Sunnyslope's Spoke & Wheel Goes Flat

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Jackie Mercandetti
Spoke & Wheel's burgers include soft and sturdy buns, but the thick patties are underseasoned and result in burgers relying on toppings for flavor.
Ask anyone from Sunnyslope about the odd-shaped building at the end of Murphy Bridle Path, between Central Avenue and the Arizona Canal, and chances are you'll get a multitude of answers.

For years, the historic building's been more or less a revolving door of restaurants. Now, as of February of this year, it's the home of Spoke & Wheel, a cyclist-centric eating and drinking spot from the same folks who own Brick, the gourmet pizzeria in downtown's Arizona Center, and Timo, the wine bar just up the street.

But unlike Brick and Timo, which came out swinging, Spoke & Wheel seems to be, well, spinning its wheels when it comes to establishing its own identity. Even the stated definition of itself on its menu as a "San-Francisco-style tavern and chef-driven eatery serving up contemporary American cuisine with a Southwestern flair" sounds like it needs an interpreter.

See also:
- Doug Robson Nails It Again at Otro Cafe
- Karaikudi Palace in Scottsdale: A Taste of South India

Here's an excerpt from this week's review:

"But the uninspired patties have little on another beefy, but leafier, item: the chopped steak salad. More or less a sloppy arrangement of dry pieces of steak, avocado slices, and limp greens blasted with avocado dressing and streaks of an unpleasantly cloying red sauce, the salad looks (and tastes) like it was run through an entirely different kitchen -- specifically, Applebee's."

Want to know more? Read the rest of my review of Spoke & Wheel in Sunnyslope here.

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Location Info

Spoke & Wheel

8525 N. Central Ave., Phoenix, AZ

Category: Restaurant


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8 comments
John B. Rolando
John B. Rolando

Marilyn - yep you got me - somehow I've managed to survive 36 years on this planet without ever eating. Luckily, your overgeneralization does NOT sound pretty typical of the Valley. Lots of great food options there too. You should check it out, just not when I'm there.

Brian Woloshin
Brian Woloshin

Give it a try Julie. The tv's are there but not hard to ignore. Or you can ask to be seated either in the small room or on the patio (wonderful when it isn't blazing hot). I'm sure they will accommodate you.

Brian Woloshin
Brian Woloshin

The food and service are both amazing. I am there with a group every other week and with friends and family other times. We have never had a bad dish or bad service. The Firecracker Calamari has been a hit with both family and friends. The salads are fantastic (try their Green Apple vinaigrette dressing), the burgers are killer and always done as requested (the black truffle burger iis a personal favorite). We have been through most of the items on the menu and there has never been a complaint. I am very happy to have them in our neighborhood. They are what we have been needing for a long time.

Marilyn Ostrow
Marilyn Ostrow

so bottom line is, you do nothing but drink? never eat? sadly, that does sound pretty typical in the Valley...

Julie Baier
Julie Baier

Not going. Hate sports TV, and have read about it in every review of the place. DIsappointing, since I am a bicyclist.

Michele Dekker
Michele Dekker

The food was cut and dry on the plate. There was nothing that stood out about it. The Pinot Noir that they have on tap is good, which is kind of crazy. I've never had wine on tap, but as soon as I saw it on the menu, I had to try it. If the liquor prices are so good, maybe they should expound upon those rather than make mediocre food. Otherwise, I don't think they will last. It's a shame, because I like the concept of the place.

John B. Rolando
John B. Rolando

Good grief - talk about negativity. Bottom line is this place has all-day happy hour pricing if you bike there (including $5 pitchers of a good selection of beers). That's a winning place in my book.

Nicole Johnson
Nicole Johnson

So hard to build an identity in that building, really is a shame. Should just turn into a reception hall of sorts and call it a day! Maybe a bingo hall?

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