Phoenix: Let's Eat Local - Eastlake Park & Nuestros Barrios Unidos
The Phoenix neighborhoods of Eastlake Park and Nuestros Barrios Unidos have more than one road — 7th Street — in common. Both areas are deeply rooted in cultural history and are home to culinary destinations that have become food institutions for the Phoenix area.
From civil rights celebrations and demonstrations to an area steeped in its Chicano heritage, the neighborhoods of Eastlake Park and Nuestros Barrios Unidos — although urban and at-times industrial — are important cultural and critical components to Phoenix’s local food system.
Eastlake Park and the surrounding neighborhood have been the center of Black life in Phoenix for much of the 20th century, steeped in a rich, cultural identity with established churches, hotels, businesses, and neighborhoods. School segregation, mandated by Arizona law until 1954, and a series of informal property restrictions that prevented non-whites from purchasing or renting homes north of Van Buren Street kept Black communities from moving elsewhere in the city and was the conduit behind the establishment of the Eastlake neighborhood. A cornerstone to the city, Eastlake continues to thrive as a significant cultural space for the Black community and civil rights movement.
At the center of it all, Mrs. White’s Golden Rule Cafe is an important culinary fixture to the neighborhood and to the local food scene in greater Phoenix. As a longstanding landmark offering home-cooked comfort food, Mrs. White’s is the birthplace of the popular Lo-Lo’s Chicken and Waffles establishments. Eastlake also serves as a crucial produce distribution hub that trucks out fresh produce to supermarkets and restaurants across the state.
Nuestros Barrios Unidos
The Nuestros Barrios Unidos neighborhood is an area defined by its rich Chicano history. An area once referred to as the Mexican barrios and El Campito, Nuestros Barrios Unidos is home to two parks and runs between 16th and 7th Streets and Buckeye Road to Riverview Drive. Despite its industrial feel, Nuestros Barrios Unidos is still home to residential neighborhoods that benefit from and utilize the long-standing local parks.
Even as the neighborhood sees changes, and as Phoenix and Sky Harbor Airport continue to grow, the Nuestros Barrios Unidos neighborhood is anchored by a mainstay food establishment that began in the back of a family car.
Carolina’s Mexican Food is home to the Valley’s best tortillas, awarded several times over. And, it has seen its own evolution since its humble beginnings in the 1950s. What began with burritos and tamales for farm workers and spectators at wrestling matches has grown to an iconic, if understated, Phoenix location with sister locations spread across the Valley.
And, if you’re looking for Chinese takeout prepared with fresh ingredients, look no further than the family-owned Wong’s Chinese Dining. Wong’s, offering an extensive menu with authentic Chinese dishes, was named one of the best Chinese takeout joints in Arizona by Eat This Not That — giving you one more reason to visit.
Did you know?
Speaking of chickens, The City Phoenix allows residents to keep up to 20 backyard chickens per half-acre as long as their enclosure is 80 feet from the residence. Roosters aren’t allowed, due to noise, but tending a flock of hens is a great way to source fresh, local eggs.
Supporting a Resilient Local Food System
The City of Phoenix’s Resilient Food Systems Initiative offers a variety of programs and resources to help develop a stronger, connected local food system with more accessible and sustainable food options for Phoenix residents. Some of these programs include:
Want to become a Phoenix: Let's Eat Local certified restaurant?
Please contact Kailey Mullis at firstname.lastname@example.org or 602-534-2488.