McDowell Miracle Mile

Written by Kevin Barry Category: Lifestyle Issue: April 2016
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In Downtown Phoenix in 1949, businesses were in distress over the lack of available parking, and began to look elsewhere for a place to set up shop. They soon found a stretch of McDowell Road that would become known as the “Miracle Mile,” an area that at its peak in 1956 held more than 50 stores. However, once Park Central Mall opened in 1957, Miracle Mile had competition it had not previously encountered, causing the community of businesses to falter. It’s currently experiencing a rebirth, thanks in part to a slew of new global-cuisine restaurants. MILE METRICS: Stretching roughly from 12th to 18th streets, the Mile is actually closer to a kilometer in total length. BIRTHDAY PARTY: Miracle Mile was founded in 1954, the same year John Travolta, Christie Brinkley and Jerry Seinfeld were born. LANDMARKS: In 1991, an 85-foot-long white “Miracle Mile arch” was erected across McDowell Road at 16th Street. 


As a result of a surge of immigrants to the area, the Miracle Mile has become a destination for flavors from around the world. The Moroccan food at Couscous Express (a PHOENIX magazine 2015 Best New Restaurant) and Ethiopian cuisine at Authentic Ethioafrican Spices have both received rave reviews since their recent openings, and Ollie Vaughn’s Kitchen and Bakery offers traditional American eats like sandwiches, soups, salads and baked goods.
Couscous Express: 1915 E. McDowell Rd., 602-252-7777,
Ollie Vaughn’s: 1526 E. McDowell Rd., 602-254-1392,
Authentic Ethioafrican Spices: 1740 E. McDowell Rd., 602-252-2286,


With its quaint turquoise décor and local art on the wall, Smooth Brew has a calm, inviting presence that feels like home. Opened in May 2015, it has gained traffic for its strong coffee with a smooth taste, derived from a blend of light and dark roasted beans. They get this blend from a local roaster, Scottsdale’s Altitude Coffee Lab, which utilizes a roaster imported from Europe. Owner Kat Proffitt says customer favorites include the Turkish latte, horchata latte and the red velvet mocha.
1447 E. McDowell Rd., 480-800-9025,


Founded as Arizona Deaconess Hospital and Home in October 1911, four months before Arizona gained statehood, the institution now known as Banner University Medical Center has grown from 20 beds to 662. The hospital made the move from Third Avenue and Van Buren Street to McDowell Road in 1913, and has remained there since. Specialty services include care for advanced heart and lung diseases, organ transplantation and its long-lauded high-risk obstetrics care. Thousands of babies have been born here, including, in 1948, Stevie Nicks.
1111 E. McDowell Rd., 602-839-2000,


This family-owned and -operated flower shop has bloomed on McDowell Road since 1948, offering an array of different floral arrangements for all sorts of special occasions, from the classic, romantic blend of roses and lilies to a more colorful sunflower arrangement. Arizona Flower Shop delivers all over the Valley, and offers same-day delivery where available.
1812 E McDowell Rd., 602-258-8307,