Ok, so not actually everybody knows my name at Carmel’s Coffee, excuse the overstatement in the title. However, in the last two weeks, since first discovering this lovely breakfast and lunch spot, I have certainly become a regular, and quite acquainted with several people from the friendly staff, including nicest guy in the block and owner Pat Flanagan. So, although you might consider this an exaggeration, I am starting to hear the Cheers theme song lyrics in my head every time I come in: “Sometimes you want to go where everybody knows your name, and they’re always glad you came.” This little coffee shop has been opened for over a year, and I’m kicking myself in the butt for not having come in earlier, especially since I live a staggering 2 minutes away. Nonetheless, I am making up for lost time rather quickly.
They say good things come in small packages, and Carmel’s is a perfect example of it. They have managed to pack wonderful coffee, great food, good art, lots of charm and warmth into a tiny little space west of 44th Street on the south side of Camelback Road. I am personally not big on coffee, although I do occasionally enjoy a cup of joe, but I wouldn’t be deemed a connoisseur, so I’m relying on the great praise I’ve heard for Carmel’s java from several coffee lovers to state they have wonderful coffee; I do happen to love tea, and they do have my favorite, passion tea, which I prefer served cold mixed with half lemonade to beat the crushing Phoenix heat. Now, when it comes to the food, you can trust my judgment there! I am a foodie thru and thru, and Carmel’s simple fresh food is so yummy and hearty, you will leave feeling comforted and satisfied. Here’s what I’ve tried from their menu so far: The Regular, which is aptly named (I’ve had it several times already!) and consists of eggs, sautéed veggies, potatoes and toast, and is now a favorite of mine and my friends who have joined me in my visits to the place; both the Banana Nutella Crêpe and French Toast Croissant, which were able to satisfy my sweet tooth without overwhelming it, although I would’ve liked my portion of the French toast to be slightly bigger, which surprised me since the portions on everything else have always been so generous; a Pot Roast sandwich on a buttermilk bun, a recent introduction to the menu, and let me tell you, I don’t eat a lot of red meat, but the beef was melt-in-your-mouth tender and so juicy and flavorful, I could have this Pot Roast any day, I could even skip the bun and go just for a bowl of the delicious beef on its own. Of course, I am planning on going back many many times, so I’m sure I’ll make my way through the whole menu eventually.
Then, when it comes to eating out, it’s always preferable to have good atmosphere to go with the good food, and I love what Pat has done with Carmel’s. The whole décor style is vintage and charming. They even have a Carmel’s retro VW bus parked outside, not sure if it actually works, but it’s so cool. I love the art he has on display on the walls right now, which it’s for sale. His idea is to support local artists and keep their art in rotation, so you never know when you’ll find great new pieces on Carmel’s walls, which I love! They also have a nice garden patio in the back, and I’m sure it will be a great place to sit and eat when the weather gets nicer.
Finally, the last thing to cover is their pricing, and no worries there, it’s all very reasonable. So, that’s it! If you live in the Phoenix area, run and try it now… actually, don’t, they are only open 6am to 3ish pm, so sorry you’ll have to wait ‘til tomorrow. If you don’t live in the Phoenix area, make sure you stop by on your next visit, and if you happen to be in my close circle of friends and family, don’t worry, you will, as it will now be a stop on the culinary tour I usually offer my out of town guests.
Here are some pictures, and don’t forget to keep me posted once you’ve tried it!
Carmel’s Coffee4225 E Camelback Rd
Phoenix, AZ 85019 (480) 251-8888 http://carmelscoffee.com/