We believe that South Tempe is a special community, and we are committed to making it better with every day. On this page, we share our thoughts on a variety of topics related to our community: locally owned restaurants and shops, high paying jobs, and increasing the quality of life.
What can I do to make South Tempe better?
- Be a good neighbor. Get to know the souls who live on the same street as you.
- Ride your bike. Go for a walk. South Tempe is most beautiful when you slow down to appreciate the tree-lined streets.
- Get active in your community.
- When you see a “Public Hearing Notice” sign (they are red and white) in front of a vacant building, stop and read it! This sign is alerting you that major changes are happening to your neighborhood.
- If you see us post about a cause or concern on facebook.com/southtempe, please like and share our posts! This is how we get the word out!
What are examples of what businesses that you want to see in Tempe?
- Culinary Dropout at Farmer Arts near ASU is a blast. The food is delicious, and it’s ridiculously fun for everyone within a 1 mile walk.
- Postino Wine Bar is a classy but casual spot for a datenight.
- We’ve heard great things about Shoppe Bear Company
In South Tempe
- Ghost Ranch Southwest Kitchen is classy but not pretentious. They have epic food that make you proud to live in Arizona.
- Crepe Bar is a creative restaurant that whips up yummy food from ingredients from local farmers.
- Tempe Public Market has something for everyone. Healthy dishes and indulgent dishes. They have an awesome outdoor patio and fireplace. Plus they play fun music!
- Cotton & Copper has flawless cocktails and tasty plates. You might go in for a quick drink and end up staying for four hours. It’s just fun.
Anything outside of Tempe?
- Joe Johnston does great things (Liberty Market, Joe’s Farm Grill, Agritopia), but he won’t step outside the Gilbert city lines.
- La Grande Orange (LGO) in Arcadia is legendary. Chelsea’s Kitchen is about as good of a restaurant as you can get in America.
- Upwards Projects has many successes, including Postino, Churn, and Federal Pizza.
- Fox Restaurant Concepts invests a lot into their restaurants, and the whole community benefits from it. Plus the food and service is consistently awesome.
Why do you focus so much on restaurants?
- Restaurants play an outsized role in the character of a community. Unlike old school retail stores, local restaurants are doing very well in the modern economy. People enjoy eating out with their families, friends, and neighbors. People like fun restaurants that are close to their homes. Everyone knows this to be true: driving buy a packed patio at a restaurant reminds us why we love our community. There’s nothing like it!
- Restaurants can be build community. We all get hungry at least three times a day. When you grab a bite at a local cafe, you are likely to run into neighbors, old friends, and make new friends tool. This makes life more fun.
- Restaurants are visible anchors of your community. Nobody wants to move to a neighborhood defined by an obnoxious lube shop or desperate mattress store. But a cool cafe? Absolutely!
What do you have against fast food restaurants?
Fast food as fine, as long as it’s a local shop. But 99% of fast food restaurants are chains / franchises, which presents two problems:
- The problem of being boring. Chains are, by design, predictable. No matter where you are in the country, it’s the same buildings, the same menu, the same everything. We’ve lost so much local color in our communites because of this. In Phoenix, this is an epidimic. One intersection looks like the next. There’s nothing rare or unique that sets a neighborhood apart from the one down the street.
- The problem of low-paying jobs. Chains don’t bring high paying jobs. You may have a local franchisee, and a couple managers who get a decent wage, but most fast food places do little more workers than a minimum wage. The high paying jobs are at the company’s headquarters, which Arizona has none. (McDonalds is in Chicago, IL. Wendy’s is in Dublin, OH. Duncan Donuts in Canton, MA.)
What about Zipp’s at McClintock and Warner? Isn’t it a chain?
Zipp’s is a restaurant group based in Scottsdale. They have 12 locations in metro Phoenix. They offer jobs for servers, kitchen staff, and managerial positions at each of their restaurants. But they also offer higher paying jobs at their HQ in Scottsdale. Whether you like sports bars or not, it’s hard to be upset that Zipp’s chose to leave Chandler and come up to Warner Road in South Tempe. They upgraded a space that had been vacant for 10 years, and they re-invented as massive, unused sidewalk as a fun outdoor patio.
You are trying to prevent an Oil Change Shop, and a Cane’s Fried Chicken from going in at McClintock and Warner. If those don’t go in, then what would? Those are high-dollar lots. Who could afford to open up there except a chain or a corporate store?
Fox Restaurant Concepts, a Phoenix company, opens up shop at high dollar intersections that you would expect to see super pumper gas stations or a corporate drug store. At 44th Street and Indian School, they have an enormously successful Dough Bird restaurant. This is a fun cafe that serves pizza, salads, and sandwiches. It’s always packed. Not only is Dough Bird successful, the adjacent business do well too. They bring in foot traffic that no CVS or autoshop ever could.
Did you fight Starbucks going in after Wendy’s left?
No. Starbucks is a chain, no question about it. But Starbucks offers a consistent experience that is a level above any other chain. Plus, by nature of coffee, a Starbucks will always be a community hub.
Is this un-American? Isn’t it wrong to stop someone from opening up a business?
Not at all! We aren’t telling people they cannot open up businesses, we are just helping them find the right location for their venture. We can protest today, before they open up shop, or later after they’ve invested time and energy in the wrong neighborhood. It’s better for everyone to have this public debate early on.