Walking through Roosevelt Row, you can feel the presence of an emerging culture. A culture that makes small businesses thrive in Phoenix. Local art and music enthusiasts pound the concrete sidewalks, which were poured before Arizona officially became the 48th State, to seek out the unique art displayed across the alleys and store fronts that enchant the neighborhood. Welcome Diner is cozily nestled amongst the boarded-up buildings and formerly rundown houses, where funky art galleries and hip studios have taken over.
The scratch menu is produced inside a 1940’s Valentine Diner, a now permanent structure that feels like a part of history. These mobile restaurants were pumped out in mass quantities and shipped to aspiring entrepreneurs, pre-outfitted with pinstriped booths and cheap silverware. They still sell these relics and I would love nothing more than to partner up with a local chef and create some free-hand foodie inspiration of our own. Truly inspired.
Welcome Diner hung out on the side of Route 66 near Winslow, Arizona before dropping anchor at its new home off of 10th Street and Roosevelt. Chef Michael Babcock and his operating partner Jenn Robinson joined the team a few years ago and have been serving up southern swag ever since. They combine ingredients like Crooked Sky farm fresh tomatoes, John Anthony’s local bread, and Superstition farm cheese on their sandwiches. Maryal and I sank our hungry mouths into the grilled cheese and fried green tomato. The made-from-scratch biscuits are carefully doused in local honey and heaping with meats like fried chicken, Kiltlifter braised pork, and spicy chorizo. You gotta check out the “Big Jim” - fried chicken, gravy, and bacon. Damn. The cocktail game is strong as well. Bourbon is the main ingredient across the menu and it's crafted with fun ingredients like house-made ginger beer, herbs and fresh squeezed juices.
We got the backstory on the place from the cashier, who kept busy simultaneously calling out orders and prepping vegetable mis en place that would later replenish some item on the classic diner menu. We decided to grab an iced cold Mexican Coca-Cola, chill out on the vintage, drifter style patio and dig our heels in the dirt. Thanks WD for an epic afternoon and a trip back in time.