Monday February 27, 2017
One minute you’re Dazed and Confused with a bout of the giggles rolling through you like a Swiss avalanche, then a minute later, the cravings kick in and an epic attack of the munchies ensues. While the list of the best places to eat in Phoenix, Arizona is often debatable, there's no denying that the legalization of weed in several U.S. states is fueling a new stoner kitchen culture.
The rise of food trucks and the elevation of humble dishes like pizza, hamburgers and other fast-food favorites has turned the munchies into high-end snacking. Today, fleets of Korean taco trucks prowl the streets of Los Angeles looking for hungry consumers. At Momofuko Milk Bar in New York City, chefs created soft serve ice cream that’s based on the slightly sweet flavor of milk at the bottom of a cereal bowl.
In 2017, a national poll conducted by Quinnipiac University found that 59 percent of adults in the U.S. favor the legalization of marijuana. If the rest of the states in the U.S. follow pioneers like Colorado, there is sure to be a grand scale munchies epidemic. Specifically, in Arizona, more and more dispensaries and 420-friendly restaurants are popping up to cater to the new demand. To help you navigate the food scene, here is our list of the best places to eat in Phoenix:
According to Anthony Bourdain, bad boy chef and author of Kitchen Confidential, “if you’re stoned in a restaurant, you don’t want to deal with six layers of tableware.” The democratization of food is what canna-cuisine is all about, and nothing says democratization like a restaurant that serves subs and sandwiches in various sizes called “nugs,” “pinners” and “blunts.” Speaking of blunts, the name Cheba Hut couldn’t be blunter. The restaurant’s giant wall murals, cannabis-inspired art and t-shirts (there’s one depicting George W. Bush taking a hit from a bong) add another layer of quality cultivation to the ambiance.
Lo Lo’s Chicken and Waffles
Lo Lo's is one of Phoenix’s best soul food restaurants. It’s also the go-to hangout for the herb-happy crowd. Cannabis-friendly cuisine is famous for its textures and deep flavors so Lo Lo’s southern-style fried chicken and cinnamon dusted waffles won't disappoint. This awesome restaurant kicks it up a cosmic level by serving Kool-Aid in jars and red velvet cake slathered in a Rococo layer of cream cheese frosting. Although Lo Lo’s makes our best places to eat in Phoenix list, note that it doesn't cater to vegetarians or those on a diet!
Short Leash Hot Dogs
Weiner. Bun. Smothered. Is there anything better than a hot dog after you've smoked a big bowl? It’s a late-night classic and the go-to food of millions of blurry-eyed night owls. The bun is often the worst part of the hot dog experience – a tasteless, Wonder Bread-like concoction that barely holds the toppings. Thankfully, Short Leash remedies that problem by wrapping its gourmet dogs in warm naan.
Located on north 4th street in downtown Phoenix, Bliss/ReBar is a restaurant-bar-lounge hybrid and will always make our best places to eat in Phoenix list. Phoenix Magazine named it the “Best Local Hangout in Downtown Phoenix” and it was featured on USA Today’s "Top 10 Nightlife Spots in Phoenix." Word on the street is that Bliss/ReBAR makes the best grilled cheese sandwich in town – a Michelin star-worthy slab of warm gooeyness that features bacon and pear. It's best served with shoestring parm fries, hopefully after smoking a fat joint.
The munchies are often paired with a Willy Wonka-style sweet tooth. Pie Snob’s motto is “Life’s too short to eat bad pie” and can easily be changed to "Life’s too short to eat bad pie… after smoking Super Lemon Haze." A haze is what you’ll be in after you scarf down Pie Snob’s famous caramel apple pie, which was named one of the Editor’s Picks in Phoenix Magazine’s “Best of the Valley” competition.
Zinburger: Wine and Burger Bar
Cannabis-friendly cuisine is comfort food with a twist. Diners with the munchies want dishes that provide a sensory experience, but they also want to be transported to the carefree days of childhood. People want food that plugs into the reptilian portion of their brains, like breakfast burrito pizzas, fried apple pies and a really good burger. Fortunately, Zinburger whips up some of the best hamburgers in Arizona which is why this restaurant secures a spot on our best places to eat in Phoenix roundup. From Kobe patties topped with bacon, onion hash and truffle oil to veggie burgers paired with delicious zucchini fries, Zinburger was made for the marijuana enthusiast. After a few bites, it's clear that they understand the appetite aftermath that comes with smoking some good kush.
Decision-making can be difficult after marijuana consumption – on par with thermodynamics and electromagnetic field theory – so finding the right restaurant to satisfy the munchies can be a complex journey down the rabbit hole. Thankfully, Chino Bandido makes the decision-making process a lot easier because it's a hole-in-the-wall fusion restaurant that serves Mexican, Chinese and Jamaican food. If you’re still having trouble deciding how to quell the mad munchies, Chino Bandido offers small samples to get a taste of everything. Chino Bandido was featured on Guy Fieri’s “Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives," plus each meal is served with a Snickerdoodle cookie, which solidifies its spot on our best places to eat in Phoenix list.
And there it is – a list of the best places to eat in Phoenix. The question isn't "Dude, where's my car?" It's "Dude, where's my entree?”
For a complete map of Arizona dispensaries and things to do in Phoenix, click here.
Photo Credit: Wing-Chi Poon