Grand Dining and Libations in Downtown Phoenix
Last month I toured The Grand in downtown Phoenix with owner Steven Rogers and learned about his vision for this amazing venue. Open 24/7, it is a coffee shop, restaurant, bar, market, and entertainment space. Click on the photo below for Part I to learn how he created The Grand's eclectic style with Harry Potter and train stations in mind.
This week, follow along as I explore the menu and learn more about the beverage program.
Rogers has created warm and welcoming spaces to pull up a seat and sip and savor, including an expansive patio inspired by German biergartens and an inviting interior anchored by a curvilinear bar and coffee counter.
Also known as the Grand Central Coffee Company, the coffee bar within is open 24 hours and offers a variety of pastries, cakes and cookies, along with tea and coffee beverages including cold brews, cappucinos, macchiatos, and cortados.
The kitchen is open around the clock, and Chef Jacquelynn Allen discovered her culinary talent at a young age. "I grew up with a single parent, my dad, who worked late, and so at 8 years old, I would watch cooking shows, get into the kitchen and start experimenting," she shares. Her cooking philosophy is rooted in ingredient-driven dishes with lots of flavor. "I would say it's based on Italian food, cooking with rustic and simple ingredients that make a masterpiece. I was always enthralled with that, so that's where my inspiration comes from." Read through The Grand's menu, and you'll see soups, salads, sandwiches, snack plates, entrees, and daily specials. "We want to make sure that we have something for everybody. Our Hound Dog Press [a pressed sandwich with bacon, peanut butter, banana, and honey] is sweet and savory and inspired by Elvis. And our buffalo caulifower was created for vegetarians, but a lot of meat-eaters get that as well."
A must-order, the addictive Avocado Fries are lightly cloaked in a tempura batter and served with a spicy habañero ranch.
The Buffalo Cauliflower is another best-seller and it's easy to see why. A battered cauliflower steak is doused in buffalo sauce and layered with carrot ribbons, cucumber slices, and blue cheese dressing on an airy brioche bun.
The Kale and Blackberry Salad is a fresh and colorful combination complemented by roasted eggplant, red onion, toasted hazelnuts, and lentils tossed in a honey vinaigrette. "I normally don't like fish but this is my favorite," Chef Allen says of the Fish Naan'Boy. Order this, and you'll find a round of puffy naan slathered with Cajun aioli and folded around crispy tilapia garnished with cabbage slaw, diced tomatoes, and crumbles of tangy cotija cheese. "We used to serve it as a po'boy on a baguette, but I like the naan a lot better," she explains.
Stop by for breakfast from 5 a.m. to 3 p.m. daily and enjoy morning favorites such as a Market Scramble with goat cheese and seasonal vegetables; egg, bacon, and cheddar biscuit sandwiches; quinoa oatmeal with dried cherries, flax meal, and maple syrup; cinnamon buns with bacon-maple glaze; or avocado toast with a chunky smash of avocado on Noble Bread topped with sliced hardboiled eggs and nutty sunflower sprouts.
Brunch dishes available Saturday through Monday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. include crowd-pleasers such as a Marinara Egg Bake with fresh tomato sauce, herbed potatoes, grated pecorino-romano cheese, and a side of toast for dipping, or Short Rib Eggs Benedict with red wine-braised short ribs shredded and stacked on toasted Noble Bread and topped with poached eggs and hollandaise.
The main menu is served 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., with a limited late-night selection available from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. Night owls won't be missing out, however. A 10-item menu shows breakfast scrambles, sandwiches (including the popular Hound Dog Press and Buffalo Cauliflower), burgers, short rib poutine, house fries, and mac 'n cheese. Tip: Order the rotating "Mac of the Moment" which on a recent visit was a deliciously satisfying bowl of creamy penne pasta studded with chunks of smoky bacon and crowned with shredded brussels sprouts and a fried egg.
To wash all this down, there is wine (red, white and bubbly) and a 25 craft beer selection."I had to put in a new walk-in just for the beer," Rogers notes.
Your cold beer of choice will be especially good paired with the juicy Grand Burger made with ground short rib and topped with melted white cheddar, arugula, tomato, and bacon-shallot gastrique.
"I'm really involved with the cocktails," says Rogers, who in a former life was bar manager at the renowned celebrity haunt Mr. Chow's in New York City.
At The Grand, you can sip on timeless libations such as some personal favorites, a Negroni or Death in the Afternoon (Rogers is an absinthe aficianado), or explore modern classics like the refreshing Strawberry-Basil Margarita with reposado tequila, and the Strange Brew, a Death and Company creation. "This one is interesting because it's made with gin, IPA beer, and pineaple juice, which you would never think goes together, but it's really good." I agree - it's a perfect warm-weather Phoenix sipper.
The Grand is located at 718 N Central Ave, Phoenix, AZ 85004 and open 24 hours, seven days a week. Hours: Coffee 24 hours. Bar 6 a.m. to 2 a.m. Breakfast 5 a.m. to 3 p.m. Main menu 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. and late night 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. The Grand also has a happy hour 7 days a week, from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. and reverse happy hour 10 pm to 2 a.m. Sunday through Thursday offering $4 craft beers, glasses of wine, and well drinks, and $3 for all craft cans.