Mill Avenue

Mill Avenue is a famous and historic street in Tempe, Arizona. In north Tempe near Arizona State University, the street runs through a popular, pedestrian-friendly shopping and nightlife district. Mill Avenue was originally centered around a Flour Mill, which still exists on the north end of the Avenue.

Today, the avenue plays host to many bars, designer shopping stores, as wells as many fairs, and city festivals. []


After the founding of Fort McDowell on the east side of central Arizona’s Salt River Valley in 1865, farmers moved into the area. These early settlers further developed the irrigation canals that the Hohokam people originally created and built new ones to carry Salt River water to their farms. Agriculture in the Salt River valley soon gave food to Arizona’s military posts and mining towns. In 1871, Hiram C. Hodge commented that there were two stores and a population of about 100 in Tempe. [ mill ] ]

A substantial addition to the Tempe economy was established in 1877, when Charles T. Hayden, a business man from Connecticut, [ [ Bio: Charles Trumbull Hayden - Tempe, Arizona ] ] opened a flour-mill operation that was supplied with water from the Tempe Irrigating Canal. Charles T. Hayden, and his family operated the mill for three full generations, and it was the crucial to Tempe's community industry.

The Hayden's Ferry Post Office, was renamed the Tempe Post Office in 1879. In 1889, the new Phoenix and Maricopa Railroad linked Tempe with Phoenix. In 1894, the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors incorporated the town of Tempe. Tempe finally became a city after being inhabited for over 30 years.

In 1962, the Laird and Dines Drug Store closed after 68 years of operation at the corner of Mill Avenue and Fifth Street. This drug store was one of the original fixtures on the commercial district of Mill Avenue. Tempe’s commercial center along Mill Avenue declined during these years. Prompted by Tempe’s centennial in 1971, Mill Avenue was revitalized into an entertainment and shopping district that attracts people from throughout the Phoenix Valley.

In 1997, the Hayden Flour Mill closed after 123 years of continuous operation. The mill's last operator was Bay State Milling, which had purchased it in 1981. The Hayden Flour Mill is significant as the oldest continuously used industrial site in the Salt River Valley.

Bars on Mill Avenue

Bars and Restaurants on Mill Avenue include, the Big Bang Dueling Pianos, Bison Witches Bar and Deli, The Cherry Lounge and Pit, Chronic Taco, Coconut Club Bar and Grill, Dirty Devil, Fat Tuesday Bar, Harry's Lounge at Tempe Mission Palms, Hooters of Tempe, Library Bar and Grill, The Loft Bistro, Mamcita's Cantina, Margarita Rocks Beach Club, Mill Cue Club, Rula Bula, Suite 301, The Tavern on Mill, Zuma Grill. [] [] In 2002, Tempe unilaterally through a ballot measure invoked a smoking ban. In the next year, many Mill Avenue bars changed ownership, but most have survived, some drastically changing their clientele (most notably the change from Beeloe's, a premier Jazz Club, to th Big Bang with its Dueling Pianos).

Notable bars that survived the smoking ban are Mill Cue Club, Rula Bula and Fat Tuesday Bar.

Casual Dining

Casual Dining on Mill Avenue include Bamboo Club Asian Bistro, Caffe Boa Bistro and Wine Bar, Chili's, Dragonfly Vietanese Kitchen, Gordon Biersch, Grilled Expedition, House of Tricks Fine Dining, La Bocca Urban Pizzeria and Wine Bar, Macayo's Depot Cantina, Mission Grille, Monti's La Casa Vieja, My Big Fat Greek Restaurant, P.F. Chang's China Bistro, Pizzeria Uno Chicago Bar and Grill, RA Sushi Bar Restaurant, Restaurant Mexico, Ruby Tuesday, Rula Bula Irish Pub and Restaurant, Z-Tejas Southwestern Grill. []

Monti's La Casa Vieja is located in one of the oldest buildings in Arizona and the oldest continuously occupied structure in the Phoenix area and has been a restaurant since the 1890s.


Coffee houses on Mill Avenue include the Coffee Plantation, CUPZ Coffee, eJoy Internet Cafe', Mill's End Cafe, Romancing the Bean, Seattle's Best Coffee, Starbucks Coffee []

Deli and Quick Dining

Deli and Quick Dining restaurants on Mill Avenue include Arizona Bun Devils Hot Dog, Center Bistro and Wine Bar, Chuck Box, Cold Stone Creamery, Cookiez on Mill, Corleone's Authentic Philly Steaks, Dave's Dog House, Extreme Pita, Fatburger, In Season Deli, Jack in the Box, La Pita Bar and Grill, Lorenzo's Villa Pizza, Ma'i Island Grill, Med Fresh Grill [ [ Med Fresh Grill Restaurant, welcome to our restaurant web site ] ] , Munchies Cafe, Panda Express, Phoenicia Cafe Mediterranean Cuisine, Pita Pit, Pot of Subs, Rinaldi's, Rollerz, Salam's, Silver Mine Subs, Simply Burgers, Slices Pizza, Subway, Taco Del Mar []


The Valley Art Theatre (operated by Harkins Theatres) is located on Mill Avenue as a comfortable single screen theatre that typically shows art house and occasionally foreign films. The current building was built in 1938, although it underwent substantial internal renovations in the 1990s. Harkins Centerpoint was located on the avenue for a long time, however, with the completion of the Tempe Marketplace, which provided a modern Harkins building, it had to close.

Mill Avenue in popular culture


* A documentary film by Nicholas Holthaus and Chris Valentine, "Mill Avenue Inc" paints a picture of Mill Avenue's past, present and possible future. [ [ Documentary "Mill Avenue Inc" Website] ( [ Condensed web version of the film] , published by Chris Valentine, one of its authors)]


* A song by Walt Richardson, "Mill Avenue" on the album Silent Artist describes the huge renovations done to Mill Ave in the 1980s to bring about its current red-brick incarnation.


* Mill Avenue is the primary setting of Kyt Dotson's similarly named book series "Mill Avenue Vexations".


See also

*Mill Avenue Bridges
*Tempe Town Lake
*Tempe, Arizona

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