Serving Arizona State University Online Since 1995  Current Issue: Thursday, August 24, 2006





Brite's Bites: Easy Eats

 by Tara Brite
 published on Thursday, August 24, 2006


When people come to the Valley for the first time, they are almost always surprised. Surprised that we drive cars instead of riding horses and buggies; surprised that we eat in restaurants instead of saloons. I once had a pen pal from Illinois ask me if we even have paved roads.

But just because Phoenix isn't synonymous with culture like other major U.S. cities (New York and San Francisco, for example), doesn't mean it doesn't exist. The Valley has truly transformed since the days of the cowboy into a mecca of culture and creativity.

You just have to go out and look for it.

That is why, each week, you will find in this column a restaurant, coffeehouse or bar unique to the Valley of the Sun.

To ease you ASU newbies into the swing of things, here's the lowdown on some of the cooler restaurants within walking-distance of the Tempe campus.

Rula Bula, located at 401 S. Mill Ave., is the perfect place to kick back with a pint of Guiness. Located in a historic building, this Irish Pub and Restaurant is perfect for those over and under 21. During the day, Rula Bula serves a wide variety of traditional Irish dishes, like fish and chips and shepherd's pie. (herbivores beware: even though there are a couple of vegetarian menus on the item, most food here is packed with meat). And after 8 p.m., Rula Bula becomes a hub of nightlife for Mill Avenue.

Char's Thai Restaurant, on the corner of Rural Road and University Drive, is a journey to a far-off land. The foyer of the small restaurant reveals golden statues, rich textiles and unique details that verify the authenticity of the spicy food. Inside the dining room, wagon wheels line the walls (the place must have been a cowboy corral in its past life) and Christmas lights grace the background, adding to Char's overall quirky atmosphere. The food, averaging about $8 per plate, contains a variety of Thai spices. If you're prepared to be a little adventurous, Char's Thai Restaurant might be just right for you.

W.M. Sacks, located in the Tempe Center on Mill Avenue and University Drive, is an SPM staff favorite. With a variety of sandwiches named after artists and art movements, from Picasso (meatballs and cheese) to the Impressionist (garden veggies), it's obvious why the restaurant is called the "Art of Sandwicherie."

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