BEST STRIP MALL Phoenix 2005 - La Grande Orange
Anyone who laments Phoenix as a minefield of strip malls needs to head straight to the southwest corner of 40th Street and Campbell Avenue, to see what Kris and Craig DeMarco have done. Sure, they had a big shell of a former post office, which is now the wine bar Postino, but they also spearheaded the groovy makeover of the strip mall that fronts Postino with the corner market La Grande Orange. There's no hint of the grungy convenience store that stood in that spot for years; now you can get everything from fresh flowers to freshly baked English muffins at the Big O, as the locals call it. Next door, LGO serves its signature pizza, and a few feet down, Tammie Coe bakes her beautiful cakes and Paper Joy cranks out wonderful invites.
This corner is testament to what a few creative minds -- and more than a few well-placed dollars -- can do.