Nice park, crappy neighborhood. And I speak from experience, as someone who used to live a couple of miles away from the Maryvale. About the best thing to be said for it is, there's an DMV office just up the street, so you can catch a baseball game and renew your license on the same trip. It's a shame, since Maryvale Baseball Park itself certainly has its positive sides. For one thing, it's the tiniest of the Cactus League venues, holding only seven thousand people, making it less than half the size of the new Sloan Park. That gives it a cozy, small-time feel which is different from the slicker new facilities [though being built in 1998, Maryvale is hardly ancient]
As for the area... It's hardly a demilitarized zone, but nor is it exactly teeming with places you'd want to hang, and nor is it pedestrian-friendly Even when we were living there, we would typically head outside the immediate area to eat out, unless we had a specific destination in mind. For a generic chain selection, your best bet is to head west along Indian School Road, and then make a left down 75th Avenue, back towards the I-10. There are plenty of choices between Thomas and the highway, including Hooters', Red Lobster, Olive Garden and the Texas Roadhouse. Downtown Glendale, as discussed in the Camelback Ranch entry, is along within reach, about 10 mins North.
If you Google "restaurants near Maryvale Baseball Park", the first suggestion is Sizzler, which is hardly encouraging. But if you're feeling adventurous, there are still some places worth your attention.
2844 N 43rd Ave, 602) 269-3383. Google rating: 4.3. Probably the epitome of "don't judge a book by its cover," this family-owned and run Vietnamese restaurant earns rave reviews for both the quality of its food, and the service. The pho [a noodle broth] is particularly renowned, but the macaron ice cream sandwiches are also renowned. But it may prove a struggle to keep enough room for dessert, with the portions likely to do a good job of satisfying the hungriest of appetites. It's not big - probably a dozen tables - so you may need to wait a bit. It's worth it.
Los Reyes de la Torta
4333 W Indian School Rd, (602) 269-3212. Google rating: 4.2. You may have seen this local chain on Man vs. Food in 2010, when host Adam Richman took on their Torta Del Rey, which includes ham, melted cheese, pork sirloin, breaded beef, omelet, sausage and chorizo. Seems like a good way to find out if there's such a thing as a meat coma. That was at the Sunnyslope branch, but the same items are also available at their other Valley locations. Can be a bit of a dinner rush, but an afternoon contest should finish at the right time..
Popo's Fiesta Del Sol
6542 W Indian School Rd, (623) 846-2636. Google rating: 4.1. A long-standing entry on the Phoenix scene - they celebrated their 50th anniversary last year - they also have a locations straight up 59th Avenue, at Bell, which to be honest, is the one with which I'm more familiar. Presumably, that one offers the same menu at this, which is their original restaurant. Like just about all the suggestions, it's dropped in the middle of a strip mall, and I've read that parking nearby can be a bit dicey at times. Still, I can handle that for some of the best Mexican food I've enjoyed.
2929 N 43rd Ave Phoenix, (602) 682-7701. Google rating: 4.7. You're probably noticing a theme to the suggestions about this point, and it has to be said, if you don't like Mexican food, your decent options in the area are going to be kinda limited. The specialty of this place (and yes, that is an apostrophe in its name) is the charcoal-infused carne asada, their grilled beef - and they use only Angus meat here, which definitely helps. They also have a location at 59th Ave and Camelback, and both are almost inevitably crowded. There's good reason for that.
4955 W Indian School Rd, (623) 245-0313. Google rating: 4.6. Consider this the bargain option for those on a budget, seeking to fill up at minimal cost. If the area is heavy on Mexican restaurant, it's also equally well-served with Chinese ones, most of which have the word "buffet" somewhere in their name or culinary approach. Past experience has shown that to be a warning sign, but as a cheap way to eat out, this is better than most. Service can border on the Basil Fawlty-esque, but nobody should go to a Chinese buffet expecting greatness in this area.