Best of ASU 2017

You voted and we listened

The votes are in! Here's the list of places on or near ASU's four campuses that have earned the title of "Best of ASU." Don't forget to pick up your copy of our "Best of ASU" print issue which is on campus newsstands now!


Best Coffee Shop: Dutch Bros. Coffee

Dutch Bros. has great coffee for a great price. There is no fear of clearing out your bank account when you need that large quadruple shot iced latte to get through the three papers and two quizzes due tomorrow.

You may have to wait in line, but the friendly staff helps everyone as quickly as possible so you’re not losing much precious study time. If you don’t like coffee there is also teas, smoothies, and sodas made in house. It is a great place to meet up with friends to decide plans for the rest of the day, or to chill and people watch. So, if you ever need a quick caffeine boost Dutch Bros. is a good choice.

Best Restaurant on Mill: Fuzzy's Taco Shop

Tacos, margaritas, awesome prices. You really cannot go wrong with these Americanized tacos and a frozen margarita with a beer tipped into it. Though non-traditional the spin that Fuzzy’s puts on their tacos with some feta and garlic sauce puts them in a league of their own. 

The atmosphere is fun and casual, good for going out with friends or bringing your laptop for some study time while you eat and have a drink. They also have a special every Tuesday or “Taco Tuesday” when most of their tacos are even cheaper than usual, and if you go expect to be part of a big crowd. All these things put together make for a delicious time.

Best Food That's Worth the Wait: Oregano's

With 15 locations in central Arizona alone, it’s obvious that Oregano’s is one of the Valley’s favorite Italian restaurants. What’s great about Oregano’s is you can stop in during the midday rush for lunch, or stop by for a romantic dinner in the evening and have two wonderfully different experiences. 

Whether you’re in the mood for pan, thin or thick crust pizza, Oregano’s has it all. Long lines are because a) the food is amazing and b) Oregano’s carefully crafts each pizza and bakes them for about 30-45 minutes. From salads to pizza to their famous pizookies, in their own words, you don’t want to pass this joint.

Best Bar on Mill: Whiskey Row

Even if you don’t like country music, you can probably dig the vibe of Whiskey Row. With typically great music to dance to, Whiskey Row is a great time especially on Friday and Saturday nights. 

Don’t know how to two-step? No problem, by about 11 p.m. there isn’t much room for that anyway. There are two bars, which helps the ebb and flow of people trying to get lit. There is outdoor and indoor seating and a big dance floor — no cowboy boots needed.

Best Pizza Place: Mellow Mushroom

Located in the heart of Mill Avenue, this pizza joint has a large variety of Italian and vegan options on the menu to satisfy the tastes of both vegetarians and carnivores. From building your own pizza or from choosing the “specialty” items, there is something for anyone. The service is always super friendly and helpful. 

The atmosphere is fun and almost Brewery-esque. The menu is large with all your favorite Italian bites for appetizers and a ton of vegan options. Not in the mood for a slice? Don’t worry, enjoy a calzone or a hoagie or maybe a salad. For anyone who’s 21 or older, there are a variety of craft beer available.

Best Running Spot: Tempe Town Lake

What promises a healthier body, a sunnier outlook, and the perfect opportunity to catch up? Running of course.  With a blue body of water reflecting a variety of buildings and a bright blue sky, it is easy to see why Tempe Town Lake was chosen as the best place for a run.  

Whether you are looking to get out on a boat to fish, paddleboard or kayak this is the place to do it without having to leave town. Along with these activities, one can simply bike, run, or enjoy the sunset, there is something for everyone to enjoy at this man-made lake.

Best Breakfast Spot: Snooze: an AM Eatery

With fresh ingredients used to prepare new seasonal dishes from scratch, Snooze holds the spot for best breakfast spot in Tempe. You may have to wait in a lengthy line but after a bite of the sweet utopia pancakes, you will be more than happy you waited.

If you want something light after a crazy college night, you can order one of their light as a feather options. Who says the party has to end at night? Snooze AM also has a diverse selection of morning cocktails. Make breakfast a party at Snooze AM.

