconut shrimp, and for dessert, stuffed sopapilla.
2308 E Rte 66, Flagstaff, AZ 86004
Fat Olives is an Italian restaurant focused on award-winning wood-fired and Neopolitan pizzas in Flagstaff. It is owned by Chef John Conley, who also owns Salsa Brava Mexican Grill. Using a 900-degree oven, its Neopolitan pizzas cook in 90 seconds, according to its website. On the show, Guy Fieri tried the Belgio Dulce Pizza and the Kenai Pizza.
Brandy’s Restaurant & Bakery (new ownership, rebranded)
1500 E Cedar Ave #40, Flagstaff, AZ 86004
Brandy’s Restaurant has been part of Flagstaff since the 1990s, according to its website. In 2009, it was featured on Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives. Guy tried the Southwestern beef and the flat iron steak, according to Food Network’s website. Years after the episode aired, the chef reportedly retired and new owners took over and turned the restaurant into a breakfast and lunch spot and a bakery. The items Guy tried are no longer on the menu.