When you've lived in a city as spirited and charming as Safford, Arizona, as long as I have, you're bound to develop a passionate relationship with its culinary scene.
Nestled at the base of the Pinaleno Mountains, this desert gem may be small, but it packs a punch when it comes to quality dining.
As someone who has savored many a meal here, I've had the pleasure of experiencing an array of flavors, styles, and cuisines that have tantalized my taste buds and broadened my culinary horizons.
From mouthwatering barbecues, and tantalizing Mexican delicacies to comforting American classics - here are the best things to do in Safford, Arizona.
I can't wait to share my favorite spots with you.
Our aim is not just to guide you to popular eateries but to encourage you to venture out and experience the city's diverse culinary landscape for yourself
The Main Street Bean
The first time I wandered into The Main Street Bean, I wasn't sure what to expect.
The feeling of walking into a bustling Starbucks engulfed me as I stepped in.
The vibrancy of the place was palpable, with a lady engrossed in her laptop work, businessmen grabbing their breakfast to-go, a paradox of calm and busy, the perfect coffee shop environment.
The Main Street Bean isn't just a coffee spot; it's a treasure trove.
As I waited for my Keto breakfast bowl - a delightful combination of perfectly cooked bacon, hearty green chili, cheddar cheese, and a dollop of guacamole - I explored their unique collection.
Shelves filled with jarred olives, pickled items, an assortment of seasoning, and the standout feature, an oil and vinegar bar.
You can sample the flavors like you would at a winery.
It’s quite an experience.
As the first bite of my breakfast bowl hit my tongue, I was taken aback by the harmony of flavors.
It was simple yet extraordinary.
The perfectly cooked bacon, hearty green chili, the cheddar cheese blending the ham and the rest of the ingredients nicely, and that scoop of guacamole - divine!
I savored every bite, wishing the bowl would never empty.
There's a charm to The Main Street Bean that doesn't just stem from its delicious food and beverages.
Amidst the hustle and bustle, the employees always have a smile on their faces.
Their friendly nature and obvious joy in their work only add to the welcoming ambiance.
Adding to its unique charm, the Main Street Bean also sports a "God of the Bible" theme.
Jesus signs, shirts, and graffiti adorn the walls, serving as a constant reminder of faith.
It's a coffee and gift shop that effortlessly blends a salad bar and an olive oil-tasting station.
They serve beans out of Austin, Texas, creating a balance and an appreciation of light and dark.
Red Oven Pizzeria
I have a thing for pizza, a love affair if you will.
So, of course, I had to check out Red Oven Pizzeria when it popped into my radar.
On the surface, the pizzas at Red Oven Pizzeria looked fantastic.
But as someone who's tasted his fair share of pizzas, I found these to be squarely average.
They tasted like pizza, sure, but there was nothing that made them stand out from the crowd.
Just your run-of-the-mill pizza, nothing more, nothing less.
On one occasion, I had to bring in a gluten-free pizza from elsewhere for my gluten-intolerant kid.
I understand the trepidation of a restaurant when a customer walks in with food from the outside.
However, a bit of understanding would have been appreciated, especially considering they don't offer gluten-free options.
The reaction I received was more on the colder side, which admittedly did mar my experience a bit.
The salads are a fresh delight, a bright spot in an otherwise mediocre meal.
The pizzas, however, could definitely do with less grease.
On my visit, I found the pizzas quite soft, but they seemed to lack any defining flavor profile other than the oil.
It's always a good idea to have extra napkins handy to mop up the excess grease.
Being a bit of a pizza connoisseur myself, I found the pizzas to be underwhelming, considering the premium price tag.
Trust me when I say there's nothing quite like stumbling upon a hidden gem right in your neighborhood.
And the Fancy Pizzeria is exactly that - a little piece of heaven tucked away in the middle of bustling city life.
This place caught my eye one day as I was out and about, and on a whim, I decided to give it a try.
Let's just say it was love at first bite.
The dining area is quaint and inviting, with a soothing ambiance that instantly puts you at ease.
Now, let's talk about the real star here - the pizza.
I'm a classic pepperoni lover, but the options are endless, even if you're gluten-free.
My partner, for instance, can't stop raving about their gluten-free pepperoni pizza topped with olives and mushrooms.
I've also tried their take-out service, which is just as splendid.
A quick call and your pizza is ready to be picked up from the drive-through window in no time.
If you're feeling a bit adventurous, don't forget to try their meticulously handcrafted garlic knots and Italian cream soda.
