With over 100 days with high temperatures over 100 degrees, Phoenix is not the most obvious place for a coffee house with only outdoor seating — unless of course, the establishment is based primarily on a grab-and-go business model. That’s the case with Dapper & Stout, a coffee “house” that is really a counter and patio at the Collier Center in downtown Phoenix. If that setup sounds Spartan, it’s actually somewhat stylish. A long metal table in the shade of the office tower overhead hides just behind the escalators on the development’s northeastern corner.
The space is one that has never been activated before as a retail spot in the two decades of the Collier Center’s existence. With origins in Glendale, Dapper & Stout’s new downtown Phoenix location is across the street from the westbound Third Street / Washington light rail platform and a block away from the eastbound Third Street / Jefferson platform. Bike racks are found outside the Collier Center over on Second Street, but with no need or even opportunity to go inside a dining room, customers can just park their rides in plain sight while placing orders at the counter.
The dapper part of Dapper & Stout is reflected in the bowties worn by the baristas. The stout? Since there’s no dark beer or alcohol of any sort served, maybe that’s a potential consequence of overindulging in some of the establishment’s more caloric drinks.The Bowtie, a signature beverage reinforcing the restaurant’s look, is a concoction of dark and white chocolate, a non-alcoholic variant of Amaretto, whipped cream, and plenty of espresso. It’s sweet and hearty, almost a meal in itself, or at least a filling liquid dessert and all-day energy source.
Of course, straightforward espresso, cappuccino, and lattes are served, as are chai and several varieties of hot tea. Still, it’s the big drinks with added flavors and textures that seem to capture the most attention here. That theme extends well beyond pumpkin spice lattes and drinks similarly enhanced with flavored syrups. There are fruit smoothies, protein shakes, and even cereal frappes in which childhood favorites such as Cocoa Puffs or Apple Jacks are blended with a milk base with the option to add some caffeination via two or four shots of espresso.
For solid sustenance, Dapper & Stout continues its grab-and-go business model with an assortment of pre-assembled sandwiches. For breakfast, it’s banana nutella french toast or a bagel sandwiches. Leaning more towards lunch, the offerings include turkey and on a pretzel roll, chicken parmesan with provolone and mozzarella, and a vegetarian sandwich of roasted red peppers, artichoke hearts, and pesto. Because these are all made off-site, no customization is possible, but there is enough variety to please most palates.
Most everything at Dapper & Stout is warmed in small ovens behind the counter once ordered. That includes not only sandwiches, but baked goods like butter crumb cake or a cream-filled banana nut muffin. The unexpected exception is the Belgian waffle, which is served at room temperature, seemingly with the expectation that it will be consumed as a hand food. In that respect, the approach works because a waffle that is cooler and more crunchy lends itself to consumption on the go better than what typically is served on a plate with butter and syrup.
Two items always kept warm are the soups served here. One is a smooth tomato bisque; the other is a hearty soup of chickpeas, kidney beans, barley, and vegetables. Both come in a cup of moderate size and pair well with any of the sandwiches to form a meal. The soups are also a good match for the soft pretzels, which can be salted or dusted with cinnamon sugar. While many of the drinks at Dapper & Stout are sweet enough to serve as liquid desserts, a “colossal chocolate chunk cookie” is, as its name implies, large and intense in its chocolate flavor.
Dapper & Stout does not serve alcohol and closes at six each night. It is, however, open seven days a week. That is a refreshing departure from the weekday-only business models that were prevalent in downtown Phoenix just a few years ago. With a lot more going on downtown in terms of both commercial and residential development, it’s not surprising to see properties like the Collier Center finding ways to utilize previously neglected space for retail. Dapper & Stout’s outdoor location seems improbable, but works when wedded to a grab-and-go menu,
201 E. Washington St. #102, Phoenix AZ 85004