For many years, Haji Baba’s in Tempe has been one of my go-to places for good Middle Eastern food in the Phoenix area. Indeed, it’s been one of the places on my hit list whenever I’m in the Phoenix area. Haji Baba’s isn’t exactly the best decorated place—it’s important to realize that the idea here is a market that sells food, and not a restaurant. As a result, the overall ambiance here is a bit lacking, it’s like eating in an office supply store. But you’re not coming here to enjoy the ambiance, you’re coming here to eat. And that’s where Haji Baba’s shines, with a solid menu of Middle Eastern delights, such as gyros, schawarma (shown here), hummus, tabouleh, grape leaves, olives, and such.
Where Offbeat Eats has been:
After our business meeting in Dayton, and a dew spare hours spent at Wright-Patterson AFB at the Museum of the United States Air Force, it was time for us to head back home, via the Columbus airport. On the way, we decided to stop off for some lunch at Tommy’s Diner in Columbus. Located on the west side of town in the Franklinton neighborhood, it’s a bit off the beaten path. Well, not quite, the path is actually beaten to Tommy’s, since that place pretty much is the major destination for that neighborhood. Tommy’s is basically the embodiment of your classic Greek-owned diner of the ’50s. Sporting two of those U-shaped Formica counters, swivel stools, and waitresses that still call you “Hon” when you order, Tommy’s has your basic Greek diner fare: burgers, hot dogs, gyros, grilled sandwiches, fries, and the like. They also have a lot of kitsch on the walls, including old road signs, and the fairly obligatory wall of old license plates.