Best Late Night Snack: Taco Bell

It’s 1 a.m. and you feel your stomach start to growl. Whether you’re out late with your friends or cooped up in your room doing a late-night study session, it’s a feeling you can’t ignore. 

And you don’t know if you’re really tired, or maybe delusional, but nothing sounds better than a Crunchwrap Supreme and a Doritos Locos Taco. The Taco Bell located on Apache Boulevard is open 24-hours and can cure all your late-night cravings. So head over to Taco Bell and grab yourself something you might be a little ashamed to eat in the light of day.

Best Healthy Option: Original ChopShop Co.

Tired of gorging on pizza and Chipotle burritos? ChopShop has you covered with healthy, organic meals and delicious, fruit-filled acai bowls. Great for lunch or dinner, you can choose between a variety of brown rice protein bowls, hearty sandwiches and fresh salads. 

Located just a few steps off campus, ChopShop offers a sunny atmosphere to brighten even your darkest days. Bring a friend or two and sit at the comfy outdoor picnic tables or cool off inside at the table closest to the freshly made iced tea and lemonade. If you're in a hurry, ChopShop is a great to-go option. Either way, ChopShop is worth the $10 you'll undoubtedly spend.

Best Place to Hang out on Campus: Outside the Memorial Union

Ever just want to take a breather between classes and decompress? Or maybe you just have a break between classes that's too short to go all the way home, but too long to just sit and do nothing. Look no further than the Memorial Union.

With a wide variety of things to eat on campus located in one convenient space, students usually congregate there to grab a bite between classes. But, if you are looking for something more entertaining, the MU is also a great spot for you. If you sit yourself at a table outside or at a window looking out, you have great people-watching view. On some weekdays you might even be able to catch a couple of performances by students, or, if you're really lucky, you can listen to a protest.


Best Comfort Food: Matt's Big Breakfast

Who is Matt and why does he have a big breakfast? Well, Matt and his big breakfast is there for you when you need some comfort food. Bad breakup? Matt’s Big Breakfast. Bad grade? Matt’s Big Breakfast. Bad hair day? Matt’s Big Breakfast is still the answer. 

Their menu ranges from omelets and waffles to burritos and burgers. For those of you looking to get your revenge body, they also have a variety of salads to choose from. Basically, if you want food that is real and honest, go to Matt’s Big Breakfast.  

Best Instagrammable Spot: Roosevelt Row

Roosevelt Row in the arts district of downtown has so many things to offer anyone who visits. There’s food, shops, galleries and many services like a haircut or tattoo. It caters to creative customers and has what you might call a hipster vibe. 

It’s a fun place to spend a weekend day or evening. Whether you’re shopping for yourself, for friends or family, or just window shopping you’ll find something that interests you. Whether it’s date night, squad night out, or you’re just going for a walk you’ll have a good time, and probably feel like you took in some culture all at the same time.

Best Place to see a Show: Crescent Ballroom

If a typical experience at Crescent Ballroom had to be summed up in two or three words, they would have to be local, intimate and delicious. As an adaptive-reuse space, Crescent Ballroom is a modern concert venue/ restaurant with roots deep into downtown Phoenix. Cocina 10, Crescent’s kitchen, serves a one-of-a-kind, locally sourced menu developed by Chris Bianco. 

Seven days a week, Cocina 10 and the lounge are open for lunch and serve food and drinks until midnight on weekdays. If you love music, Crescent does that to. There’s a concert almost every night featuring local bands and national up-and-comers alike. With a max capacity of 550 dancing bodies, catching a show at Crescent Ballroom is intimate, intense and a thrill for music lovers.

Best Place to Grab Lunch Between Classes: Bowl of Greens

The downtown Phoenix campus doesn’t stand alone from the community like the others. Businesses are intertwined with classrooms and dorms. It’s extremely convenient when you have 15 minutes between your class that lets out at 12:45 p.m. and your next starts at 1 p.m. Bowl of Greens is the saving grace for diminished mealtimes in downtown.

