5 Fun Locales Where Food & Retail Mix
Which came first — the market or the restaurant? You can ponder that question for hours while you enjoy these five unique hybrid local establishments, where you can get good eats and shop for everything from wine and grab-and-go gourmet food to yoga pants and scented candles.
At DeFalco’s Italian Eatery, Grocery & Deli in Scottsdale, racks and racks of wine, pasta, sauces, olives, chocolates, coffee, and more separate the deli cases and order counter from the indoor dining area, enveloping you in all things to do with Italian food. Founded in 1972 by Judith and Jerry DeFalco, the business is now run by their son, Anthony, who has maintained the housemade, family-recipe approach to the food while updating the grocery items with hundreds of wine choices and loads of gourmet Italian ingredients you won’t find elsewhere (canned scungilli, anyone?). Regulars—some of whom have been customers for 40 years—keep returning for sandwiches like the prosciutto-and-mozzarella-stuffed Il Purista; the Italian sausage with peppers, onions, and melted Provolone that the Food Network’s Guy Fieri put on the map; penne alla vodka; or the soppressata-laden Centurion pizza. Need something for your own meal prep? Try the housemade sausages, sauces, or imported cheeses, then decide whether you want the tagliolini, tortiglioni, or tubetti pasta and weigh the merits of cannoli, tiramisu, or sfogliatella pastries for dessert. You can even call in an order (from the menu or the grocery) for curbside pickup.
Stop by La Grande Orange Grocery & Pizzeria in the morning, and you’ll see neighborhood folk out for a family breakfast or road cyclists rewarding a 20-miler with cappuccinos. At lunch, business types grab sandwiches and salads; after dark, date-night couples snuggle over wine and pizza. All-day long, shoppers roam the selection of curated gifts, including everything from cuddly kids’ toys to hand-poured candles. Since opening in 2002, the Phoenix grocery/restaurant/marketplace/pizzeria/coffee shop/bakery has transformed a once-sleepy strip mall into the ultimate Arcadia neighborhood hangout. There’s a lot to take in during a first visit—an outdoor java garden for an early morning jolt, shelves filled with everything from wines to books on astrology, and the deli counter, where you can order a signature guacamole BLT sandwich and a red velvet cupcake (said to be a favorite of the late Muhammad Ali). There’s also the pizzeria, where a vegan version with cashew cheese stars on the menu, and, next door, the Cake Shop, which offers party supplies and dazzling special-event cakes. Plan on returning more than once.
In Scottsdale’s McCormick Ranch neighborhood, Luci’s at the Grove has an old-school ambiance, with a checkerboard floor, vintage advertising murals, striped awnings on the windows, and a shady patio. But make no mistake — this restaurant and marketplace is thoroughly modern. You can get an acai superfood bowl for breakfast, order a craft beer with your grass-fed beef burger for lunch or dinner, and shop for scented candles, a bottle of wine, teas from India, or a pair of slimming yoga pants. The concept’s flagship location, Luci’s Healthy Marketplace, has been open since 2009 in north-central Phoenix, founded by Lucia and Ken Schnitzer. They added counter service for casual dining and more retail items before opening a second location—Luci’s at the Orchard, also in Phoenix—in 2016. The Scottsdale locale opened in 2019 and is already proving to be popular, morning to night, from coffee to cocktails. Be sure to try the refreshing green tea, steeped with orange peels and pomegranate, and snap up a fun gift for that friend or family member who already has everything—you’ll find something for them here.
In 2005, Detroit transplants Brenda and Perry Rea bought 100 acres of land in Queen Creek, planted some olive trees, and processed the fruit into oil inside a rustic warehouse. Today, Queen Creek Olive Mill has become a major player in the local food scene, producing fine olive oils from three different Arizona groves and expanding their operation to become a center of what they call “oliotourism,” with a retail shop, counter-service restaurant, events, and educational Olive Oil 101 tours of the mill. They also have a small retail location in Scottsdale. You can easily while away part of a day at the mill, set in the midst of an olive grove, citrus orchard, and farm. Take a tour to learn about the history and process of making oil, then grab a meal—maybe some olive oil waffles or the signature kalamata sandwich—along with a glass of wine and some gelato. Afterward, browse their vast collection of oils and housemade balsamic vinegars before you buy, or wander the aisles to peruse their 200-plus products, like food offerings, cruets, cookbooks, and olive oil soaps, lotions, and balms. You’ll also find food items by other Arizona producers. No room in the suitcase? They ship.
Martie Sullivan’s background was in marketing, catering, and teaching restaurant management when she took a leap of faith and opened Sweet Basil Gourmetware & Cooking School in a central Scottsdale shopping center in 1993, offering tableware and culinary equipment—plus a hands-on cooking school. Closing in on nearly three decades later, the neighborhood shop is still a foodie magnet, particularly with the more recent addition of a lunch-serving café. Sign up for one of a dozen or so weekly cooking classes—either in person or virtual—where professional chefs will teach you about everything from cooking with chocolate to creating an entire gourmet dinner (yes, you eat what you make). Got kids? Register them for youth-friendly summer cooking classes. After an on-site class, wander the retail aisles to snap up a paella pan or a mandoline. Kitchen gadgets, cookware, cookbooks, and serving pieces abound, while the air is fragrant with the scent of bulk coffee, spices, and mixes. Hungry? Grab a slice of spinach and bacon quiche and a piece of the chocolate olive oil cake. You can sit on the patio or at a table amid the retail offerings, where you’ll likely be contemplating new place mats or one of those spiralizers that make noodles out of vegetables.
Nora Burba Trulsson is a Scottsdale-based freelance writer specializing in dining, lifestyle, and design topics who would never pass up a meal in the name of “research.”