Mt Graham Golf Club Double R Bar & Grill
Every city has a heart, a gathering place where the community comes together.
For us, it's the Mt Graham Golf Club Double R Bar & Grill.
Whether you're here to hit a few golf balls or to enjoy a relaxing meal, it's a place that always delivers with a unique charm.
Catching live music performances here is something I always look forward to.
It's quite a treat when the territory band comes into city, and the sound of the music blending with the chatter of the crowd adds a lively atmosphere that's hard to beat.
The staff, always polite and attentive, ensures that my evening goes off without a hitch.
I've also had the opportunity to attend a memorial event at the venue.
Their dedication to service truly helped turn a somber event into a comforting gathering of friends and family.
And, of course, the golf.
There's nothing like finishing a round on the green and heading into the restaurant for a bite.
Taco Tuesday has become a tradition for me.
Trailhead Hideaway Bar and Grill
Every city has a place that surprises you, and in Safford, that place is Trailhead Hideaway Bar and Grill.
Don't let the rough and tumble look fool you; inside that humble establishment beats the heart of some truly fantastic cooking.
Let me tell you about their dbl bacon cheeseburger.
Now, I've had my fair share of burgers in this city, but this one?
It's a marvel, cooked to perfection, even with the kitchen working with minimal resources.
It may be the best burger in Safford, and that's no small feat.
Handmade, fresh, and delicious.
Now, I won't sugarcoat it – the decor does leave something to be desired.
But really, isn't that part of its charm?
It's a bar, after all, not a five-star restaurant.
Main Street Cafe
I'm always on the hunt for the perfect breakfast spot, and I've found just that in Main Street Cafe.
If you're looking for a pleasant dining experience, you should check out the cafe on Google Maps.
One of my favorite things to order here is the croissant – loaded with egg, sausage, cheddar, and green chili, and it's a hearty start to any day.
The hash browns on the side are perfectly crispy.
To wash it all down, I usually opt for a mix of orange and apple juice, the perfect blend of sweet and tangy to complement my meal.
My family shares my love for this cafe too.
The warm atmosphere always makes us feel welcomed, and the food never disappoints.
We've tried a variety of dishes, and each one has left us wanting more.
What I like about Main Street Cafe is not just the delicious food and excellent service but also the incredibly reasonable prices.
It's a relief to know that we can enjoy a great meal without burning a hole in our pockets.
JOE’S Ride N Dine
If there's one thing I've learned in my years of living here, it's that the heart of our city beats around the aromas of sizzling patties, fresh veggies, and a variety of soft-serve ice cream flavors at JOE’S Ride N Dine.
Let me take you on a culinary journey through our beloved eatery.
On any given day, you might find me pulling into the drive-thru, salivating at the sight of the well-thought-out menu that showcases pictures of each burger component - a delightful detail that eliminates any confusion about what comes with your order.
One bite of the "firehouse" burger, with its crisp shredded lettuce, fresh onion, hearty patty, a hint of spice, and decadent cheese, and you’ll understand why we locals can't get enough!
It's not just about the burgers, though.
If a sweet craving hits you, JOE'S Ride N Dine offers multiple flavors of soft-serve ice cream.
I personally lost count after 27, but who's counting anyway when you have a butterscotch milkshake in your hand?
It's probably one of the best shakes I've ever tasted, and I'm not saying that lightly.
And if you're lucky enough to stop by on a day when they're serving enchilada fries or onion rings, well, let's say you're in for a real treat.
Branding Iron Steakhouse
"Where the past meets the palate" - that's what comes to mind every time I walk into the Branding Iron Steakhouse.
Tucked away in Graham County, the place is more than a restaurant to me; it's a home away from home.
With the Branding Iron Steakhouse, Robin has crafted a culinary time capsule that lets you savor rural cuisine from an era long past.
Forget big-name, corporatized restaurants; this place has a soul.
With every bite, you can taste the rich culture of Graham County marinated into perfection.
I always prefer the Rose Room.
There's something about it that sets the perfect mood for the meal.
While the food is not five-star, the experience certainly is.
Oh, I'd recommend calling ahead and making a reservation.
The place tends to fill up pretty quickly.
From the Rose Room and the main dining area, you get a picturesque view of the Gila Valley and Mount Graham, one of the largest island mountains around.
A feast for the eyes to complement the delicacies on your plate.
In fact, we eat here so often that it feels like my kitchen away from my kitchen.
One of my favorite things to order here is the shared sirloin and lobster.
With each bite, you are greeted with flavors so divine that you leave with a happy belly and an even happier heart.
