• Thu. Aug 18th, 2022

Phoenix Food Courts to sample food and drink

ByRandall B. Phelps

Jul 25, 2022

Phoenix doesn’t have a food hall in the traditional sense. Downtown Phoenix was once home to DeSoto Market, a set of businesses that was our closest, but it closed in August 2018.

But that doesn’t mean groups of family and friends who can’t decide where to eat should all stumble upon the same option. Across the valley, there are five restaurant collections that are sure to satisfy a crowd.

In the West Valley, a mall hidden inside another mall offers a selection of food outlets serving dishes such as Mexican-style huaraches, mocha tres leches, and Mexican fusion sushi.

In the East Valley, two Asian supermarkets are surrounded by places to stop and eat after a shopping spree, serving customers bowls of steamed noodles and plates full of dumplings.

In downtown Phoenix, food collectives are taking on a decidedly hipper edge, with the Pemberton and Churchill, two venues packed with food, drink and entertainment.

Weave your way through these five Metro Phoenix food collectives to please a crowd and get a real taste of the valley.

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The Pemberton is located at 1121 North Second Street.

True North Studio

The Pemberton

1121 Second Street North

Downtown Phoenix’s newest food and beverage collective, the Pemberton, finds his home just off Second and Moreland streets. The historic house built in 1920 is surrounded by a selection of mobile businesses. In the front and back yards, a fleet of food trucks, Airstream motorhomes, and assorted trailers sell cocktails, beer, pizza, fish tacos, and pasta. In addition to food and drink, the Pemberton is a nightlife destination, often offering live music and other events to entertain a crowd.

Click to enlarge Phoenix does not have a food hall.  But these restaurant collectives feed a crowd

Jjamppong noodle soup from Jeong’s Noodle at the H Mart Market Eatery in Mesa.

Tirion Morris

H Mart Market Restaurant

1919 West Main Street, Mesa

Every day the H-Mart the food court, technically titled Market Eatery, is buzzing with activity. Shoppers push carts full of plastic grocery bags as a robotic voice calls out order numbers and families gather around tables to feast on the steaming bowls and plates in front of them. Located right next to the main grocery store, this food court occupies a long, thin area with restaurant counters lined up on either side. One place specializes in crispy fried katsu, another serves black bowls overflowing with Jjamppong, a dark red broth filled with mussel shells, noodles and squid. In the back, there’s a dessert counter that sells soft serve ice cream inside soft, fish-shaped Taiyaki cones. Here, you’ll find people looking to try things for the first time, mixed with customers looking for a taste of home. Either way, there’s something for everyone.

Click to enlarge Phoenix does not have a food court.  But these restaurant collectives feed a crowd

H Mart’s Market Eatery in Mesa is home to a selection of different counter service restaurants.

Tirion Morris

The Churchill

901 First Street North

Housed inside a collection of refurbished shipping containers, the Churchill embodies the idea of ​​several companies coming together to improve an overall space. The businesses, which include two bars, a pizzeria, a Mexican food restaurant, a wine store, an acai bowl cafe and a burger and bagel joint, all surround a central courtyard filled with picnic tables and lawn games. Customers move throughout the space, grabbing a beer from one place, a cocktail from another and a bite to eat from a third, perfect for a group of friends who can’t collectively decide where they want to eat. Although covered by a common roof and equipped with large fans, the Churchill is an outdoor space, important to consider in summer.

Click to enlarge Phoenix does not have a food hall.  But these restaurant collectives feed a crowd

A sign inside the Mekong Plaza announces the space available for new restaurants and shops.

Courtesy of the City of Mesa

Mekong Square

66 South Dobson Road, Mesa

Before H Mart moved in, Mesa had Mekong Square. This former mall has been transformed into a food court, operated and visited by the local Asian community. The square is anchored by Mekong Supermarket and Mekong Palace, a great dim sum restaurant. Inside, there are all levels of dining options, from the central restaurant, to small full-service cafes dotted around the edges, to a food court with various restaurant counters and a common area of ​​tables and of chairs. Part of the fun here is trying a bit of everything. Perhaps have a milk tea with boba to sip while you look around. Order a platter of dumplings at Happy Bao’s, try some bites from some of the food court vendors, and grab some ice cream on the way out. This mall has an old-school vibe and unmissable food. Soon the place will have even more places to try, because on July 13 the developers broke ground on a 35,000 square foot extension.

Click to enlarge Phoenix does not have a food hall.  But these restaurant collectives feed a crowd

A selection of dishes from the Mercado De Los Cielos food court.

Tirion Morris

Mercado De Los Cielos

7611 Thomas Road West

The Mercado De Los Cielos is truly a mall within a mall. Located in the West Valley near Thomas Road and 75th Avenue, shoppers will find the Desert Sky Mall. Drive around the back and a sign painted in the colors of the Mexican flag will appear. Inside, small stalls and tiny shops sell their wares. If you’re looking for a haircut, a sparkly quinceañera dress, a new pair of cowboy boots, or a place to fix your watch, Mercado has you covered. But tucked away in the corner is the most exciting part. A host of small eateries serve a range of Mexican and fusion dishes, including Mexican sushi, massively long bent quesadillas, bowls of menudo and seafood platters. A bakery offers slices of milk-soaked tres leches cake and small flan cups. A location of La Carreta De Lily, a chain of dessert and snack stores in the valley, sells coconuts stacked with toppings, fruit cups dipped in chili and chamoy, and other decadent desserts and snacks . Spanish music, families laughing, kids playing, it’s all part of the fun of this mall within a mall.

Click to enlarge Phoenix does not have a food hall.  But these restaurant collectives feed a crowd

Small stalls sell toys, work boots, jewelry and quinceañera dresses at Mercado De Los Cielos.

Tirion Morris