Located on the ground floor of the Walter Cronkite building, Bowl of Greens serves up healthy alternatives to burgers and fries just steps away from classrooms. Ask anyone who works there and they’ll tell you that their chicken caesar salad is THE fan favorite. So much so that they ask everyone in line who’s getting it and they prepare it in bulk. Salads, Sandwiches, Healthy entrees and fruity shakes round out the menu. Check them out next time you’re downtown!

Best Place to Hang Out: First Amendment Forum

Each campus has that special place that people can go to mingle among friends… and is also a pretty comfortable place to fall asleep. Downtown, that place could only be the First Amendment Forum at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication. 

The comforting sounds of CNN anchor Jake Tapper’s voice and the manic typing as students’ fingers race to finish up articles is soothing to the budding journalist and makes the First Amendment Forum the best place to hangout - or shut down -  downtown. With plush chairs and tables to rest your feet on, the First Amendment forum is the most comfortable place to sit back and relax.

Best Place to go on a Date: Phoenix Art Museum

Tired of the typical dinner and a movie date? Next time try the Phoenix Art Museum. Yes, a museum. The Phoenix Art Museum in downtown Phoenix is not like most museums where all you can think about is going to sleep. It has a variety of exhibits and collections so you’re bound to find at least one that will interest you.

It’s the perfect place for a date, because unlike seeing a movie you can actually talk to one another. Also, students get a discount and the museum is free during voluntary donation times, which are every Wednesday 3 p.m.-9 p.m., every First Friday 6 p.m.-10 p.m., every Second Saturday 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. and Sunday 12 p.m.-5 p.m. So skip the movie and head on over to the Phoenix Art Museum for your next date.

Best Dessert: Snoh Ice Shavery

Taking shaved ice to the next level, Snoh Ice Shavery blends the flavors of conventional ice cream and shaved ice to create a unique and flavorful experience for customers. Their unique menu offers an array of topping combinations, ranging from s’more inspired mix-ins to mochi balls and Cinnamon Toast Crunch Cereal.

Located in the heart of Central Phoenix, Snoh’s downtown location offers a relaxing urban experience, perfect for escaping the busy rush of the city.  When you need to beat the heat, head to Snoh’s for an unforgettable dessert experience.  

Best Coffee Shop: Grand Central Coffee Company

There’s no better place to go when pulling that college all-nighter than The Grand Central Coffee Company. Offering a wide range of selections, from house brewed lattes to diverse happy hour selections, this two story coffee shop boasts both a lively atmosphere and comfortable seating.

Modeled after the train stations of days past, this coffee shop’s design will leave customers feeling transported. With so many nooks and crannies within the large space, The Grand Central Coffee Company is the perfect place to grab a drink and become immersed in the energetic atmosphere.

Best Place to buy Music: Revolver Records

If you want to lose yourself in the music, Revolver Records is the store for you. With an enormous selection of vinyl records, customers can hunt for great deals on all of their favorite music. 

The store caters to all price levels, with boxes and boxes of records priced at only a dollar. The store also carries CDs, DVDs, books and an assortment of vintage electronics. Ranked by the Phoenix New Times as the number one record store in all of Phoenix, Revolver Records is a must for any music lover.

Best Brunch: Snooze: an AM Eatery

Snooze. It’s what most of us do every morning when our alarm goes off for our 9 a.m. class. It’s pretty much our go-to word, but it’s also the go-to brunch place0 in downtown Phoenix. The food is a delight and the atmosphere is eclectic—the two things you need most in the morning. 

Their menu ranges from a wide variety of breakfast options, from the three-egg omelet to molten chocolate pancakes, and did I mention they have morning cocktails? It’s the perfect place to brunch with your friends and start your day!


Best Date Night Restaurant: Yard House

In the heart of Westgate, you can pretty much find something for everyone, and not coincidentally. Yard House is where most people go to have a nice sit-down meal. With plenty of options on their menu including salads and sandwiches to steak, seafood and an assortment of street tacos, there is actually a menu option for every palette. For those over 21, there is a huge selection of draft beer — and the location has a great bar to pregame a Coyotes or Cardinals game.

Best Date Night Activity: Modern Round

With an assortment of bar food, appetizers and drinks Modern Round at first appears to be a pretty trendy bar in Peoria. But, then there is a virtual shooting range. 

