Finding good Mexican grub in this town is no problem; we could celebrate Cinco de Mayo once a week if pressed. But if you’re looking to do justice to this weekend’s other big almost-holiday, the Kentucky Derby, that’s a little more of a head scratcher. Here are three ways to indulge in the Southern spirit of the Run for the Roses, no big fancy hats required.
Bourbon Jacks Bar & Grill
11 W. Boston St., Chandler
(480) 664-1738 or BourbonJacksAZ.com
With bourbon in its name, you better believe this place can set you up with the real deal. No less than 10 bourbons, from Basil Hayden's to Woodford Reserve, are on the menu. If you’re more of a foal than a front runner, try easing in with the black cherry-flavored Red Stag ($5.50) or Kentucky Cream Soda — a Southern cocktail that combines Bulleit Bourbon, infused in-house with vanilla, and ginger ale ($6).
937 E. Broadway Road, Suite 2, Tempe
(480) 377-9241 or RocknRollFingers.com
When good ol’ Memaw’s properly Southern-fried chicken isn’t an option, Rock-N-Roll Fingers isn’t a bad stand-in. Owners Amy and Adrian Moghina noticed fast-casual eateries specializing in chicken fingers in college towns all over the Southeast and brought the concept home to Tempe. Their all-white-meat chicken fingers are breaded by hand and golden-fried to order; they come two to a box (plus waffle fries and sauce) for $5.95 or three (plus waffle fries, sauce and one slice of Texas toast) for $7.85.
Lucille’s Smokehouse Bar-b-que
Tempe Marketplace, 2030 E. Rio Salado Parkway
(480) 966-7427 or LucillesBBQ.com
Among all the culinary delights of a truly Southern table — black-eyed peas, collard greens, grits, cornbread — is a dish so memorable it’s become the stuff of literature and movies: fried green tomatoes. Lucille’s version is made with thick-sliced tomatoes coated in cornmeal and deep-fried to golden brown. Served with roasted red pepper cream, they run $7.49, or $3.99 for a half order.
• Got a hankering for a specific food, drink or other facet of the local dining scene? Let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org, and we could feature your request in a future 3 to Try.