Quick Eats: MacAlpine Restaurant in Phoenix

Odometer (Legend):  532,536

532536

Odometer (ILX):  112,778

112778

map

Let’s shift gears today (literally and figuratively) but keep our road trip right here in town.  Sometimes we are so busy looking for out-of-town travel opportunities that we forget to look for those hidden gems in our own backyards.

1938_macalpine

Back in 1929, a small pharmacy opened up on 7th Street in Phoenix, Arizona.  Technically, though, in those days even 7th Street (which today is about as “Central Phoenix” as it gets) was outside city limits.  Some 86 years later, that same location lives in a sort of time warp as a soda fountain that pays tribute to the olden days.

My friend Kevin and I are always on the hunt for unique dining opportunities, so when we were planning a catch-up meal (or ketchup meal?) we decided to check out a place that I’d passed by dozens of times but never visited:  MacAlpine’s.  It took me about 35 minutes in rush hour traffic to get from my place in Scottsdale to the small brick building at the northeast corner of 7th & Oak Streets.  I found suitable ILX parking (read: door-ding-friendly) along the south side and had about 20 minutes to kill until Kevin arrived.

mac_south_side

That worked out perfectly, since MacAlpine is joined with an antique store and there is a lot of “stuff” to browse.  I played around with a vintage TV set and record player, then thumbed through a 1958 issue of Arizona Highways magazine.  There were at least a dozen sets of antique patio furniture sitting on the sidewalk outside, so I also spent a few minutes out front watching the sun go down and the cars whiz by at 50 miles per hour on the busy 5-lane road.  Surely if I had been on that same front porch in 1929, the scene would have been quite different.

mac_sign

Kevin arrived and we seated ourselves in a booth and got comfortable.  The stools and bar date back to 1938 when the original pharmacy was first turned into a soda fountain by Fred MacAlpine. Bonus points if you can find me in the reflection in this picture!

soda_fountain

A jukebox nearby sang songs from the 40’s and 50’s while we took a minute to make our menu selections.  The menu itself was a little daunting – hundreds of flavors to choose from in creating a “custom” soda.  I ordered a lime, lemon, raspberry concoction of some sort on ice.  It was straight sugar but totally delicious.  For the main course, the meatloaf called my name.  It didn’t take very long until it came out of the kitchen piping hot with a side of mashed potatoes and steamed carrots.  I give it an A+ rating – highly recommended.  Dinner is served starting at 5 p.m. and the restaurant closes at 7, so the window is short but the rewards are worth it.

legend_sundae

My favorite item on the menu – and one that I’m determined to go back and consume – is called “The Legend.”  It’s a 10-pound ice cream sundae that sells for about $100.  Can you imagine?  It should be free to anyone who can finish it in one sitting.  For anyone visiting the Phoenix area, take the time to swing by and try out the patio furniture and the sodas.  You won’t regret it. Here are a few pictures from our short trip back in time.

kevin_tyson

Arrival heading northbound on 7th Street

mac_arrival

Vintage sign remains

mac_sign_2

Building as seen from across 7th Street

macal

Some of the bric-a-brac for sale.  I love that word because it’s fun to say.

furniture

Ice cream flavors of the day.  Sadly – I did not have the appetite after that soda & meatloaf!

ice_cream_flavors

Dining area.  It looks like a lot of clutter, because it is.

tables

Candyyyyy.  I almost picked up a box of candy cigarettes for a friend of mine.

candy

Is this the Brady Bunch set?  Nope, just furniture for sale at the antique store next to MacAlpine’s.

couches

Classic AZ Highways!

arizona_highways

Check out that meatloaf!

meatloaf

MacAlpine Restaurant:

2303 North 7th Street

Phoenix, AZ 85006

(602) 262 – 5545

Last note:  For those who were following it, the newly-redesigned 2016 ILX went on sale yesterday.  Here’s a great write-up by my buddy Steve Siler from Road & Track.  Will I be upgrading mine?  Nah, unless the stick-shift transmission option comes back.  But still – looks like a sweet ride.

16ILX

4 Responses to “Quick Eats: MacAlpine Restaurant in Phoenix”

  1. Neat place! If your road trips get any shorter, though, you’ll be reporting from your living room. 😉

    • Well now, that doesn’t sound like such a bad idea after all. Better yet, let me hire out my road tripping. Ha! You KNOW I’m getting stir-crazy from staying in town so long. Let’s see if I can quench my roadtrip thirst this Saturday or Sunday somehow.

  2. Damn, that sounds like a place I should have stopped at a few weekends ago. *sigh*

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