Lux Central Is a Hub of Hipsterdom -- So, Did I Miss Something?

Categories: First Taste

Luxmacncheese2.jpg
Mac 'n' cheese with bacon and jalapeños.
When a new spot opens in town, we can't wait to check it out -- and let you know our initial impressions. Share a few photos, some menu items. First Taste, as the name implies, is not a full-blown review, but instead a peek inside restaurants that have just opened, sampling a few items, and satisfying curiosities (yours and ours).

LuxExterior.jpg
On the outside lookin' in.
Restaurant: Lux Central
Location: 4400 North Central Avenue
Open for: A little over three months
Eats: Coffee, booze, and comfort food
Price Point: $5-$15

Some time ago, Jeff Fischer, owner of Lux Coffeebar, decided to embark on a new concept for his popular neighborhood coffee house in Central Phoenix. With a desire for more space and new ideas, Fischer bought the former clothing store just south of the original location late last year and went to work on a new vision. That vision became a reality a little over three months ago, and Fischer called it Lux Central, a "grown-up version of Lux."

Able to hold twice as many people as the original, Lux Central -- in addition to serving up caffeinated concoctions and baked goods -- boasts expanded hours, wine, beer, and handcrafted cocktails, as well as a small and ever-changing menu of familiar breakfast, lunch, and dinner items in an atmosphere Fischer says is both home and community.

It certainly was hoppin' when I popped in for a visit -- hoppin' with hipsters!

LuxInterior.jpg
The scene at Lux Central.
​For a first-time visitor to Lux Central, the experience upon entering the unmarked concrete building can be jarring. The room is bright, the electronica booming, and weaving one's way through rooms of funky and reclaimed furniture, such eclectic items as vintage typewriters and burlap sacks, and dressed-to-impress people drinking coffee, chatting with friends, and doing whatever it is they do on their laptops (Mac only, of course), can be tricky. My first thought was: People eat here?

LuxRisotto.jpg
Roasted acorn squash risotto with local farm vegetables.
Ordering proved to be challenging, as well. A line of java-entranced young people obscured the small menu attached to a glass partition, prompting me to make my dinner decision lickety-split, so as not to keep those behind me waiting. Counter service was curt, and there seemed an overall expectation from the staff that my dining partner and I should know the drill, as well as the details ("Why are you using those napkins? If you want water, it's over there.")

Contrasting the bright and noisy atmosphere, Lux Central's comfort food served up on vintage plates feels like it came right from Grandma's kitchen. The roasted acorn squash risotto with Brussels sprout leaves and sweet dates was pleasantly flavorful and better than the over-salted grilled pork and overcooked wild rice. But the mac 'n' cheese proved to be the star of the show.

LuxPork.jpg
Grilled pork loin with cherry compote, wild rice, and spigariello (Italian broccoli.)
​Gooey and packed with bacon and jalapeños that weren't shy about making themselves known in every bite, it was easily one of the best I've had in the Valley. I wanted to savor it, but unfortunately, with the pulsating beats, bright lights, and being muscled out of my eating space by a row of vintage typewriters, I ate hurriedly and washed my not-cheap dinner down with a tiny plastic cup of ice water. Next time it shows up on the menu, I'm getting it to go and parking my non-hipster caboose down on one of the picnic tables at Pane Bianco next door.

Jeff Fischer's new Lux certainly seems to be popular with fashionable young folk, but when it comes to eating, the fare doesn't seem to jibe with the scene. So, did I miss something?

What say you, hungry coffee house dwellers? Have you eaten at Lux Central yet? What did you think?

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Location Info

Lux Coffeebar

4402 N. Central Ave., Phoenix, AZ

Category: General

My Voice Nation Help
17 comments
es
es

Way to contribute to the world of biased journalism and unjustified criticism.

Slade Grove
Slade Grove

I have to chime in on Lux. Ya know.. yes the music is a little loud at times (I just ask them to turn it down a bit) and why in the world would they have the creepy DJ guy with headphones cocked on his head at 10AM on Saturday morning blocking part of the hallway is beyond my me. Oh and yes, the food is a little over priced for the small portions, but honestly, the coffee is good and I've always been greeted with a smile when they take my order and they make you feel welcome. You don't get that welcome feeling at Starbucks and some of the local coffee shops act like you're bothering them by coming in and ordering an iced latte.

