Phoenix's warehouse district has a new restaurant that serves the three most important meals of the day: breakfast, lunch, and happy hour.
The Lawrence Building, next door to ASU Studio, was recently transformed into Galvanize, a startup incubator and shared office space. Conceptually Social, the restaurant group that brought The Dressing Room and Be Coffee to Roosevelt Row, saw an opportunity to open next door to Galvanize. The group's newest restaurant, The Larry, caters to Galvanize’s well-dressed tech workers and the downtown crowds.
The Larry looks industrial, similar to The Dressing Room and Be Coffee, but far more open. The space utilizes the tall ceilings and exposed brick of the historic Lawrence building. The Larry seats 55 inside and 45 outside on an 800-square-foot patio that offers a surprisingly charming view of the skyline, making Phoenix feel a little less sprawling.
The restaurant aims to serve high-quality breakfast, lunch, and happy hour with a full coffee and cocktail bar. There’s a to-go case next to the coffee-bar with a wide ranging, revolving selection of items like fresh deli sandwiches, salads, and sushi. The Larry also has wood-fired pizza.
“We saw a neighborhood that was starving for options, both morning coffee, lunch in the afternoon ... but also [have] the ability to have a cool bar that place that people would want to entertain and maybe do business meetings and afternoon relax, grab a cocktail, and talk business to hang out and watch the game,” said co-owner Kyu Utsonomiya.
The Larry features a menu that consciously offers a little something for everyone, with vegan, vegetarian, and gluten-free options plentiful. Utsunomiya and his fellow co-owner, Troy Watkins, plan to keep the menu dynamic, with rotating options and regular specials.
The Larry has a menu that’s short and fun. It’s a place where chef Luis Arellano stuffs one breakfast burrito with chicharrones, another with chilaquiles. It’s a place where you can get Korean fried chicken or mac and cheese bites with jalapeno aioli, a veggie burger or a soba noodle salad.
Conceptually Social started with restaurants and expanded into catering. It caters social and corporate events, and has even expanded into catering for tech companies and other businesses downtown. Its 3,700-square-foot catering kitchen down the street from the Larry has three sushi chefs. The catering kitchen will be providing the sushi for the to-go selections at the Larry, as well as some deli sandwiches and grab-and-go offerings.
“I see it every day when I'm over there with my business partner,” Utsunomiya says. “We're going through the construction of The Larry and we're hungry and we don't have a restaurant here. [...] That just reinforced our commitment to the neighborhood.”
Breakfast options range from stuffed French toast and burritos to lighter, on-the-go options. Lunch varies widely and centers around soup, bowls, and sandwiches. There’s bahn mi, grain bowls, a patty melt, a chilaquiles burrito, and specials.
The food is flavorful. The veggie burger, for example, is a spicy blend of cauliflower and quinoa, with pepperjack cheese oozing over the robust patty. There are two sauces, one spread on either bun. Every bite brought out the burger’s chipotle aioli, pistachio, and basil in varying degrees.
The coffee bar experience will be in line with Be Coffee: crafted espresso drinks, cold brew, and pour-overs. The two owners will constantly seek new beans and roasters to try.
Larry’s Happy Hour could be the best thing to happen to the warehouse district in quite some time. During Happy Hour, select craft cocktails will be just $5.
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And we’re not talking basic simple syrup margaritas. The Larry is serving craft cocktails like the Hemingway-ish – a blend of aged rum, absinthe, and house-made grapefruit soda – or the B’s Please, which combines fennel-pollen-infused gin, golden beets, grapefruit, lemon, and honey. Bartenders here are infusing, dehydrating, and making sodas for cocktail purposes. The Larry has a list of seven or eight specialty cocktails to choose from, and eight beers on tap.
Happy Hour features a selection of specialty drinks for $5, along with wine and beer also priced at $5. The goal? To provide good food at modest prices that fit the budgets of bootstrapped entrepreneurs and other downtown folks who love to eat and drink.
The Larry. 515 East Grant Street, #100. 602-432-0752.
Monday to Friday 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Saturday 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.; closed Sunday.