Our love for small-town restaurants runs deep and we know most of you feel the same way, so here are nine off-the-beaten-path Arizona eateries that down-home cooking, fast and friendly service, and a no-frills atmosphere that is sure to delight diners with the best meals of your life.
1. Beeline Cafe (Payson)
If you’re in search of a good, old-fashioned All-American diner, look no further. Here at Beeline, vintage barstools and a cash-only policy pay homage to the diners of yesteryear. Down-home classics like chicken fried steak, meatloaf, and patty melts are served in generous portions and are sure to satisfy even the most ravenous appetites. Daily specials keep patrons on their toes, and massive slices of decadent, homemade pie are a permanent fixture on the menu.
Address: 815 South Beeline Highway, Payson, AZ 85541
2. Mike and Ronda's The Place (Flagstaff)
Is it possible to talk about Mike & Ronda’s without mentioning the enormous, fluffy biscuits? We think not. This no-frills eatery may not be winning awards for its outward appearance, but rave reviews keep crowds pouring in regardless. Pro-tip: order your gravy on the side so that your first bite can show off just how delicious these flaky buttermilk biscuits are on their own.
Address: 21 South Milton Road, Flagstaff, AZ 86001
3. Summit Diner (Scottsdale)
Even the posh Arizona cities have a little slice of mom & pop simplicity. Summit Diner features fresh, local ingredients for all three meals, plus an extensive drink list. Get the banana pancakes if you’re stopping by for breakfast, and finish up any meal with a decadent slice of flourless chocolate cake. And, of course, nothing beats a mean enjoyed outdoors on the dog-friendly patio.
Address: 32531 North Scottsdale Road, Scottsdale, AZ 85266
4. Robbie's Restaurant (Rimrock)
If you’re from a small town, Robbie’s is the kind of place that reminds you of home. The state pride decor is delightfully quirky, and meals are served with a smile on checkered napkins. You won’t find better nachos in the area, and the pizza and wings don’t disappoint. Just kick back, leisurely sip a drink, and make conversation with friendly locals.
Address: 5155 North Dave Wingfield Road, Rimrock, AZ 86335
5. Bear Wallow Cafe (Alpine)
Bear Wallow is exactly what you’d expect from a mountain town restaurant. Antlers are mounted all over the rich mahogany walls, and swamp-green vinyl booths look like they were teleported straight from the 50s. Dine on bear-shaped pancakes, a hearty bowl of beef stew, or blackberry pie made fresh every morning. There’s just one rule: no cell phones allowed - and it’s strictly enforced, so don’t even bother trying!
Address: 42650 US-180, Alpine, AZ 85920
6. 50's Diner Backseat Bar & Motel RV Park (Cordes Lake)
This hidden gem of a diner is definitely off-the-beaten-path, but it makes a great pit stop once you manage to find it. Great prices, fast and friendly service, and a world map where tourists can pin where they’re from leave no reason to
not eat here. Plus, just look at all the cheese on that pizza! There are few more beautiful sights on Earth.
Address: 19780 East Hitching Post Way, Cordes Lakes, AZ 86333
7. Big House Cafe (Casa Grande)
Right in the heart of downtown Casa Grande, the paradoxically-named Big House Cafe is a charming little dig that serves incredible Southwestern food. The ambiance truly can’t be beaten, with dim, relaxing lighting and historic artifacts displayed everywhere you look. Whether your meal is a huge omelette stuffed with beans, cheese, and sour cream, or an Albuquerque brisket dip, rest-assured it will tantalize every single taste bud.
Address: 104 East 4th Street, Casa Grande, AZ 85122
8. Old Town Red Rooster Cafe (Cottonwood)
For nearly 10 years, this unassuming cafe has delighted Arizonans with the freshest, most delicious food around. Bagel & Lox platters, omelettes, and sandwiches packed full of flavor only scratch the extensive menu’s surface. The restaurant is only open for breakfast and lunch, but the food here is worth waking up early for. And their phone number has been nicknamed the "Hunger Emergency Hotline."
Address: 901 North Main Street, Cottonwood, AZ 86326
9. Tag's Cafe (Coolidge)
Tag’s is a blast from the past in the best way possible. Breakfast is served all day, which we couldn’t be more thankful for because the steak and eggs are out-of-this-world. Short wait times, hospitable staff, and a quaint atmosphere are just icing on the cake. Once seated, you’ll have an extremely hard time leaving - especially because of how full your belly will be.
Address: 156 North Arizona Boulevard, Coolidge, AZ 85128