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Desert Companion

Streetwise:The Fort Apache circuit


Suburban sprawl be damned. Peppered among fast food chains and big-box stores on the southern end of Fort Apache Road is a diverse array of small businesses that are more deserving of your dollars.

Human BeanThe Human Bean

1 Unless you insist on having a green mermaid emblazoned on your coffee cup, head to this drive-thru kiosk for fair trade beans served by friendly baristas. The staff’s bright-eyed enthusiasm will wake you up faster than your double espresso. 5335 S. Fort Apache Road, 798-4100,

Raw Food Express

2 This raw vegan juice bar and café is more than a hippie dining destination — it’s practically a storefront church for the Cult of Raw Foodists. For former meat-eaters who’ve seen the light, health seminars, raw cookbooks and kitchen equipment ease your conversion. 5105 S. Fort Apache Road #110, 992-0499,

Sweet Addiction

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3 What’s better than a scoop of old school Thrifty’s ice cream? Eating it in sandwich form. This pint-sized store offers fresh-baked cookies as a carrier for the cold confection. 5165 S. Fort Apache Road #160, 570-6993,


4 This mom-and-pop spot provides a quick fix for Korean cuisine without the trek to Spring Mountain Road. The ambience is no-frills, but the menu has a few: Sizzling rice bowls, barbecue and sundubu (tofu stew). 5035 S. Fort Apache Road #106, 684-7263

The Perfect Scoop & Boba Tea

5 For dessert with Asian flair, stop at this family-run parlor for a scoop of sesame or red bean ice cream. Owner Mr. Wong uses his own recipes and makes everything fresh on-site, including familiar choices like banana chocolate chip and rum raisin. 5035 S. Fort Apache Road #104, 701-7888,

Rabbit Valley Comics

6 If you’re unfamiliar with the term “furry fandom,” a Google search may surprise you. Interest still piqued? Explore your curiosity with a few anthropomorphic books and zines from this online shop (pick-ups at the office can be arranged). 5130 S. Fort Apache Road #215, 291-8286,

Tokyo Discount - Hello Kitty figurines

Tokyo Discount

7 Your one-stop shop for Asian pop culture tchotchkes: Sanrio merch, Anime toys, Japanese snacks and cosmetics. Why go to the neighboring Lowe’s when you can buy pink Hello Kitty appliances here? 4960 S. Fort Apache Road, 227-3027

Putt ParkPutt Park

8 The city’s only outdoor 18-hole mini-golf course is a popular attraction for young couples, families and Tiger Woods wannabes. Glow-in-the-dark cosmic golfing and late hours are a plus — you want to work on your stroke, not die of heat stroke. 6085 S. Fort Apache Road, 254-7888,

Ron’s Market

9 You don’t have to hail from the Motherland to appreciate the grub at this Eastern European market. Expect street meat lunch plates, feta by the brick and pastries baked in-house. 6085 S. Fort Apache Road #140, 431-6444

Inferno Pilates

Inferno Hot Pilates

10 It’s not a dry heat at this Pilates studio. A team of pro athletes, including a Cirque du Soleil performer, help work your core in a room set at 95 degrees and 40 percent humidity. 5752 S. Fort Apache Road #155, 262-5557,