It’s hard to imagine now, but once upon a time, people actually had to go to the photo lab and wait days to see how their pictures turned out. One such lab sat at the corner of 32nd Street and Shea Boulevard in Phoenix, but with the dawn of digital photography, its days were numbered. The lab finally closed down in the early '90s, and city culture soon took over—it first became a coffee house and neighborhood hangout, and later a hip urban café and espresso bar.
This latest incarnation is called 32 Shea, and some of its defining characteristics are as old-school as monochrome photography. Take the coffee, for example: the beans are roasted locally and the flavor syrups are homemade with seasonal ingredients. When night falls and the café transforms into a trendy restaurant, flickering candles lend an air of timeless romance to meals of creative bruschetta, toasted-ciabatta sandwiches, and crispy lavash pizzas. Of course, there are plenty of ultra-modern touches designed to attract Phoenix’s hipster set. Among the most notable are a sleek bar made from 100-year-old reclaimed wood and a drive-through window that lets car-bound diners can take the café's gourmet cuisine to go.