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Fry bread, elote, and deep-fried corn dogs: Where to get fair-inspired food around the Valley

Fair food collage.jpg
Posted at 3:44 PM, Mar 05, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-11 14:03:31-05

PHOENIX — What’s fried, deep-fried, and sometimes covered in gobs of whipped cream and chocolate? Or drenched in ooey, gooey cheese and pepperoni and served on a classic grease-stained paper plate?

Anything — and everything — at the fair (of course)!

While the fair only comes through a couple of times a year — Maricopa County Fair in the spring and Arizona State Fair in the fall — it’s possible to curb some of those fair-like cravings year-round at a number of over-the-top spots around the Valley.

Due to the pandemic, the Maricopa County Fair was canceled for 2021. The Arizona State Fair hasn't made any announcements about its 2021 event yet.

Here are just a few of the delicious fair-like eats to find around Phoenix.

CHURROS

From a classic churro to filled churros, churro sundaes, and churro doughnuts, these spots are bringing the sweet creativity and cravings for churro lovers.

Dulce Churro Cafe

Opened in Gilbert in 2018 and has plans to open a second location soon in Chandler, near Alma School and Chandler Blvd. They have do-it-yourself churros with different sauces and toppings. They also have churro bites, churro sundaes, loop churros, and churro ice cream sandwiches.

Where to find them:
1674 N Higley Rd #107, Gilbert, AZ 85234.
https://dulcechurrocafe.com

Churroholic

A dessert chain that expanded to Arizona in 2019 and has expanded to three locations in Glendale, Peoria, and Tempe. Churroholic has loop churros, ice cream, churro bites, and churro sundaes topped with whipped cream and chocolate sauce.

Where to find them:
5626 W. Bell Rd, Suite 101 Glendale, AZ 85308
9340 W Northern Ave Peoria, AZ 85305
2000 E Rio Salado Parkway, #1068 Tempe, AZ 85281
www.churroholic.com

Churro GoNutz

Churro GoNutz started as a food truck and in 2021 opened two locations in Glendale and Phoenix. The Glendale location serves vegan-friendly options whereas the Phoenix location is a make-your-own churro concept and features popular items from the truck. They have churros, churro bites, churro sundaes, and churro doughnuts.

Where to find them:
7149 N 58Th Ave., Suite B, Glendale, Arizona
4229 W Bell Rd, Phoenix, Arizona
www.churrogonutz.com

FUNNEL CAKE AND FUNNEL CAKE FRIES

Who doesn’t love a funnel cake? Lightly fried dough topped with cinnamon, sugar, and powdered sugar. Maybe some whipped cream, fruit, and chocolate sauce.

Fantasy Funnel Cake Food Truck

Fantasy Funnel Cake feels like a mini-fair on wheels. Funnel cakes and funnel cake fries are on the menu, as well as churros, pretzels, corn dogs, and lemonade.

Where to find them:
Visit www.FantasyFunnelCake.com or their Instagram page for location updates.

Nurdberger

The original opened in Globe, Arizona and a second opened in Gilbert, Arizona. Burgers are the name of the game here, but search Instagram and several photos of their Funnel Cake fries dessert populate. We’ve seen them topped with whipped cream and fruit, as well as whipped cream and Fruity Pebbles cereal. They also have cereal milkshakes.

Where to find them:
235 E Warner Rd., suite 107, Gilbert, AZ 85296
420 Hill St., Globe, AZ 85501
https://nurdberger.com

HOT DOGS & CORN DOGS

Short Leash Hot dogs + Rollover Doughnuts

You’ll find a dozen signature hot dogs that are served on Naan bread at Short Leash Hot Dogs. They also all-beef hot dogs, bratwurst, jalapeno-cheddar dogs, spicy dogs, chicken dogs, and veggie dogs. They also have loaded fries, and brioche doughnuts for dessert.

Where to find them:
4221 N. 7th Avenue, Phoenix 85013
https://shortleashhotdogs.com

Two Hands Corn Dog

Have you had a Korean-style corn dog before? Two hands Corn Dog in Mesa is home of the Korean-style corn dog. You can order a regular all-beef corn dog or add cheddar or mozzarella cheeses. They have seven signatures, including a classic corn dog, as well as the “Two Hands Dog,” which is topped with seasoning and Ranch.

