According to some sources, frybread was a result of the “Long Walk” in 1864, in which the United States government forced Navajo peoples living in modern-day Arizona to march 300 miles to eastern New Mexico. Unable to feed themselves in unfamiliar terrain, the Navajo starved until the government shipped rations of flour, salt, and lard—the primary ingredients in frybread. While it’s simply salted dough fried in oil, frybread today occupies a place of great—if not, complicated—significance in indigenous food culture, one you can taste for yourself at a roadside eatery just outside of Scottsdale.
The Stand places frybread at the heart of its menu. This handmade stand constructed from arrowroot and cactus ribs serves rich, homemade toppings on frybread that’s always made to order. Visitors can select from red chili, green chili, or “Christmas-style”—a combination of both—as well as “Indian tacos” (beans, hamburger meat, cheese, lettuce, tomato, and onions), bean & cheese tacos, or menudo (beef tripe). On the sweet side, The Stand offers frybread topped with honey and powdered sugar as well as a colorful strawberry jello poke cake (a fluffy sponge cake with swirls of strawberry jello and whipped cream).
Located within the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community, this quaint eatery has a grassroots following among those living on the reservation as well as Phoenix-area eaters in-the-know. On a given day, other local vendors may be selling lemonade, popcorn, blankets, or jewelry from neighboring stands.
In keeping with the rustic theme, The Stand is cash-only and offers no bathroom on the premises. The only “seats” to speak of are stumps placed in the shade of a nearby tree, but diners are invited to bring their own seating if they wish.