The Ash Avenue Strip

Written by Niki D'Andrea Category: Lifestyle Issue: November 2012

TINY TOWN: Tempe is roughly 40 square miles; by comparison, Phoenix covers almost 518 square miles.

CORPORATE CAMP: Several big-money companies have headquarters in Tempe, including US Airways, Insight Enterprises, Circle K, and Fulton Homes.

SISTER ACT: Tempe has eight sister cities, including Skopje, Macedonia and Zhenjiang, China; they are honored at Sister City Garden in Kiwanis Park.

phm1112 pfnw1 mdphm1112 pfnw2 md
phm1112 pfnw4 mdphm1112 pfnw3 md
Photos - Clock-wise from top left:

Tempe Camera
Since 1972, this “one-stop imaging store” has been the East Valley go-to for photographers of every ilk, be it a professional looking to rent a high-end lens or a scrapbooking mom ordering glossy print photos of her kid’s birthday party. The store sells everything from cameras and lenses to lighting and dark room supplies, and also has an extensive rental center offering equipment on loan. The imaging center makes digital and film prints, up to 4 feet by 10 feet, and there’s also a repair department. 606 W. University Dr., 480-966-6954,

Casey Moore’s Oyster House
The food is standard pub fare with a seafood bent (best bets are the oyster platter or Oysters Rockefeller), the beer menu’s good (includes Four Peaks Kilt Lifter, Ace Pear Cider and Stella Artois), but the patio and social scene are second to none. With an eclectic crowd consisting of college coeds, hipsters, and baby boomers lounging on a massive wraparound, smoke-friendly patio, Casey Moore’s is the Tempe place for people-watching. About the only thing they don’t have in abundance is parking. 850 S. Ash Ave., 480-968-9935,

Tempe Farmers’ Market
Locavores love this store for its array of Arizonan products. There’s produce from Gilbert’s Agritopia Farm and Golo Family Organic Farms in Waddell; hormone-free, grass-fed beef from Phoenix’s Mountain Beef Company; eggs from Cami’s Farm in Douglas; and goat cheese and milk from Crow’s Dairy in Buckeye. TFM also sells soaps from Infusion Soaps in Tempe, succulents from Tempe’s Amy’s Cactus, and organic beauty products from Phoenix’s Hebrew Essence. 805 S. Farmer Ave., 480-557-9970,

Cartel Coffee Lab
There’s always something percolating at this bustling beanery, decorated with local art and populated by ASU students, coffee connoisseurs and business folks. The music’s never loud enough to drown out conversation, and the Joe comes in several varieties, from a potent Black Market Espresso to La Perla, a blend of hand-harvested Caturra and Bourbon-variety beans from Guatemala. 225 W. University Dr., 480-225-3899,