Pomelo at The Orchard PHX in Central Phoenix: Happy Hour Report Card

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Each week we venture to a new restaurant to check out what the spot has to offer during our favorite time of day — happy hour. Whether it's affordable appetizers, delicious drinks, jaw-dropping deals, or none of the above, we'll check out the situation and report back.

The Spot: Pomelo
7100 North 12th Street

The Hours: Happy hour is offered in the bar and lounge area only, from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Friday. 

Perfect For: A tame get-together. An after-work happy hour, maybe a birthday celebration … but let’s be clear: No one is doing body shots of Fireball at Pomelo anytime soon.

The Interior: The interior of Pomelo is just fine – a bright, airy space populated with comfy, high-backed love seats (in the lounge) and traditional furniture in the main dining area. But it’s the exterior that will keep this place humming. Pomelo shares a courtyard with a second location of Luci’s Healthy Marketplace and Splurge, a quaint gelato spot. Collectively, the space is called the Orchard, a nod to the land’s original use as a citrus nursery, and is brought to you by the team behind the original Luci’s. Given the family-friendly vibe of the place, it’s rather brilliant they also thought to include a splash pad for the kiddos. On a warm day, you might have to elbow parents out of the way for a spot at the bar.

The Food: When it comes to food, you can tell Pomelo is still settling in since its May opening. Though our server was earnest and sweet, she had no idea what kind of meat was in our slider trio, which consisted of three mediocre burgers made from three different kinds of animals. It was not a problem for this carnivorous reporter, but those with food sensitivities would do well to ask a lot of questions here, or maybe wait to visit until the place has its act a bit more together.

That said, the hummus platter ($5) was tasty, and the chips and homemade salsa ($5) were nothing to sneeze at. The only appetizer we didn't try was the spinach dip, which was $7 during happy hour.

The Drinks: If loving a spicy Moscow Mule is wrong, then we don’t want to be right. The Pomelo Spicy Mule, with fresh lime juice and ginger beer, would have been a cocktail to reckon with anyway, but sub the usual vodka with hatch green chile vodka and you’ve found your way to a Southwesterner’s heart. The Bellissimo, made with blackberry thyme syrup, grapefruit juice, sparkling wine, and the restaurant's signature Pomelo vodka, was light and refreshing.

At $6 for each cocktail during happy hour (rather than the usual $9), we would definitely come back with friends. 

Other drink options during happy hour include $5 wine by the glass and $1 off all beers. Regular cocktails are $5, and the remaining specialty cocktails (there are five in all) are each $6 instead of the usual $9.

Conclusion: The Orchard is a friendly neighborhood spot with plenty of space for the surrounding community to gather. And though the food may not be stellar, we'll probably return to take advantage of the great space. 

Don’t Miss: Trying a specialty cocktail. The ingredients are fresh and the bartenders are knowledgable. Go ahead, ask them what a Pomelo is.
Skip This: The sliders. They had potential, but they’re not there yet. Play it safe and go for hummus.

Grade: B

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