Best of ASU 2018

State Press editors and magazine staff voted on their favorite restaurants, bars and more

Best of ASU: Tempe 

Battle of the Brunch: Snooze

By Abdel Jimenez

Brunch is revolutionized through Snooze. The best part is that it’s within walking distance of the Tempe campus. Whether you’re hanging out with friends, taking a break from a study session or just really hungry, Snooze has you covered with affordable prices and mouthwatering meals. What’s so great about Snooze? The mimosas are exquisite. The aroma of citrus oozes out of the fancy glass it’s served in. It’s the place you’ll find Instagrammers taking nonchalant photos of themselves. The chili verde benedict is a must have plate. Spicy food in the morning? It might sound out of the ordinary, but it will kickstart your day. Needless to say, Snooze is the best brunch restaurant near campus. So, if you’re in the mood, try Snooze.


Best “Hidden Spot” on Campus: The Secret Garden

By Ranjani Venkatakrishnan 

What happens in the Secret Garden stays in the Secret Garden. Be it a concert, a party, a date, or just some me-time to relax or do homework, this is the place where it all happens. Enjoy the flowers, the plants and trees while lounging on your blanket on the green grass. Look up and watch the clouds pass by or the sky change colors in this secret square surrounded by white walls, or head over after the stars come out and chances are you’ll see a band hit the stage or a cool event happening here. It’s magical. Where is it? Not telling.

Best Coffee Shop: Cartel

By Thalia M. Espana

For a more authentic taste and a break from your everyday Starbucks routine, the Cartel Coffee Lab, a “craft single-origin coffee roaster and micro-brewery” based in Tempe, makes for a great refresher. The coffee shop offers a variety of regular and seasonal flavors for different personal coffee palates. With options like a “standard cup” from their espresso drip for a more regular flavor, Cartel Coffee Lab says, “whether you are searching to explore the potential of filter brewed coffee or you simply want something that you find wildly delicious, we have something for you.”

Best Date: Picnic at Tempe Beach Park

By Thalia M. Espana

Jack Winn

People paddleboard and kayak through Tempe Town Lake in Tempe, Arizona, on Sunday, Jan. 28, 2018.

If you want to take your significant other on a beautiful date, but you feel stuck on that college-kid budget, fret no more. Tempe Beach Park provides an atmosphere that is both wallet and scenic-friendly.  Known as a main event and concert location for Tempe residents, the free-access 25-acre public park contains over five miles of walking trails, picnic tables and ramadas among other amenities that are perfect for a picnic date. Grab a blanket and enjoy a picnic, take a walk waterfront through the sandy trails or even go on a boating adventure for a fun-filled day. Tempe Beach Park is perfect during springtime for greener grass and beautiful weather, all surrounded by a mountain view.


Best Make-Your-Own Pizza: Blaze Pizza

By Nicole Ludden

There’s a reason LeBron James denied a $14 million deal with McDonald’s in order to endorse this tasty make-your-own pizza chain. Blaze offers a multitude of signature recipes for hand-crafted artisan pizzas, plus the option to make your own mouthwatering creation. The restaurant uses an assembly-line style where customers can pick and choose their ingredients right at the counter. Blaze offers four sauces, seven cheeses, 20 vegetables and eight protein options for your own unique pizza creation. Those with dietary restrictions need not fret, Blaze also provides vegan and gluten-free options. Their signature dough is pressed and baked in front of you, and only takes around 180 seconds to bake.

Best Dessert: Oregano's Pizza Cookie

By Azzam Almouai


An Arizona staple for quality Italian food, Oregano’s holds a special place in the hearts of ASU students. People go to Oregano’s for many reasons, but no meal culminates as sweetly as when patrons decide to save room for dessert (or treat themselves to dessert for dinner). Specifically, I’m talking about the melt-in-your-mouth magical pizza cookie. The duality of man can be found in every bite between the embracing warmth of the cookie and cool serenade of the ice cream on top. As a half pound of heaven that tastes like it was fresh baked in your grandma’s oven, this sweet treat has been there for many students in their time of need.