Where to find them:
1933 W Main St #6, Mesa, AZ 85201
https://www.twohandsus.com

Ted’s Hot Dogs

A fixture in Tempe, Ted’s Hot Dogs has more than hot dogs on the menu. But, if you’re focused on fair-type food, they have the classic corn dog and the regular hot dog. They also have a footlong hot dog, jumbo hot dog, and a veggie dog.

Where to find them:
1755 E. Broadway Tempe, AZ 85282
https://www.tedshotdogs.com

Dog Haus

The national hot dog chain has opened at least four restaurants in the Valley. Dog Haus is known for serving its hot dogs, brats, burgers, and sliders on King’s sweet Hawaiian rolls.

Where to find them:
1 E. Washington Street, Phoenix AZ 85004
2224 E. Williams Field Road, #107, Gilbert AZ 85295
15257 N. Scottsdale Road, suite F1-155, Scottsdale AZ 85254
430 N. Scottsdale Rd. Tempe AZ 85281
https://doghaus.com

FRY BREAD

Emerson Fry Bread

The Native-owned food truck serves fry bread — plain or topped with beans and cheese — as well as burgers, tacos, mutton, and steamed corn stew. You can usually find them at the Phoenix Indian Community Center or near 16th Street and Glenrosa, but check their Instagram for updated locations and times.

Where to find them:
Follow @mersonfrybreadphx on Instagram.

The Fry Bread House

In 2012, Fry Bread House won the James Beard Award for “America’s Classics.” The eatery relocated to 7th Street in 2020 and serves various sweet and savory fry breads, tacos, and burros.

Where to find them:
4545 N 7th Ave Phoenix, AZ 85013
www.instagram.com/frybreadhouse

ICE CREAM, ICE POPS & MILKSHAKES

The Soda Jerk Milkshake Bar

You’ll find classic milkshakes, sodas and floats at The Soda Jerk, but it’s their “Killer Milkshakes” that have taken over Instagram. These over-the-top milkshakes come loaded with frosting, whipped cream, candies, and toppings. The “Peanut Gallery” milkshake comes with a fudge and peanut-covered rim, chocolate whipped cream, a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup, and Nutter Butter cookies on top.

Where to find them:
5350 E. High St. #109 Phoenix, AZ 85054
https://sodajerkco.com

Balboa’s

Whether you’re craving an ice cream bar or a frozen banana for dessert, Balboa’s has both — and you can customize them with different toppings and sauces. You have a choice of a vanilla or chocolate bar that’s dipped in their gluten-free and dairy-free chocolate. Topping include Oreo crumbs, potato chips, crushed almonds, sprinkles, etc.

Where to find them:
2036 N Gilbert Rd Unit 6 Mesa AZ 85203
www.hellobalboas.com

Pop ’N Tea Bar

Pop ’N Tea is home to the “diamond bar,” a diamond-shaped ice pop made out of gelato or sorbet. They have several flavors that can be eaten plain or dipped in chocolate and then covered with sauces and candy toppings. On the tea side, they have flavored teas, boba teas, and smoothies.

Where to find them:
550 W. McDowell Road, Phoenix AZ 85003
www.popntea.com

Snoh Ice Shavery

Snoh is a popular Asian melt-in-your-mouth dessert that’s described as a cross between ice cream and traditional shaved ice. They have a variety of different flavors, including cotton candy, matcha (seasonal), pistachio, strawberry, and Thai tea (seasonal), as was as different toppings and glazes. You can choose one of their signature creations or make your own.

Where to find them:
914 E Camelback Road Suite 4B Phoenix Arizona 85014
https://www.snohice.com

Doc’s Artisan Ice Creams

Sometimes a simple scoop of gelato or sorbet is all you need. You get that at Doc’s, but the flavors are anything but simple. Doc’s is a popular fixture at festivals, but he recently opened at Hive48 in Mesa. Flavors rotate, but can include strawberry cheesecake, apple butter, vanilla bean, chocolate, lime cheesecake, banana, and lemon meringue.

