Sometimes, we take the happy things in our midst for granted. That has been the frequent refrain from new customers to a li’l Flagstaff café on the corner of Route 66 and Fourth Street.
The welcoming homey building in grey with sunny accents offers patio seating and a cheery interior. Slate and rustic wood with a fireplace, denim and yellow paint throughout and plenty of table or counter seating offers a view of the iconic Mother Road. A mural of the shop and San Francisco Peaks shows a heart in the community. Its slick clock logo with fork and knife hands reminds guests of the fast and fresh food found at Eat ‘n Run Café.
Mounted on the wall, a bicycle acts as a connection point for owners Wes and Sarah Neal, who also manage Bright Angel Bicycles and Café at Mather Point. That grab and go coffee shop with pre-made products provisions their tour operations and canyon visitors.
The Neals began their original venture as a wholesale outfit with catering services. Retail took a backseat, but in 2014, their location in Sunnyside pushed them to meet the needs of convenience store customers. The couple renovated and moved into their current location in 2018.
“Sarah designed everything,” Wes said with admiration, “the look and feel and pops with color.”
Hailing from South Africa, Sarah’s background influenced the cafe recipes. With an avocado tree in her yard, she enjoyed nutritious avocado toast long before it trended on American menus. Fresh avocado slices on crostini are topped with garlic infused olive oil, a squeeze of lemon, fresh dill, red pepper flakes and sea salt. Or go West Coast with chili cream cheese, bacon and ceviche onions.
All dressings, sauces and soups are house made with quality products.
“People like convenience, but not the usual upscale price tag,” Sarah said. “We are better value for money and high on flavor.”
Local vendors include Village Bakery, Tender Heart Cookies in Sedona for vegan, gluten-free enticing sweets and Firecreek Coffee Company.
At Eat ‘n Run Café, there is no need to special order from the espresso bar, as many drinks are named for frequent customers. Try the fragrant, soothing Neta Bee. This lavender latte blends espresso, honey, lavender syrup and milk.
For many, a smoothie is the super sipper start, and Eat ‘n Run Café makes its blended drinks from whole foods. Most shops use a commercial concentrate, but their smoothies contain no fillers, just wholesome fruits, veggies, syrups, milks and juices. All can be customized or lightened.
The boatmen’s breakfast will float your oats with chocolate, peanut butter, oatmeal, banana, hazelnut and caramel syrups, espresso and your milk of choice. It’s thick with childhood flavors. The Popeye is vibrant and healthy with lively green apple, baby spinach, fresh lime and mint, plus pineapple and apple juices. The morning glory brightens your outlook with pineapple, mango, a touch of basil and orange juice. The Sonoran sunrise whips organic prickly pear—with flavor and health benefits—mixed berries, orange juice, lemon and prickly pear syrup. This dairy-free choice reveals tart and tasty textures, or add yogurt to keep it creamy.
For a heartier start, order the Hatch and hash burrito. Slow-roasted pork, Hatch green chilies, scrambled eggs, potatoes, house-made salsa, jack cheese and cilantro lime dressing are wrapped in a tortilla to go or for dine-in.
“We’ve worked hard to create more variety—our choices are niche, new,” Sarah said. “We keep to traditional recipes and nod to trends.”
The Mexican chopped salad is the best blend of proteins and greens. Slow roasted pork is piled on mixed greens with bacon, red onion, bell peppers, grape tomatoes, black beans, avocado, dehydrated corn, feta and a choice of cilantro lime dressing or chipotle ranch. Toasted French bread adds warm crunch.
The big apple sandwich loads pecan-smoked bacon, Granny Smith apples slices, lightly dressed arugula and sharp cheddar on a butter croissant. It is pressed and served with spicy honey mustard for dipping. All sandwiches come with a choice of a pickle and chips or lemon garlic kale salad.
Simplify with a soup or salad and sandwich combo for $10, back by popular demand.
This locally-owned, family-oriented shop is open for breakfast and lunch, closing in mid-afternoon, every day except Sunday.
“We like our evenings at home, and our kids are our priority,” Wes said.
Sarah added, “We have a happy customer base and serve the community in this go-to spot.”