The Best Of ASU Downtown Phoenix

Best Pizza: Cibo

by Nicole Ludden

Cibo Urban Pizzeria offers a variety of artisan pizzas in a quaint downtown Phoenix environment. All their menu items are freshly made — the savory pizzas are served on a thin crust baked in a wood-fired oven. A brick fireplace, hardwood floors, stringed lights and stained glass make this restaurant an intimate and welcoming place to sit down for a skillfully crafted Italian meal. Or, you could always order from Postmates and enjoy a heavenly selection of pizzas and pastas from the comfort of your own home.

Best Date: Phoenix Art Museum

by Emily Taylor

Shalanndra Benally

The Phoenix Art Museum in downtown Phoenix, Arizona is pictured on Thursday, March 18, 2018. 

Take your significant other or prospective date for a stroll around the Phoenix Art Museum, the largest museum for visual art in the Southwest. Enjoy the soft echo of music through the halls as you gaze at the collection of over 18,000 global masterpieces. A must-see for a romantic night-on-the-town is the Yayoi Kusama Firefly Room. Mirrors and suspended strands of LED lights transport viewers to another “galaxy,” according to the Museum’s website. Top off the occasion with a bite at Palette, the on-location restaurant. This casual American cafe offers a menu as creative as its walls with ingredients produced by local farmers.


Best Dessert: Snoh Ice Shavery

by Maya Foxall


Snoh Ice Shavery in Downtown Phoenix is a fun and delicious spot to stop by if you’re in the mood for a sweet treat. For those of you who’ve never experienced Snoh in Arizona, it’s a creamy shaved ice experience with a multitude of different flavors and toppings. Besides snoh combos, the dessert shop also offers bubble tea, various iced teas and even the Japanese dessert brick toast. No matter what you choose on the menu, it will help quench your cravings and keep you cool during the upcoming summer weather. 


Best Bar: Valley Bar

by Savanah Yaghsezian

Saturday nights downtown are not complete without a trip to Valley Bar. The best sobriety test is the walk down the flight of stairs into either the crowded dance floor or the Rose Room bar. Valley Bar laughs in the face of those who say Arizona is boring as the entire establishment is dedicated to Arizona’s unique history and infamous political landscape. Everything from the menu to the decorations on the walls are a testament to Valley Bar’s love of Arizona. Treat yourself to a glass of The Rose Mofford (named after Arizona’s first female governor), grab some friends and see if you can find the secret room in the back. 

Best Coffee: Jobot

by Emily Taylor


Jobot Coffee Shop comfortably sits on the corner of Roosevelt and Third streets in the heart of downtown Phoenix’s Arts District. A stock of coffee and full bar attract college students, musicians and local artists alike. Whether grinding out homework or hitting it off with friends, ASU students immerse in the ambience surrounded by photos and paintings crafted by those in their own backyards. Jobot’s addition of the nutella crepe keeps customers coming back, while live music and vibrant DJs make it impossible to leave.

Gems of West & Poly

Poly Community Garden

By Parker Shea


Most ASU students never get to see the Polytechnic community garden. That’s a shame. Touted as a model for sustainable community gardening, this place-fixture of ASU’s STEM-oriented Mesa campus serves as an educational center for students interested in how to plant, raise and harvest city crops. Urban gardening is on the rise; it only makes sense that ASU starts catering to the demand. Stop by this quaint little garden next time you get the chance — the garden’s wood picket fence is open to all ASU students with a mind for life and a back for labor.


West Campus Delph Courtyard

By Savanah Yaghsezian

Hidden within the folds of suburbia, ASU’s West Campus serves as an oasis to many students. Although the campus is small, it makes up for its size with its inviting aesthetics. The Delph Courtyard, located in the interior of the University Center Building, is a peaceful place to get some studying done or soak up some rays next to the central fountain. With its abundant foliage and blue tiling, it creates a sense of calm despite your most hectic days. 


Editor's note: A former version this article referred to the Oregano's Pizza Cookie, which is a registered trademark, as a "pizookie." This article has been updated to reflect the accurate name of the dessert dish.


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