Where to find them:
Inside Hive48, 1839 South Crismon Rd Mesa Az 85209
www.instagram.com/docsartisanicecreams

Azuquita

One thing about the fair is you’re sure to find some over-the-top desserts to eat. While concha ice cream sandwiches may not be not the menu at the fair (we may have missed it), it’s the specialty item at Azuquita in Peoria. They also have Mangoneada, Mazapan Frappe, milkshakes, and Buñuelo (tortilla chips covered in brown sugar and cinnamon) on the menu.

Where to find them:
7539 W Peoria Ave B101 Peoria, AZ 85345
https://theazuquita.com

Dessert in the Desert

Dessert in the Desert in Scottsdale first caught our eye because it served teriyaki, a Japanese fish-shaped cake that can be filled with red bean, custard, Nutella, or cream cheese. They also have a taiyaki-inspired ice cream cone. On the fried side (and the other reason we have them listed) is that they serve those deep-fried spiral potatoes.

Where to find them:
18511 N Scottsdale RD ste 105 Scottsdale, AZ 85255
https://www.dessertindesert.com

Sweet Republic

Sometimes sweet, creamy ice cream is where it’s at at the fair and Sweet Republic is a staple in the Valley. They specialize in artisan ice cream with a roaring list of unique flavors, such as salted butter caramel swirl, almond butter crunch, blue moon, Irish whiskey, honey lavender, and brownie swirl. They also have sundaes, milkshakes, and floats.

Where to find them:
9160 E. Shea Blvd., Scottsdale AZ 85260
6054 N 16th St., Phoenix, AZ 85016
410 N Scottsdale Rd., Tempe, AZ 85281
www.sweetrepublic.com

PRETZELS, FRIES, ELOTE, POPCORN AND PIZZA

What do you think of first when it comes to the fair? Deep-fried food and super sweet food? For those looking for some classic comfort foods, here are some options for satisfy those cravings.

Mustache Pretzels

Just like the name says, Mustache Pretzels are shaped like mustaches. They have four types of pretzels: the original butter and salt, cinnamon and sugar, garlic and Parmesan, and salted caramel. Being a food truck, they move around a lot so to find them you will have to check their online calendar and Instagram page.

Where to find them:
www.mustachepretzels.com/find-us or www.instagram.com/mustachepretzels

Brat Haus

Brat Haus is home to one of the biggest pretzels in the Valley, the Giant Bavarian Pretzel that’s big enough to serve 6-10 people, according to its menu. Smaller, individual pretzels are also on the menu. Both are served with beer cheese fondue.

Where to find them:
3622 N. Scottsdale Road, Scottsdale AZ 85251
https://www.brathausaz.com

Elote Man

Corn is another fair staple. Elote Man has Mexican-style elote with mayo, Cotija cheese, Tajin, cream and lime. But, the food truck also has elote topped with Hot Cheetos, Takis, Doritos, or “cuatro”-style with all four mixed together. If the cob is too messy, its also offered in a cup.

Where to find them:
Follow @EloteManAZ on Instagram to see their upcoming schedule.

Twisted Munchies

The local food truck serves creative and colorful roasted street corn. They took some time off at the beginning of the year, but are gearing up for more events in March and April, the owners told ABC15.

Where to find them:
Follow @twisted_munchies_az for schedule updates.

Tru Tacos

Tru Tacos is a pop-up taco stand from the owners of Jewel’s Bakery and Cafe in Phoenix. They have a handful of tacos, including a cactus-based taco, and elote in a cup that’s topped with Hot Cheetos dust.

Where to find them:
4041 E Thomas Rd., Phoenix, AZ 85018
www.trutacos.fun

My Popcorn Kitchen

Just as toasted almonds do at the fair, it’s the smell of Kettle Corn that sucks you in. Good news, you can get Kettle corn year-round at My Popcorn Kitchen in Scottsdale. The local popcorn shop has standard kettle corn and cinnamon toasted kettle corn, as well as more than a dozen other flavors, such as cheddar cheese, beer cheese, dill pickle, and jalapeño. Craving something sweet? They have caramel and chocolate-covered popcorn, too.

Where to find them:
14202 N. Scottsdale Road, Scottsdale AZ 85254
https://mypopcornkitchen.com

Arizona Wilderness Brewing

Loaded fries and loaded nachos pair perfectly with beer. While these type of fries may not be at the fair, if you’re craving over-the-top fries, Arizona Wilderness has you covered. Bring friends because they’re big enough to share. They have duck fat fries, bacon and beer cheese fries, green chili pulled pork fries, and poutine fries.

