After being away from Phoenix for a few years (grad school, stint in NYC, etc.), I returned to my beloved Arcadia section of Phoenix and found that not much had changed. Okay, the 7-11 at 36th Street and Indian School Road was now a Domino's Pizza, but beyond that it was pretty much the same as when I left.
But over the past year or so, there have been some great things happening on the restaurant scene. One of the hottest places in the district is La Grande Orange at 40th Street and Campbell where people are parking a half-mile away and walking because parking is poor. One of the other hot spots was where I enjoyed a fantastic lunch.
Delux is a very small, stylish, NYC-like restaurant in the Safeway strip mall at 32nd Street and Camelback. It focuses on sandwiches, salads, desserts and a whole lot of drinks. The place is hard to miss, but when you see the Safeway, look a few doors over to your right and you will see the silver Delux sign.
I made my way into Delux and had several options for seating. I could wait for a private table, sit outside immediately, sit at the communal table in the middle of the restaurant immediately, or sit at the bar one another patron had departed. Clearly, Delux provides seating for every taste. I was hungry and don't mind meeting strangers, so I sat at the communal table next to two gentlemen enjoying their salads.
In short order, I was asked for my drink choices. Delux has about 30 different beers to choose from, but it was ridiculously hot outside and I wanted something non-alcoholic, so I went for my standard Diet Coke. I reviewed the menu and instantly saw what I wanted.
My server returned with the drink and I placed my order: The Delux Burger ($9.00) and a half order of the half & half fries ($3.00). The server departed and I noticed the clientel was a great mixture of everything from window shoppers to suits to skateboarders. The restaurant is decorated rather minimalistically with a few pieces of photography art and some fabric decorations. Tables and chairs are metal through and through.
The kitchen sits at the back of the restaurant and you can see everything that is going on. The staff does a great job of covering for each other and my glass of water and my glass of Diet Coke were never allowed to be emptied.
My burger arrived and the scent was intoxicating. On a fresh demi baguette sat a good sized patty of fresh ground beef. Piled on the beef was a mixture of maytag and gruyere cheese followed by two thick strips of smoked bacon. Rounding out the sandwich was layered arugula and carmalized onions. One bite and I was in heaven. This burger is in the top 10 of best burger I have ever had. It was perfect, and when I ordered it medium, it came medium.
Accompanying the burger was my side dish of half & half fries that was a mixture of french fries and sweet potato fries. I tried each individually. Both were crispy on the outside and hot and soft on the inside. The seasoning was excellent, but those who don't like seasoning on their fries past salt should mention that to the server. The fries came with two sauces for dipping: ketchup and something resembling Thousand Island dressing sans the pickles. Both were very good, and I had a feeling that the ketchup was homemade.
I sat and gobbled my food, but also inquired from the two business men next to me about their salads. Both said Delux serves outstanding salads and that they eat at Delux at least once a week. I did notice several salads going by as they were being served and these were pretty good sized with a mound of organic greens and veggies served in a deep bowl.
I finished my meal and flagged the waitress down for my bill. The total, including tax, was $15.13. The price is not for the faint of heart, but when I considered the fact that this is top shelf fare and it is in the Arcardia/Biltmore district hub, prices are not going to be cheap. Overall, it was expensive for lunch, but I would certainly return to Delux.
If I had one complaint, it would be the noise level. The place is hopping from open to close (they are open until 2 AM every night) and the noise is a bit maddening, but you do get use to it fairly quickly.
But the best part of Delux is that it is all of 15 feet away from my other find in East Phoenix - The Gelato Spot.
3146 East Camelback Road
Phoenix, AZ 85016
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