Culinary Dropout Opens Largest Location to Date in Downtown Tempe

Wildly popular restaurant brings gastropub fare, live music to town

By Patricia Escarcega,

Culinary Dropout, a popular Phoenix gastropub with locations in central Phoenix and Scottsdale, has opened a much-anticipated location in Tempe.

Like its predecessors, the new Tempe location is poised to become a favorite hangout for folks drawn to the restaurant's modern take on pub fare, delicious hand-crafted cocktails and casually hip ambiance.

The gastropub is located at the recently renovated Farmers Arts District, a sprawling 14,000-square-foot complex situated at the edge of Tempe's lively Mill Avenue District. It features a large open dining room and a bar area with flat-screen televisions for sports viewing, as well as a spacious outdoor patio. 

Culinary Dropout, home to the popular pretzels and fondue combo, has opened a location in Tempe — Photo courtesy of Culinary Dropout

In addition, guests have access to "The Yard," a large shaded outdoor space with fire pits and lounging chairs, cornhole boards and ping-pong tables. The yard is designed to make you feel like you're at a backyard party with friends. 

The ambiance is a big part of Culinary Dropout's popularity, but the main draw remains the mouth-watering eats. One of the signature starters is the pretzel fondue, a serving of warm and buttery pretzel bites served with a side of creamy provolone fondue. Some regulars are known to stop in for the pretzel bites alone.

There's also a large antipasti menu, with imported Italian and Spanish meats and cheeses. A selection of gourmet snacks includes fig, date and walnut terrine; marinated olives; roasted Brussels sprouts served with parmesan and currants; and prosciutto deviled eggs.

The menu also features hearty sandwiches, salads, entrees and homemade desserts. On the entree side, one of the most popular lunch and dinner options is the 36-Hour Pork Ribs, which (as the name implies) are marinated for a day and a half in the lip-smacking zesty house sauce and then served with a side of coleslaw and fries.

Come hungry if you intend to tackle this rib plate. 

Another must-try entree is the fried chicken plate. The chicken batter is crunchy and savory, with just a kiss of honey for sweetness. It's served with a flaky, melt-in-your-mouth homemade buttermilk biscuit. 

As far as drinks (listed under a section of the menu called "Vices"), Culinary Dropout delivers a fun selection of shandies, a few takes on the Moscow Mule and an exhaustive beer and wine menu. 

For dessert, don't miss the monkey bread, a baked-to-order cinnamon apple brioche topped with a big scoop of vanilla ice cream. It's large enough to share with a friend or two, but good enough to eat all on your own.