Where to find them:
721 N Arizona Avenue, Gilbert AZ 85233
201 E. Roosevelt Street, Phoenix AZ 85004
https://azwbeer.com

By the slice pizzerias

There is something about a greasy slice of pizza that tastes great, well, anywhere. The Valley has a plethora of pizza places, from greasy, New York-style to Chicago deep-fish to classic, upscale, artisan and Detroit-style.

So, here are a few pizzerias that offer single slices:
Ziggy’s Magic Pizza Shop
Venezia's New York Style Pizzeria
Slices on Mill
Joe's NY Pizza
Streets of New York
Hot Daisy Pizza

OTHER VALLEY TREATS

Unbaked

It may not be deep-fried, but Unbaked has cookie dough scoops, cookie dough ice cream “doughwiches”, cookie dough milkshakes, and “boozy” milkshakes.

Where to find them:
3712 N. Scottsdale Road, Suite 105, Scottsdale, AZ 85251
https://getunbaked.com

Scoopwell’s Dough Bar

Similar to Unbaked, Scoopwell’s is another dessert shop that specializes in DIY cookie dough. Some of their flavors include s’mores, gingersnap, brownie dough, and peanut butter explosion. They also have vegan and gluten-free options.

Where to find them:
100 E Camelback Rd #164 Phoenix, AZ 85012
https://www.scoopwells.com

WOW WOW Lemonade

Whether it’s the fried food or the salty pretzel, you need something to wash it all down. Lemonade is another one of those classic fair/festival staples. Wow Wow has their classic fresh-pressed lemonade, but also other flavors, such as watermelon-basil, strawberry-pineapple, ginger-pineapple, passion-strawberry, and strawberry-mint, among others.

Where to find them:
6501 E Greenway Pkwy #152 Scottsdale, AZ 85254
3890 W Happy Valley Rd, #167 Glendale, AZ 85310
9455 W Glendale Ave., Suite 120 Glendale, AZ 85305
4910 E Ray Rd #G9 Phoenix, AZ 85044
24775 N Lake Pleasant Parkway, Suite 101 Peoria, AZ 85383
https://wowwowhawaiianlemonade.com

Sicilian Baker

Cannolis are the name of the game at Sicilian Baker. They have four shell sizes, including the massive footlong cannoli, and more than a dozen flavored fillings. Like other DIY places, you choose the shell, chocolate-dipped or not, and the fillings.

Where to find them:
15530 N. Tatum Blvd #140, Phoenix, AZ 85032
3151 W. Frye Rd, Chandler, AZ 85226
9780 W Northern Ave #1100, Peoria, AZ 85345
www.thesicilianbaker.com

Toasted Mallow

Holiday s’mores pizza was thing at the fair’s holiday drive-thru. That’s not on the menu at Toasted Mallow in Gilbert, but if you’re looking for over-the-top s’mores — the smell of the bonfire included — they have them. Toasted is a DIY s’mores bar with large, homemade marshmallows that can be paired a cookie bowl and topped with fruit, candy, chocolate sauce, even cookie dough. They also have homemade marshmallow cereal treats.

Where to find them:
1034 N Gilbert Rd #3, Gilbert, AZ 85234
https://thetoastedmallow.com

AZ Chimney Cakes

Chimney Cakes are a Hungarian dessert that consists of a baked sweet and crunchy dough that’s shaped like a cylinder, or a chimney. The inside is hollow and can be filled with whatever you crave. At AZ Chimney Cakes, they have a lot of sweet fillings, such as Bavarian cream, vanilla or chocolate gelato, Oreo cream, and others. They also have different sauces and toppings.

Where to find them:
1055 N. Dobson Road Suite 104, Mesa, AZ 85201
https://azchimneycakes.com

Beard Papa’s

Beard Papa’s is one of the newest, if not the newest, dessert concept to open in the Valley. Beard Papa’s is a Japanese-based concept that specializes in do-it-yourself cream puffs. They have a variety of flavored cream puff shells and creams to choose from.

Where to find them:
15147 N Scottsdale Rd Suite H102, Scottsdale, AZ 85254
www.beardpapas.com