The Refuge Café – Helping the Community One Cup at a Time
The Place: The Refuge Café
The Location: 4727 N. 7th Avenue, Phoenix
The Dish: Veggie Wrap, Tomato Basil Bruschetta, Hummus Plate (1/2 order)
By: Tyler Peckham
Nestled among vintage and antique shops in midtown Phoenix sits the Refuge Café. The interior décor is simple and leaves much to the imagination, but diners will see the love and community support this restaurant offers in every crevice. Along with board games, books, communal water station, and a pop-up shop sit a plethora of pamphlets and posters advertising local events, religious and otherwise. And though the café is a funding opportunity for Catholic nonprofit organizations, the Refuge is not alienating in any way.
The café is a coffee shop by day and a wine bar by night—one of The Arizona Republic’s Top 20 wine bars, in fact. The menu offers great deals on wine bottles, creative takes on classic cocktails, and a full menu, offering breakfast and lunch (a smaller breakfast menu is available all day).
I started my meal with the half order of house-made lemon parsley hummus, accompanied by herb flatbread ($5). The hummus was rich and flavorful, with the perfect amount of finishing oil to keep the dish from drying out. Next up was the tomato basil bruschetta—which tasted amazingly similar to the bruschetta my mother makes for parties at home ($3.50). The pesto was a strong green color with plenty of basil and garlic, and the crunchy toasted bread was topped with a ripe red tomato, crumbled goat cheese and a balsamic vinaigrette drizzle. I would come back to the Refuge just for this bruschetta.
The veggie wrap ($10) and all other sandwiches on the menu come with a choice of corn chips and salsa, side salad or soup. I chose the soup of the day (green chili), but the manager suggested the chips and house-made salsa, a staple at the Refuge Café. The wrap itself was filled with roasted zucchini, pesto, spring mix and goat cheese, wrapped in a pressed flour tortilla. The wrap was delicious, but the salsa was dynamite; both red and green varieties packing a subtle kick of spice.
Not only does the Refuge Cafe offer great food, but it also benefits the less fortunate in our community. The café is currently building a roasting house at a transitionary home for veterans, where they can learn the trade of roasting coffee while they get back on their feet. I would definitely suggest spending some time, whether for a morning cup of Joe or a full meal, at the Refuge Café.
The Refuge Café is open 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. The Café features happy hour from 3 p.m. to Close on weekdays and all day on weekends.