Zoemary
Zoemary

I have been to the new Lux once and never went back.  The music was too loud to get any work done and the lady who took my coffee order was very rude. Yes, she played the hipster/urban sheek part, however I am from the NW (Portland/Seattle) which is the meca of small coffee shop/grunge/urban sheek so I was unimpressed with her trying too hard style.  Shame on you Lux for having the vibe of too cool to be kind, thoughtful and helpful to customers.  I miss the small vibe of the old Lux.  Good business is centered around the quality of employees and high expectations. Not whether the employees look like they match the atmosphere.

May I help pull the plug?
May I help pull the plug?

 I can't help but snicker at the cyber-Bohemian set: I look into their congregations imagining them all going socially catatonic the instant after some big solar flare cuts-off the intraveinous intelligence flow of their iphones and Macs. Talk about a major disconnect.     

Mike Todd
Mike Todd

I hear you about those rude typewriters. The milk pitchers are also major bitches.

Sharon
Sharon

I'm well over the hipster age but actually enjoyed my dinner at Lux. Yes, the music is blaring and certainly not "my" music so we asked the waitress if they could change the tunes and they did. We asked if they could turn it down. And they did. See how easy that was! Love the look of the place. Loved my meal. Had a personable waitress who was attentive despite the level of activity around us. The place is alive with people. I loved it. Didn't have dessert but saw a layer cake that will bring me back for sure. Not the place for a romantic dinner or quiet contemplation but there is always the patio or the back room if what you're after is a more subdued experience--not a quiet experience but more subdued than the main room.

Kimberli9
Kimberli9

 Same attitude, different building.  Snore.  No food is that good and there are lots of other "local man" establishments.

Lauren
Lauren

Good to know the food is good enough to justify feeling dumb as you try to discern the menu! That's what's kept me from ordering when I've stopped in. 

AMarsh
AMarsh

I loved your review! I haven't gone yet... As I'm well aware of the scene that Lux Coffeebar was. Now, knowing that the food is decent, I'll definitely give it a try. As far the annoyed reader, environment adds to the overall dining/drinking experience. And if everyone is wearing plaid Ben Wyatt clothes and listening to the likes of Foster the People and such, it can affect the experience postively or negaitvely for a customer. So yes, hipster or not, I would want to know.

Vicelord
Vicelord

I just read it a second time, you're basing your opinion of a restaurant on it's clientele, who you seem to have some hatred toward (I am the furthest from a hipster as they come.)

Easily the most biased and worst piece of "journalism" I've ever read.

Vicelord
Vicelord

Wait, so you're saying positive things about the food, and yet a negative tone about the business? Shame on you, this blog writes about openings of cheesy, horrible, chain restaurants like they are the second coming of Christ, and you get negative about a local, homegrown, wildly popular local man's business?

Shame on you.

Vicelord
Vicelord

I thought the food was reasonably priced and the steak I got was beyond what I could have ever finished, and I'm a 26 year old male who cycles 200+ miles a week, I'm not exactly someone with a small appetite.

Amy Silverman
Amy Silverman

"Easily the most biased and worst piece of "journalism" I've ever read."

Lucky you! 

Danskphx
Danskphx

I totally agreed with her piece... the place looks wonderful, the coffee and food are great, but I'm sick of feelign like I'm being judged by the staff and clientele that seem to never not be there when I go. I'm glad someone else has pointed it out because its ridiculous. The place is just so so so so so pretentious.

Occupythis
Occupythis

No, actually she nailed the place quite accurately. I had the exact same experience on my first (and last trip) in there. There are ten people behind the counter, and all of them are too busy to deal with whatever your petty problem happens to be, whether that's food or beverage.I'm sick of attitude when I go out. And, in this economy, if I catch one whiff of too-cool-for-school, fuck off - I'm gone forever. Fuck you - go out of business - I don't care. 

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