Butters Pancakes & Café / Facebook
Fans of both the Arizona Diamondbacks and Colorado Rockies (who share Salt River Fields at Talking Stick in Scottsdale) should plan to head to the stadium early if they want the best nearby meal. Butters Pancakes & Café is just over a mile from the ballpark, and it’s only open until 2:30 p.m. daily. However, the abbreviated hours are worth it for the wholesome breakfast and lunch dishes, including the Eggs Rojo or Eggs Verde, which are topped with red or green New Mexico chile sauce. Butters isn’t just consistently named the best breakfast in town, it’s also one of the best restaurants in the city.
Asian Café Express / Facebook
Asian cuisine is probably not the first thing one thinks of when choosing a restaurant in Mesa, Arizona, but locals really rave over Asian Café Express, which is just over a mile from the Chicago Cubs’ Sloan Park. Not only does chef Michael Leung’s Hong Kong-style joint serve fantastic stews, hot pot, fried rice, Singapore-style fried noodles, and chile sauce dumplings, but if you bring your own seafood, the kitchen will cook it up any way you like for just $5.
Technically, Litchfield’s is located in Litchfield Park, not Glendale, but White Sox and Dodgers fans alike shouldn’t let that deter them from making the five-mile drive from Camelback Ranch to one of the best restaurants in the greater Phoenix area. Boasting Cedar River ribeyes, filet mignon, and New York strip steaks, chef Chris Knouse's menu here provides guests with an enticing list of entrées, and Knouse even hosts dinner parties at Litchfield’s large, communal farm table, where he prepares dishes over a cooking fireplace.
Ah-Hai Sushi & Grill / Facebook
If you can get past the odd hours (11 a.m. to 10 p.m., but closed between 3 and 4:30 p.m. on weekdays), Ah-Hai Sushi is somewhat of a gem hidden amongst the slew of chain restaurants that pepper the Goodyear area. Sure, fans headed to Goodyear Ballpark might be craving chili instead (as two Ohio teams, the Cincinnati Reds and Cleveland Indians, both call it home in the spring), but perhaps that can wait until the regular season. In the meantime, grab a cheap roll (like the Thunder Roll with cream cheese, salmon, whitefish, and shrimp deep-fried with eel sauce, spicy mayo, and masago) and wash it down with a Sapporo beer, only $5.50 and $2.50, respectively, during the daily happy hour.
Yelp / Pam P
French food might seem like an odd choice for a restaurant near the Kansas City Royals and Texas Rangers’ Surprise Stadium, but when it’s run by French-trained chefs Snir and Kiersten Mor and is BYOB, how can anyone resist? Serving a menu that changes with the seasons, Amuse Bouche Gourmet Bistro is a great option for a pregame quiche (breakfast is only served on Sundays) or signature Cabernet Burger, or a postgame order of beef short ribs and clafoutis for dessert. Bon appétit, baseball fans.
House of Tricks / Facebook
House of Tricks may sound like a magic shop, but it’s actually the romantic restaurant owned and operated by Robert and Robin Trick for over 25 years. Located just a few miles from the L.A. Angels’ Tempe Diablo Stadium, House of Tricks serves everything from contemporary American cuisine like brick-roasted Cornish game hen and black peppercorn-glazed grilled salmon, to Southwestern-inspired dishes like enchiladas stuffed with butternut squash, potato, spinach, cheese, and chorizo — all courtesy of chef Kelly Fletcher. Stop in, grab a seat on the patio, at the outdoor tree-covered bar, or in one of two historic bungalows, and enjoy!
Popo’s Fiesta del Sol / Facebook
Phoenix as a whole has a lot of great dining options, but the western side, where the Milwaukee Brewers’ Maryvale Baseball Park is located, is somewhat desolate in this regard. That being said, Brew Crew fans should head to Popo’s Fiesta Del Sol for a Mexican institution that’s been around since 1964. Although the menu mostly contains the usual Mexican fare, it offers several promotions — All-U-Can-Eat Mondays, 99¢ Margarita Tuesdays & Saturdays, Build Your Own Burrito Wednesdays, 99¢ Taco Thursdays, and a daily happy hour from 3-7 p.m. — which should resonate well with both hungry and thirsty sports fans.
Republica Empanada / Facebook
Exactly two miles from the Oakland A’s HoHoKam Stadium is Republica Empanada, which, as the name suggests, is the place for empanadas in Mesa. Boasting at least 15 different varieties, one can order everything from classic bean and cheese, to a jalapeño popper empanada, to a Cuban-sandwich one stuffed with pernil pork, ham, mozzarella, and dill pickle.
Yelp / Laz C
Amongst all the chain restaurants that dominate the Peoria area, Leo’s Island BBQ isn’t just one of the few high-quality, independent, made-to-order casual eateries in the area, it’s also walking distance from Peoria Sports Complex, the spring training home of both the San Diego Padres and Seattle Mariners. Offering nearly 30 different types of plate lunch (a Hawaiian-style meal that includes two scoops of rice and a side of macaroni salad), with options including smoked kalua pork, tangy teriyaki chicken, Spam, and loco moco (a burger topped with two fried eggs and gravy), chefs Leo and Lily Lee opened Leo’s Island BBQ in 2010 and still charge less than $10 per plate.
Virtù / Facebook
Consistently grabbing top restaurant honors in the city of Scottdale, Virtù is a Mediterranean and Southwest-inspired eatery located in the adorable Bespoke Inn B&B, barely a half-mile down the road from the San Francisco Giants’ Scottdale Stadium. The 2014 Esquire Magazine top-20 “Best New Restaurant” winner and James Beard Foundation nominee is run by chef Gio Osso, who prepares dishes that change weekly or daily, including charred octopus and smoked duck breast, which accompany a hand-crafted cocktail menu.