Gems off the light rail: A hipster-dining duo

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.

The understated, rustic yellow walls of Pane Bianco somehow make this restaurant stand out rather than blend in.

The busy patio was filled with friendly chatter, a good sign of the popularity of the restaurant. A great sandwich stop for lunch, this restaurant offers fresh ingredients on homemade ciabatta bread.

Pane Bianco offers the choice to dine-in, or walk through the takeout door and enjoy the patio seating. After seeing the interior of the dining room, dining-in was really the only option.

Various chandeliers hung over the bar, and the rustic tables provided the best ambiance to enjoy the sandwiches the restaurant is known for. In the back of the room, there is a more private dining area for larger parties.

The service was attentive, friendly and more than happy to make recommendations for first-time visitors. After ordering, the sandwich came out quickly with presentation that looked delicious and fresh smells permeating the air.

When the house-made mozzarella sandwich arrived, I could already tell after the first bite that the ingredients are true to advertisement and garden-fresh. Each bite was perfect, the fresh tomato and basil complementing the mozzarella.

Included with the sandwich was coleslaw. Not usually a fan coleslaw, I was hesitant to take the first bite, but was pleasantly surprised. Rather than classic creamy coleslaw, it was dressed in what tasted like a sweet vinaigrette. The sandwich and coleslaw were a great combination.

After finishing the fresh sandwich, rather than opting for one of the desserts in Pane Bianco, I chose to go next door to Lux Central, which shares a patio with Pane Bianco. Instantly taken aback by the unique decoration and dim lighting of Lux, I appreciated the trendy and hipster style of the coffee shop.

Clearly a popular location, every table was filled — including the porch seating area. Unlike most coffee shops, Lux is open for both the early-bird crew at 6 a.m. as well as for the night-owls at midnight on the weekdays and 2 a.m. on the weekends.

The window by the order station guards countless pastries and desserts, tempting even the casual coffee goer. Rather than just offering treats and coffee, Lux Central offers a menu for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

There's no better place to take a break than sitting under a painting in this coffee shop. Nearly an art gallery, the walls are covered in brightly colored paintings — currently featuring a pop-culture rendering of storm troopers.

Whether going to sit and chat with friends or get work done in a chic space, Lux Central is a great stop.

Pane Bianco and Lux Central make a great tag-team to grab lunch and then enjoy a sweet pastry — all a short walk from the light rail stop at Central and Campbell Avenue.


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

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