By Amy Young
Since 2006, the Food Network’s “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives” has become an extremely popular, must-watch program for those with a desire to find out about regional restaurants focusing on classic diner fare and treasured family recipes. Charismatic, spiky-haired host Guy Fieri and his crew have visited the Phoenix metropolitan area on several occasions. Here’s a round-up of three of his recent stops that highlight dining diversity and deliciousness in the Valley of the Sun,
Andreoli Italian Grocer
This neighborhood market and eatery brings authentic Italian cuisine to the desert, serving it up in a cozy, charming shop owned by Giovanni Scorzo—who doubles as the chef—and his wife, Linda. Make yourself at home at one of the wooden tables and choose something from the enticing menu full of sandwiches, salads and pasta dishes. You’ll have a hard time deciding between choices like the Porchetta, a warm sandwich loaded with roasted pork that has been seasoned with garlic, black pepper, and fennel, or the Foce, a salad of mixed greens topped with tuna, tomatoes and pecorino cheese. There are also plenty of homemade items to take with you, including breads and desserts. Visit andreoli-grocer.com.
Paradise Valley Burger Co.
A serious burger craving generally means that not just any meat patty will do. You want something you can sink your teeth into while making sure there are a stack of napkins nearby to catch the fallout. This strip mall spot, located in the scenic Paradise Valley neighborhood north of Phoenix, makes just the type of burger that hits the spot—plump, hearty and bursting with flavor. For those who need more than the standard toppings like cheese, lettuce and tomato, this place takes it to another level with options like the Country Fried Burger, topped with a thick gravy, that “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives” featured, or the beer-battered Booze Burger covered with a vodka, chili and bacon cream sauce. The Beach House Burger is smothered in smoked mozzarella and pico de gallo. Chicken sandwiches, sides and vegetarian options round at the menu at this friendly, fast-casual neighborhood joint. Go to paradisevalleyburgercompany.com.
Sal’s Gilbert Pizza
This New York-style pizzeria is your go-to spot when you can’t decide between a savory pie and a heaping order of pasta. Sal’s specialty pizza menu has a few selections that put the pasta right on the pizza such as the Lasagna Pizza, rich and divine layered meat and cheese dish on top of a chewy crust. Sal knows east coast pizza; he managed his brother’s pizzeria in New York for several years before bringing his skills and his family to a warmer climate to share his recipes for tasty eats with the desert dwellers. The scent of garlic hits you as you walk in, immediately springing your hunger pangs into action. From thin crust to the thicker Sicilian style pies, appetizers and pastas, Sal’s has saucy cravings covered. Visit gilbertpizzaaz.com.