Hometown History in a Vintage Café 3

American Way Market Café Takes You Back to Simpler Times

Hidden inside the Merchant Square Antique Market on Arizona Ave, is American Way Market, a new lunch restaurant open Monday through Saturday from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. What most people don’t realize when visiting the quaint café, is that the restaurant was built with pieces of Arizona history. The booths were from a country western bar that closed in Buckeye, the brick walls from a Tempe hatchery for chickens. Shelves holding vintage soda and local food purveyors were salvaged from the first Safeway from the Garfield District and a meat smoker came from the first Arizona Bill Johnson’s. All of these pieces bring a sense of home to the restaurant, which matches the hand crafted food on the menu.

Unique twists on American favorites

The food at American Way brings you back to a vintage environment when food was made from scratch. The menu is simple, but to execute, many hours are invested in each delicious dish. This menu was a collaboration between Mike Moore, proprietor of Merchant Square, Chef Jared Horton and Jared Allen of Proof Bread. Growing up, Moore’s pastime included barbecuing and smoking meats with his family. He knew that the concept would incorporate smoked meats and take diners back to simpler times, just like the antiques found at Merchant Square. Each week, the three also collaborate to create a Chef Special which often turns into a new menu item. One of these specials is the Smoked Egg Salad Sandwich. This unpretentious salad of bacon and eggs is elevated with a rich smoky flavor. The eggs are first boiled, cooled and then slow smoked for hours. These distinct aromas bring an interesting twist to the classic sandwich.

A favorite lunch item on the menu is the Tri Tip Sandwich. The tri tip is smoked for hours and is a take on a North Coast version of the sandwich. The sourdough is from Proof Bread, and is the perfect accompaniment. The meat is drizzled with an Argentina-inspired chimichurri sauce. For the price, this meaty sandwich is a hefty portion. There is an option to do any half sandwich or half salad, which is a great way to try a variety of menu options in one sitting.

On my visit, I chose the American Harvest salad, which was a great addition to the Tri Tip sandwich. This rustic salad is a mix of roasted butternut squash, beets, pumpkin seeds, pecans, fresh goat cheese, and greens tossed in a champagne vinaigrette.

For a heartier dish, there is also a list of Flatbread Pizzas with classic and interesting combinations. The handmade crusts are made from sourdough from Proof Bread. The crusts are cooked on a pizza stone and have a delicious chewy texture when finished. A new flavor is roasted corn and honey flatbread and a favorite on the menu is the mushroom trio. This take on a mushroom pizza includes olive oil, truffle oil, cheeses and a trio of mushrooms.

Local flavors

The menu also includes soups, potato salad, slaw and other sides dishes. In the morning, Proof Bread bakes pastries and a coffee menu showcases Peixoto coffee.

Each dish is made from scratch which can add to the amount of time you’ll spend at the restaurant, but the wait is worth it for a simple and delicious meal. This allows time to pick out your favorite vintage soda flavor and shop for local food items. American Way Market has also developed a call ahead order process so that your food is ready when you arrive. After lunch, be sure you to take some time to explore the antique booths filled with vintage treasures at Merchant Square, located just outside the restaurant.

To see the full menu, visit Americanwaymarket.com.