And guess what?
This is also my go-to spot for date nights.
The vibe, the service, the food - everything is just so perfect.
And if you're a chicken wings fan like me, you're in for a treat!
I dare say these are the best wings in the city.
Don't forget to dip your bread in beans - trust me, you'll love it.
Steak lovers, this place will not disappoint.
The steaks are good, and they are worth every penny of the $35 you pay.
The quality and flavor are top-notch, and the portions are pretty generous as well.
It was one of those sunny afternoons when my partner and I decided to head over to our favorite spot - Casa Mañana.
The allure of their mouthwatering Mexican dishes always brings us back.
It's the perfect place to unwind after a busy day.
On this occasion, we decided to try their lunch special, which consisted of a duo of scrumptious tacos accompanied by perfectly cooked rice and beans.
For those who love a kick to their food, don't hesitate to ask for extra sauce.
Casa Mañana offers a variety of sauces that can definitely turn up the heat.
Los Jilbertos Restaurant
Have you ever stumbled upon a hidden gem that leaves your tastebuds yearning for more?
For me, that gem is none other than the Los Jilbertos Restaurant, nestled right here in our quaint city of Safford.
A visit to Los Jilbertos never disappoints.
But remember to carry sufficient cash, as they don't accept card payments.
Now, let me walk you through my favorite part - the food.
Their adobada plate, super fries, Arizona burro, and the potato, egg, ham & cheese burro are scrumptious.
What’s more, the red and green salsas are the perfect accompaniment and don't hesitate to mix them up as I do for that extra layer of flavor.
Who would have thought that the best chimichanga in the Southwest would be found right here?
I have to say, the chimichanga at Los Jilbertos is a solid 11 out of 13 on my chimichanga scale.
The tortilla is perfectly fried, the beans are just runny enough, and the cheese-to-beans ratio would make any foodie swoon.
The fresh lettuce, pico, and guacamole only elevate this culinary delight.
Oh, and did I mention the perfect green salsa?
Their customer service is remarkable, always prompt and amiable.
While there are occasional mix-ups in the kitchen, a quick check of your order before you leave ensures a wholesome, satisfying meal.
I’ve been a loyal patron since 2000, and the authentic flavor and comfort food keeps me coming back.
Jumbo Chinese Restaurant
Sometimes, beauty lies not in the decor but in the essence of a place.
You might not be impressed by the dusty chandeliers or the slightly unkempt carpet of the Jumbo Chinese Restaurant, but as a lover of culinary delights, I can assure you that the magic begins when you get your hands on their menu.
It's not uncommon to be asked for your drink preference before you've settled on your table, a quirk that one can quickly get accustomed to.
But trust me; you'll forget all about it the moment you get a whiff of the tantalizing aromas wafting from the kitchen.
The portions seem to have been designed for the voracious eater, for the generous helpings are sure to satiate even the most ravenous of appetites.
One of my favorite things to order is the family dinner plate.
It's a gastronomic journey that includes a portion of soup, three appetizers, and an entree.
The Wonton soup, with its rich and flavorful broth, will warm your soul.
The appetizers, particularly the crab angels, beef stick, and egg roll, are packed with such explosive flavors that they will leave you craving for more.
However, it's not always smooth sailing.
Sometimes, the restaurant gets so swarmed with patrons that you might have to take your order home.
And on rare occasions, you might find the spice levels too much to handle.
But such instances are few and far between.
A hint of nostalgia washed over me as I strolled into El Charro, a local spot I hadn't visited for some time.
Nestled in the heart of Globe, Arizona, this place has been a staple for Mexican cuisine for years, and it's easy to see why.
You can visit their website here.
Upon entering, we were seated promptly and served warm, crispy chips accompanied by two unique salsas and a cup of bean dip.
The appetizers were appetizing indeed, each one boasting a different flavor profile that was a treat to the tastebuds.
Their balance of attentiveness and subtlety was exceptional.
The Spanish Rice and kids' cheese quesadilla were definite winners, emanating a homely comfort that you'd expect from an authentic Mexican restaurant.
When it comes to flavor-packed meals and friendly service, there is no place I'd rather be than Jerry's Restaurant.
Their menu is a treasure trove of culinary delights, and I can tell you from my countless visits I've never been disappointed.
As soon as you walk in, you're greeted by the most welcoming young ladies.
They might still be learning the ropes, but their pleasant demeanor more than makes up for it.
And let me tell you about the food, oh the food!
Their Pot Roast is something to behold.
Tender, hearty, and packed with flavors that dance on your palate.
