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November, 2012, Page 167
Photos by David Moore
Pint-sized and popular, this repurposed coffee kiosk could signal the emergence of a new culinary hot zone.
32Shea is the restaurant equivalent of a Smart Car – almost absurdly pint-sized but undeniably cute. About the size of a large moving van, the freestanding former coffee kiosk is located in the restaurant-poor area of, yes, 32nd Street and Shea. To say the neighbors have enthusiastically embraced it would be an understatement.
And why not? Opening early and closing late, 32 Shea is equally appealing as coffee house, cocktail lounge and restaurant. The patio is tidy and comfortable, augmenting a miniscule floorplan that seats about 20 between the bar and tables. There’s a drive-thru for rush-eaters, and it’s dog-friendly.
The coffee legacy left by the previous tenant remains strong. There are always patrons hunched over laptops sipping the excellent lattes, cappuccinos and iced chai. A more convivial group gathers for cocktails – happy hour is liberally in effect from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. Get smashed with the smashing mint lemon drop martini and jalapeño margarita ($10 and $8; both $6 during happy hour).
turkey cranberry sandwich
Due no doubt to kitchen size, food production is more about assembling than actual cooking. Flabby, seemingly unseasoned eggs mar the breakfast croissant, burrito and sandwich ($4.50). When I commented, a server said the eggs were pre-made and reheated.
Eggs aside, lunch sandwiches (all $7.25) rock. Constructed on excellent ciabatta and stuffed with primo ingredients, favorites include the OMG with mascarpone, figs and prosciutto; juicy roast beef layered with creamy muenster cheese and cut with sharp horseradish sauce; and a Thanksgiving-worthy turkey and cranberry. My Caprese sandwich would have benefitted from ripe tomatoes (as would the Caprese salad at $6.50). Generous chopped and chicken raspberry salads are built on mesclun mix, and are a bargain at $7.50.
The same salads and a few sandwiches are offered at dinner along with snacks like a voluptuous artichoke and spinach dip ($7.50), quality cheese and antipasto plates ($10.95), a choice of bruschettas ($10.95), roast beef sliders (four for $8.95) and a refreshing shrimp with mango salsa cocktail ($9.50). One entrée ($11.95) and one lavosh pizza ($9.95) are offered each night. It’s hit-or-miss – a terrific chicken enchilada on one evening was canceled out by dry and flavorless penne and sausage on another. Likewise, the brie, apple and prosciutto lavosh soared, while tomato, cheese and basil left something to be desired.
32 Shea makes the most of its little size, and its popularity should signal that the area could support other local restaurant ventures, too. Bring ’em on.
inside 32 Shea
: 10626 N. 32nd St., Phoenix
: 6 a.m.-10 p.m. Monday-Thursday, 6 a.m.-11 p.m. Friday, 7 a.m.-11 p.m. Saturday, 7 a.m.-2 p.m. Sunday
: OMG sandwich ($7.25); roast beef sandwich ($7.25); turkey cranberry sandwich ($7.25); chop salad ($7.50); chicken raspberry salad ($7.50); artichoke-spinach dip ($7.50); cheese and antipasto plates ($10.95);
bruschetta ($10.95); roast beef sliders ($8.95); mango shrimp ($9.50)
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