A “Grand” Place for Food and Fun

The Place: The Grand
The Location: 718 N. Central Ave. Phoenix
The Hours: 24/7
The Dish: Mac & Cheese Burger and an Acai Caipirinha
By: Jessica Cowan

Located in the ever-trending bar scene in Downtown Phoenix is The Grand, a one-stop-coffeeshop for everything a student could need; from delectable pastries, to double shots of espresso, to classic menu items with a unique twist. With two floors dedicated to study time and a covered patio for hanging out, The Grand is a trendy haven for students and downtowners alike.

This coffeehouse café is modeled after a Victorian train station, complete with industrial signs, clock décor, and tables made to look like gears and cogs. It feels like a taste of the famous Grand Central Station in New York City, but without the abundance of rushed commuters. With the lack of televisions and plenty of freedom for that old-school connection with friends, The Grand is the perfect place to settle in, stay a while, and enjoy the wide variety of coffee and specialty drinks.

Ordering food, coffee, and pastries can be done at the counter, while the bar is reserved for those looking for something stronger. The Grand offers everything from draft beers to the 1920s classic French 75. During our visit, we had to try the Acai Caipirinha ($9), a strong, Brazilian drink made from rum, acai liquor, lime, and – the best part – fresh blackberries. If you aren’t looking for a cocktail, never fear – there is an extensive list of local and domestic bottled beers to choose from, as well as several options on draft.

This 24/7 cafe offers breakfast, brunch, and a main menu with items like salads, soups, and sandwiches. We were immediately intrigued by the Mac & Cheese Burger ($9.50), and when it arrived, we were pleasantly surprised by the juxtaposition of classic and quirky ingredients; including a thick, juicy patty with mayo, lettuce, tomatoes, fusilli pasta, and…Hot Cheetos? This funky twist on a classic burger hit the spot; the fusilli had the traditional taste of feel-good macaroni and cheese, but the Hot Cheetos gave it a satisfying crunch and just a hint of spice. The burger was delicious and messy; perfect for anyone looking to unabashedly enjoy their food. We finished our meal off with a medium London Fog, a lavender Earl Grey tea with vanilla ($4.75), and a warm, gooey cinnamon roll ($4) – a must-have!

If you enjoy a bit more action on your Friday and Saturday nights, The Grand has a speakeasy tucked away upstairs. Sanctum at the Grand is open from 9:00 p.m. to midnight on Fridays and Saturdays and is available for rent for $450-$850, depending on the day you need it. All they ask is that you “enter with an open mind and a willingness to expand your cultural awareness,” according to a sign posted on the Sanctum door.

So, the next time you find yourself near McKinley and Central in downtown, stop by The Grand. You’re sure to enjoy the coffee, cocktails, and Cheetos!

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