It's easily one of my favorites.
And if you're in the mood for a soup like no other, their chicken enchilada is a must-try.
I guarantee you'll be stuffed, and your taste buds will be doing a happy dance.
Lunchtimes here are always a pleasure.
On my last visit, I indulged in a classic cheeseburger which was deliciously satisfying.
My dad had Jerry's Rueben sandwich - he's been raving about it ever since.
The icing on the cake, or should I say the cherry on top, was the ice cream sundae.
What sets Jerry's apart for me, though, is the breakfast.
It's the only place in the city I'll go to start my day.
Other Restaurants Nearby
Nana's Kitchenette (Thatcher)
If you're hunting for a place that serves a scrumptious burger but also offers a little twist, look no further than Nana's Kitchenette.
My first encounter with their burger left me with an all too familiar problem - an excess of bun against a juicy but slightly smaller meat portion.
However, the flavor was so divine that I found myself relishing every mouthful, bun and all.
Their warmth truly added to the overall dining experience and made me feel right at home.
But the real surprise came when I tried their horchata, a sweetened milk drink with a hint of nutmeg and vanilla.
It was the best I've ever had, hands down.
Every visit to Nana's Kitchenette has been a culinary adventure, greeted with a familiar smile and guaranteed great food.
Nana's Kitchenette also ensured that every necessary item was included with my order - plastic utensils, napkins, and even a straw.
It's evident that they take their service seriously and strive to provide a seamless dining experience.
In fact, I've been so impressed with Nana's Kitchenettes that I regularly recommend them to my friends and family.
It's become one of my favorite local spots, and given their consistent quality and service, I see no reason why it wouldn't remain so.
Eagles Roost (Thatcher)
It's hard not to salivate at the thought of grabbing a bite at Eagles Roost.
Trust me on this one, their eagle burger topped with crispy bacon and gooey cheese is nothing short of a culinary delight.
Pair it with the cheesy fries, and you're in for an out-of-the-world experience.
The space is always abuzz with energetic kids devouring their meals, which adds to the lively ambiance.
But don't worry, if you're looking for a quieter spot, they've got you covered with a separate area for adults to order and enjoy their food.
Let's talk about the price - you'll be pleasantly surprised!
Kainoa's Hawaiian Grill (Thatcher)
The moment I walk through the doors of Kainoa's Hawaiian Grill, it's as if I'm instantly transported to the heart of the Hawaiian islands.
Their service is incredibly fast, so much so I've barely grabbed my utensils before my name echoes through the room, signaling that my meal is ready.
The food is truly a highlight - a mouthwatering blend of authentic flavors and spices that burst in every bite.
The chicken katsu with their spicy sauce is a must-try; I find myself craving it often.
The place is a cozy little diner that exudes an island vibe, inviting and comforting.
The plates of Bulgogi Beef and Kalua Pork paired with white rice and mac salad always hit the spot.
Just close your eyes, take a bite, and you will feel like you're sitting on a beach in Hawaii, savoring a beautiful sunset with every taste.
In the heart of Graham County, Kainoa's Hawaiian Grill is where the island spirit thrives.
I'm beyond grateful for the ono grinds they serve.
La Casita Cafe (Thatcher)
Oh, the joy of stumbling upon a gem in your own backyard!
In the heart of my hometown, I've found that culinary jewel in La Casita Cafe.
The charming cafe has been a favorite haunt of mine for a while now, and every visit feels like a delightful culinary adventure.
On my latest visit, I decided to indulge in the Chicken Fajitas, and let me tell you, it was a true revelation!
The sizzling dish came with a vibrant salsa that was out of this world.
It's not an exaggeration to say it's the best salsa I've had on this side of the border.
Now, I must admit, the service can be a mixed bag.
Yes, it can take a while to be served, and no, they may not always ask if you need a refill, but I've found their sweet demeanor to be a saving grace amidst the chaos.
Then there are days when they're right on the ball, serving delicious plates of food with a friendly smile.
Sure, there have been instances when not all of our orders made it to the table, but what did arrive was utterly scrumptious.
It's safe to say that the allure of La Casita Cafe goes beyond just the food or the service.
It's a warm, inviting space where the charm of my hometown comes alive in every bite.
Safford, Arizona, has a wealth of culinary delights offering a range of cuisines from local to international.
For those who prefer a more relaxed environment, the Mt Graham Golf Club Double R Bar & Grill and Trailhead Hideaway Bar and Grill offer not just good food but also a great ambiance.
It's a culinary journey that's worth exploring.