Opened in 2009,. Goodyear Ballpark was initially home to just the Cleveland Indians, until they were joined there the following season by the Cincinnati Reds. It's definitely a good place to go to if you like room to move around, being the least well-attended park in the valley: last year, those two teams occupied the bottom two rungs in Cactus League crowds, with the Reds averaging less than four thousand fans per game. With a ballpark capacity of over ten thousand, it makes for a nicely relaxed experience.
It's easy to reach, a straight run down the I-10 towards Los Angeles, before you turn left and go down either Bullard Avenue or Estrella Parkway. Parking is mostly south of the stadium and is $5 for cars. In front of the park, you'll see a sculpture created by artist Donald Lipski, designed to combine baseball with Goodyear's long connection to flight, and is called 'The Ziz', after a giant water bird of Hebrew legend. Baseball? Well, it's 60'6" tall, a distance you should recognize... [For amusement, head down Bullard and convince out of towners that nearby Goodyear Airport is actually Sky Harbor: No commercial flight go there, and it's mostly a maintenance, storage and pilot training facility]
But enough chit-chat. What are the dining options? Well, to be honest, there isn't any selection, never mind a good one, in the actual area of the stadium - it's more or less in the middle of nowhere. Unless you have a specific destination in mind, your best bet is probably to head north, to the other side of the I-10, and then go east along McDowell. There's a much better selection of restaurants, clustered around the intersections - McDowell and Dysart is particularly well-served. Here are some of our favorites, within 10 minutes or so drive of the ballpark: links go to the restaurant's sites, where they have one.
Taste of Italy
3810 S. Estrella Pkwy. (623) 932 2272. Google rating: 4.2 Confusingly, there are two Tastes of Italy in Goodyear: I've no idea if they are connected. The other is further south and West and though slightly better rated (4.4), is probably not worth the extra distance. This is straightforward Italian fare: pizza, pasta etc. where you can grab something quick at the counter, sit down for something more substantial, or take your order to go [Just bear in mind ballpark policies if you intend to take it to the stadium!]
Flavors of Louisiana
13025 W Rancho Santa Fe Blvd. (623) 935-2357. Google rating: 4.8. While you wouldn't expect to find good Cajun food in the desert wastes of Arizona, this place is the real deal, offering gumbo, po-boys and other specialties from Louisiana, including jambalaya, deep-fried catfish, shrimp etouffee and even alligator [tastes like pork, or maybe that's just me!] It's open from 11am to 8pm, though you should be aware, the restaurant is closed on Sundays.
Majerle's Sports Grill
13375 W. McDowell Road. (602) 207-6999. Google rating: 4.4 The newest branch of this local franchise is... Well, pretty much the same as all the others, but you don't exactly go to a place like this for the distinctive ambiance. It probably comes in at the upscale end of the sports bar market, offering wall to wall televisions, burgers, nachos and similar items, as well as a broad selection of adult beverages. Happy hour everyday from 3-7pm, with food and drink specials.
1809 N Dysart Rd. (623) 536-2320. Google rating: 4.7 Being British, I like a good curry. And this is definitely a good curry. My standard order is for the chicken tikka masala, spicy, with a keema naan: I'm sure their other items are every bit as good, yet I love this one so much, I can't not order it. Maybe you'll get lucky and they'll be showing cricket on the TVs too: ask for an explanation of the LBW rule if you have six hours to spare. They have a lunch buffet from 11-2:30pm, then serve dinner from 5-10pm.
Don Pancho Mexican Food
725 N Central Ave. (623) 925-9430. Google rating: 4.6 If you're coming to Arizona, you certainly should be looking to try some Mexican food, one of the local strengths, and there are no shortage of possibilities. This is a place that it would be easy to miss, located in a strip mall opposite a church (it can get busy on Sundays), but you'd be losing out on some authentic and very reasonably priced fare. Tacos are particularly recommended. Closes at 8pm during the week, 6pm on weekends and shut entirely on Mondays.