Gems off the light rail: Sips and slices at McDowell and Central

Uncover hidden gems all over the city with reporter Nicole Dusanek as she gets off at a different light rail stop each week to explore.

Giant Coffee off of the McDowell Road and Central Avenue light rail stop is a creative, open space that is easy for any avid coffee drinker to fall in love with.

Sometimes, modern decor tends to be uncomfortable due to its cold and clean appearance, but Giant Coffee teeters between modern and comfortable, successful in its delicate balance.

What may have done the trick were the warm colors used throughout the room and the large wall of windows toward the front, allowing for natural light to filter in and brighten the space. For someone who needs to get work done, this is a great environment to grab a chair by the large window and spend the day.

Giant offers a variety of drinks, and the honey vanilla latte is a perfect hint of sweetness mixed in with the classic coffee taste. It’s subtle but sweet and perfect for any coffee connoisseur who wants more than a Starbucks frappe.

Inside Giant Coffee there is also a boutique called Bunky Boutique, which is true to the atmosphere of its location. The style is modern and innovative, and while it may be limited in space, any stylish shopper could get lost in the options.

Giant is open everyday from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. to satisfy the coffee-lover's cravings.

However, if a sip of coffee or cute outfit is not what you are looking for, right across the street is Pizza People Pub, which began as a food truck and is now a full-scale restaurant that offers ambiance and excellent food.

The dim lighting, artwork across the walls and high-quality furniture gives it a classic atmosphere and, at first, it may scare away college students without much money in their pockets. However, despite the expensive looking design, the menu is affordable.

While pizza is in the title, the mac and cheese is what stole my heart. With a variety of flavors, I had to pinch myself and make sure I was not in heaven. There is an option for a "mini" or a "biggie" (8 oz. or 20 oz.), but getting anything less than the biggie would just leave you wanting more.

It is presented in a metallic pot and baked to perfection. After that first bite, Easy Mac will never be the same. 

The menu is both vegan and gluten-free friendly. These options also extend to the dessert list, where flourless chocolate cake is a delicious gluten-free option.

Other dessert options include a half-baked chocolate chip cookie topped with vanilla ice cream. The melted vanilla perfectly complements the sweet melted chocolate chips and half-baked cookie dough. The delicious taste is still imprinted on my mind.

The cultural district off of the light rail stop at McDowell Road and Central Avenue has so much to offer and can easily draw in an explorer and make them lose track of time. 

Related links:

Gems off the light rail: A fresh look at Mill Avenue

Gems off the light rail: Rustic and retro dining in downtown Phoenix


Reach the reporter at ndusanek@asu.edu or follow @NikkiDusanek on Twitter

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