Our “Gayvorite” Restaurants

Some of the most welcoming (and tastiest!) places to dine

By Michelle Talsma Everson, March 2019 Issue.

When my bestie and I are out on the town too late to hit up more traditional sit-down joints, we meet up at “Gay Denny’s” (or “Genny’s” as she calls it). You know the one, located at 7th Street and Camelback and open 24/7. Some of our favorite memories and best selfies have been taken there — it’s truly my 2 a.m. go to! That said, I became curious about what other must-try “gayvorite” restaurants were on the menu. Read on to find out some of the most talked about ones we love.

Original Gravity

4700 N. 12th St., #101, Phoenix

Original Gravity mussels with Calabrian chili.
Photo by @foodiegirlaz.

Original Gravity is owned by Chef and Cicerone Holly Knudsen, and along with Chef Derek Upton, they are setting a new standard for elevated gastropub dining. Enjoy this uptown Phoenix neighborhood establishment with a modern industrial atmosphere or front and back dog-friendly patios. Enjoy a local or seasonal craft beer or specialty drink, while dining on light bites or entrees. We recommend the popular Mussels (gulf coast) with Calabrian chilies made with shallots, garlic, thyme, Provisioner AZ white wine, and house-made butter. It’s briny, spicy, and succulent! Snap a selfie at the craft beer label wall, enjoy 20+ rotating local and seasonal craft beers, four wines on tap and by the glass wine selection. They have a full line of spirits, specialty cocktails, two large TV’s, board games and live music.

FEZ Restaurant & Bar

105 W. Portland St., Phoenix

Open daily from 11 a.m. to midnight (1 a.m. on Friday and Saturday nights!), FEZ features trendy brunch, burgers, cocktails and Mediterranean fare in a sleek urban environment. Some of their delicious new menu items include the Sesame Orange Salad, FEZ Prime Steak, and Crispy Florentine Salmon. New brunch items include Bangers and Sweets and the Berbere Prime Beef Hash and Eggs. They also have new lunch specials for that midday meal.

Copper Star Coffee

4220 N. 7th Ave., Phoenix

“We are famous for our daily, on-site baked pastries, and our amazing Breakfast Bagel sandwiches,” says Bill Sandweg from Copper Star Coffee. “Our BLT is made fresh-to-order with almost a half-pound of bacon!” Another cool reason to stop by? “We are proud to be recognized by Raise Arizona as a business that pays a living wage to its employees. Not many restaurants or coffeehouses can say that.”

Switch

2603 N. Central Ave., Phoenix

One of my favorite places to meet friends for weekend brunch, the folks as Switch describe the eatery as “a neighborhood joint where we cook from the heart.” Featuring fresh soups, salads, entrees, “sammiches,” appetizers and brunch, Switch is a hot spot in midtown Phoenix. I personally love the Country Caprese “Sammich” for lunch and the classic Mac and Cheese for dinner. Their cocktails are handcrafted, and service is friendly, too.

Short Leash Hotdogs and Rollover Doughnuts

4221 N. 7th Ave., Phoenix

The Bear Hotdog.
Courtesy of Short Leash.

“We offer a unique twist on a classic favorite,” say Brad and Kat Moore, owners of Short Leash. “All of our hotdogs are 100% natural and nitrate free and served on Indian style flatbread called Naan (veggie options available). We have 100 craft beers and 12 different whiskeys as well as other cocktails and wine. Our doughnuts are hand rolled brioche dough featuring 13 different flavors as well as a ‘dough-lato,’ which is our doughnut-gelato sandwich. On the weekends we have a brunch menu as well as bottomless mimosa and bloody bar.” The number one reason to stop in? To try The Bear, a hotdog topped with bacon, smoked Gouda, peanut butter, BBQ sauce, and Cracker Jacks.

Bliss ReBAR

901 N. 4th St., Phoenix

Home to Arizona’s longest running drag brunch with every show sold out, Bliss ReBAR is the place to try at least once on your Arizona foodie journey. The food here is eclectic — during the week you’ll find delish appetizers and main dishes like its famous mac and cheese and street tacos, and on the weekends, you’ll fill up on weekend brunch favorites like The Hangover. There’s even a Moonlight Menu for late night eats.

The Refuge Cafe

4727 N. 7th Ave., Phoenix

The Refuge is a haven for sweets.
Courtesy of The Refuge Café.

John Strawn, the general manager, says that regulars to this breakfast and lunch joint love their breakfast burritos — in particular, the chorizo or green chili pork with eggs, roasted potatoes and cheese. “We have a great homemade product,” he says. “From our sauces, simple syrups and locally roasted coffee. Also, the money that you spend in the Cafe stays in the community to better the lives of those in need.” For lunch, the Green Chili Pulled Pork Sandwich with cheddar jack cheese, avocado, and pickled onions on an egg-wash challah roll is really popular.

Stacy’s @ Melrose

4343 N. 7th Ave., Phoenix

A boozy rainbow.
Courtesy of Stacy’s@ Melrose.

Home of the “Famous Gay Shots,” Stacy’s @ Melrose is a must-go-to location to get your drink on. “We offer all of your favorite cocktails, beers, and wines. We have many of our own concoctions like Stacy’s Bloody Mary and Stacy’s (Arnold) Palmer,” says the Stacy T. Louis, owner, and operator. “We also offer many martinis, various Moscow Mules, several flavors of Mojitos, and the Famous Gay Shots.” Stacy’s @ Melrose is also home to several events and supports many local nonprofits.


Flagstaff Finds

Here are three of our favorite places to help you not feel so famished in Flagstaff.

Annex Cocktail Lounge

50 S. San Francisco St.

Sliders ‘n’ fries.
Courtesy of Annex Cocktail Lounge.

Somewhere at the intersection of Bonnie & Clyde, the Santa Fe Railroad and a Victorian Brothel lies The Annex Cocktail Lounge. This is where art deco and Victorian era meets the gangster speakeasy of the 1920s. A place where east meets west, where California collides with Arizona, where people passed through or got stuck here because it reminds them of how places used to be.

Tourist Home All Day Cafe

52 S. San Francisco St.

Courtesy of Tourist Home All Day Cafe.

Part restaurant, part bakery, part local hub, Tourist Home provides counter service breakfast and lunch starting at 6 a.m. Enjoy made-to-order hot breakfast items (including the BEST breakfast burrito around), soups, salads, sandwiches, espresso drinks, beer, wine, mimosas, and bloody Mary’s.

Tinderbox Kitchen

52 S. San Francisco St.

Courtesy of Tinderbox Kitchen.

Tinderbox Restaurant was the first elevated-cuisine restaurant on the south side of downtown Flagstaff. Owner Kevin Heinonen has received multiple accolades for his renovation of Tinderbox and companion restaurant concepts The Annex Cocktail Lounge and Tourist Home. Together, all three concepts were the first to bring a sense of “specialness” to the Southside. Through collaboration with Sutcliffe Vineyards, Tinderbox Kitchen has had direct involvement with the growing of varietals that make up their signature house blends.