Who would’ve thought drinking and guns would be a good combination? Modern Round pulls it off. Perfect for a different kind of date night activity. Prepare to spend a little more than you would on dinner and a movie, but the fun (and guns) are worth it.

Best Dessert: Rita's Italian Ice

It’s the closest thing the West Valley has to a Bahama Buck’s, but it’s the perfect treat for a ridiculously hot Arizona summer day. With a huge range in flavors, Rita’s Italian Ice has something for every taste bud. 

They also do variations with their classic ice that include ice cream, and it’s to die for. My favorite? Definitely the cotton candy, try that with ice cream and you’re in for a great sweet treat!

Best Pizza Place: Giordano's

If you’re eating pizza at someplace that isn’t Giordano’s, you’re just doing it wrong. The Chicago pizza institution came to the Valley in 2016, and has become a staple of the West Valley. Giordano’s brings its signature deep-dish style pizza (some thin-crust, too, for those thin-crust lovers) to the heart of Peoria’s P83, taking over the lot where Corner Bakery used to sit.

The restaurant also offers classic pastas, Italian sandwiches and desserts. The setup inside is an attempt to transport a guest to the streets of Chi-town, with exposed brick and rustic wood tables paired with bold red booths and topped (of course) with Chicago-themed sports memorabilia on the walls.

Best Mexican Food: Carolina's Mexican Food

Carolina’s has been a go-to hotspot for authentic Mexican cuisine in the Valley for years, so it’s no wonder it landed on our Best Of ASU list. What started as a small tortilla shop out of the back of an old car in the late 1950s expanded (the story is great, check their website’s ‘“history” tab to read the full story) over the course of several decades to two locations and a notoriously good reputation. Any of the burritos are to die for, and the menudo is some of the best you can get without crossing the border.


Best Hiking Spot: Desert Trails Park

Desert Trails Park is known for its mountain biking trails, offering 35 acres of them surrounded by Mesa’s picturesque red mountains. Catering primarily to bikers, the trails can be challenging and differ in difficulty level. Before it’s too hot outside, enjoy the scenery and walk along one of the simpler trails for hikers – it’s a short drive from Polytechnic campus, right off the 202.

Best Place to Grab Dessert: The Soda Shop

This instagrammable dessert spot lets you create your own refreshing, fizzy drink to sip on a blazing Arizona afternoon. You’ll find a list of cleverly named drinks on the menu, such as “the 480” with diet coke, cranberry, and lime, or perhaps the “Big Booty Judy” with coke, raspberry, vanilla and fresh lime. 

Switch it up and create your own – choose your soda base, flavors, purees, creams, or make it a float with scoop of custard. It’s also one of the only places other than Harry Potter World or Hogsmeade to grab a glass of butterbeer.

Best Fast Food Restaurant: Higley Hot Dog Hut

This cash-only mom and pop shop is a favorite of many Mesa residents, offering delicious, authentic Chicago style hot dogs. An enormous hot dog cutout sits atop the tiny hut and the walls are covered in sports memorabilia. Menu items include a bagel dog, kraut dog, fire dog, chili dog and corn dog, among others. Both the chili cheese dog and fries definitely won’t disappoint.

Best Mexican Food: Burrito Shack

For students at ASU’s Polytechnic campus, the Burrito Shack is a great nearby spot to grab a flavorful, appetite filling snack at an affordable price. Their “Shack Size” burritos are more than enough to keep you going until your next meal.

Their breakfast burritos and carne asada fries are satisfying favorites.  If you’re a fan of adding spice to your life, don’t forget to try their hot salsa.The “shack” lives up to its name by appearance, but the food is far from shabby.

Best Coffee: The Coffee Shop

The Coffee Shop” reaches beyond the expectations of its title, with a variety of options on the menu. Breakfast choices include fresh burritos and “breakfastwiches”. The lunch menu offers a wide array of sandwiches and a “Fish Taco Friday”. If you’re in the mood for something sweet, try one of their mouth watering pastries. And of course, their delicious lattes and chai drinks are a huge part of what has made this chic coffee shop a favorite place to sip and relax.

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