4031 E. Camelback Road

Phoenix, AZ 85018

One of the best parts about living in our neighborhood is the ability to spend time outside. When we aren’t dealing with the brutal summer heat, the rest of the year is filled with blue skies and temperatures that would make most of the country jealous. 

Sometimes after a walk in the beautiful outdoors, the perfect way to end the stroll is by slipping into a nearby restaurant for refreshments. Many people walking the canal will drop by O.H.S.O., which sits right next to the canal on Indian School Road, and kill an hour relaxing with a drink and some food. 

This was the ambiance that Aaron Pool was going for when he selected Camelback Road and 40th Street as the location for the second Gadzooks restaurant. The design-your-own enchilada and soup eatery first came to prominence on 7th Street and Osborn in Phoenix in 2013. After several successful years, Pool started looking for a second place to set up shop. 

“What we noticed in our original location was that professionals who worked in Phoenix would bring their kids back to Gadzooks on the weekends,” Pool told the Arcadia News in 2016. “We thought, if there was a closer location to families, our nighttime traffic would boost quite dramatically.” 

With the families of Arcadia as the draw, the second Gadzooks opened a few months ago. The location sits on the south side of Camelback Road, leaning right against the canal. 

“With the canal, you get joggers, bike riders, people out for a walk,” said Pool. “It becomes an easily accessible destination for families, not only by car, but also on foot.” 

The inside of the new Gadzooks looks similar to the old one. There are casual looking tables in both the restaurant and on the patio, with the center of attention being the ordering line. Gadzooks is similar to a place like Chipotle, where the customer starts at the beginning by saying what they would like, and then moving up the line to select ingredients. 

One noticeable change is the moving of the cash register. At the 7th Street Gadzooks, visitors would select their first round of ingredients, wait while their enchiladas or tacos were toasted in an oven, and then move on to the final round of toppings before paying. It seems like the new idea is to use that oven-waiting time to get payment out of the way. The register has been moved to the middle of the line, where customers pay for their food, before finishing putting together their food once it comes out of the oven. 

At the beginning of the line, most start by selecting enchiladas or tacos. Step two is filling up with choices of meat, vegetables and cheeses. Modelo braised bison is available if you can get to Gadzooks before it runs out. Favorites include roasted tomatillo chicken, short ribs, smashed jack potatoes and cornbread. Free tip: try the cornbread and the short ribs combined in a single enchilada, playing the sweet and spicy off each other. 

After covering your food in cheese and either red or green sauce, your dish goes into the oven. Once it’s piping hot, your options for toppings include salsa, picked onions, guacamole, or even an over-easy egg. If enchiladas or tacos aren’t for you, try the nachos. They don’t short you, as making it involves double-loading the plate and two different trips to the oven. 

Whether you’re in the mood for your very specific favorite enchilada order or just feeling like you need a 7th Street Sangria, it’s gotten a lot easier for Arcadia residents to swing by Gadzooks.