Food Scene

Engrained Cafe in Tempe: Tastes Good, Feels Good

Last week I had the opportunity to dine at Engrained Cafe with my co-worker, which is located on ASU’s Tempe campus, inside the MU on the second floor. From the moment you enter Engrained, you realize this place is unique.

The hostess give us a table number, and then sends us off towards the kitchen to take a look at the dishes to choose from that day. We are told that the menu changes frequently based on what’s in season. My co-worker and I take some time looking through all our options – everything looks amazing! There are several salads, sandwiches, pizzas and even sushi rolls to choose from. We decide to split two dishes – the pepperoni pizza and the black bean quinoa burger with French fries. We quickly pay and head to our assigned table where our dishes will be brought out to us. In the meantime, the hostess has shown us where to get our beverages – which are complimentary with every meal!

While we are waiting for our lunch to arrive, we take a moment to look around and start to read the informational placards hung on the walls. We learn that most of the materials used inside of Engrained Cafe come from recycled goods. For example, the chairs are made from recycled seat belts. We also learn that the appliances and lighting are all energy efficient and the bamboo wall finishing and grass mats used in the restaurant are naturally renewable resources.  An educational thread runs throughout the restaurant featuring eco-friendly products and eco-saving techniques.

We also discover that all the seasonal produce is harvested within 150 mile radius – how awesome is that? Organic produce, Fair-Trade coffee, cage-free eggs and all-natural chicken, and sustainable seafood are available from the seasonal menu. We get even more excited about trying our dishes!

Our mouths start to water the moment our food arrives. I start off with a slice of the pepperoni pizza – it is heaven! Really, it’s the best pepperoni pizza that I’ve ever had. The cheese is fresh and gooey, and the pepperoni is seasoned and browned to perfection. Next I try a bite of the black bean quinoa burger. This veggie burger is so flavorful it’s almost impossible to describe. In addition to the tasty black bean and quinoa patty, I can taste Swiss cheese, avocado slices and grilled red peppers in every bite! The French fries are an added bonus to this already delicious meal.

So, as we waddle out of the restaurant from over indulging, we decide that Engrained Cafe both tastes good, but also makes us feel good! The ingredients are fresh and local, and the restaurant is helping the community one day at a time by minimizing their environmental footprint. What more could you ask for from a lunch spot! This place is definitely worth checking out the next time you’re in the mood for something unique and yummy.

Engrained Cafe
2nd Floor, Memorial Union Building
ASU Tempe Campus
1290 S. Normal Avenue, Tempe AZ 85287
(480) 965-4239
HOURS: Monday – Friday: 11 a.m. – 4 p.m.

Engrained Cafe
Written Alicia Griffith

Alicia is an ASU Alumna and Tucson native who is unapologetically herself. When she is not sharing her passion for Tempe, she is a devoted dog mom and reality TV enthusiast who has a weakness for charcuterie boards and wine!

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