After a work trip down to Phoenix, Mike and I went on a little hunt for new cafes to visit. Instead of sticking to what we know is wonderful, we go hunting for you. We try the good, bad, and the ugly cafes in order to get content to write and record about. A recent trip home brought us to Grinder’s Coffee right as school was letting out near by. Pizza was the word of the day. There were kids walking blindly out into the street carrying Little Caesar’s Pizza boxes and enjoying delicious slices of chess goodness. Once we made it to Grinder’s we noticed signs outside clearly communicating that the patio seating was not for pizza customers. Clearly, we had stumbled unknowingly into a terrible turf war between coffee and pizza. Caught in the middle as we tried to navigate students in the street, we desperately needed caffeine.
Location. Nestled into the Sunnyslope Village Center behind enemy lines of pizza goodness, Grinder’s is located in an outdoor strip mall with plenty of foot traffic and activity. It was on the way to freeway for us, but not the most direct route. And as we try to leave before rush hour officially hits, there was a surprisingly high volume of customers cruising for groceries, pizza, and coffee. Inside the cafe was a roaster and lots of coffee themed decor. Beans in wide variety were placed in wooden bins with glass windows. Seating was limited and eclectic.
There were lots of grinders everywhere, which I thought was a clever tip of the hat to their name. The roaster was a Diedrich, but it struck me as uncharacteristically dirty for a roster. I could be wrong, and there could be many filthy roasters out there, but the few that I’ve had the pleasure of seeing at Press, Elevate, Peixoto, and Exo were kept clean. maybe there’s strong commitment to ‘seasoning’ here, or maybe I’m just wrong. But Rich at Prescott Coffee also kept his machine clean.
Service. The service was very good. The barista was knowledgable about the products she was selling and serving, if not about coffee in general. She was very friendly, and handled the long line of people that swarmed her very well. Since it was a hot Phoenix afternoon, we asked for her recommendations for something cold to drink and we settled on something blended, iced, and refreshing. Her chosen attire also pleaded longingly to be covered with a uniform. I’m all for expression at work and casual work days, but I think there something to be said for modesty inside a cafe. Maybe I’m just old fashioned, but there are bikini bars in Phoenix for folks that want a little ‘show’ with their ‘go’ of caffeinated beverages. Again, maybe it’s just me.
Coffee. The coffee as a solid second wave attempt at delivering espresso based beverages. It was decent. There were no pour over options available, and the gourmet coffee came only from the batch brewer. No biggie. It was hot out and we likely weren’t going to chase Blueberries to the Face in here anyways.
Conclusion. We won’t be back and won’t be missed. There are plenty of pizza eating kids to keep filling the eclectic Grinder’s Coffee house up. I don’t recommend it. But if you’re in the area already, it’s worth a stop for the decor inside. And while you’re there, my eyes are up here.