Somewhere along the line, it was inescapable. Phoenix was bound to start growing up.

As the city’s population inflated, unfolding irresponsibly and brittle to its fringe, it was almost imperative that somewhere, someone, would begin to curtail those soulless suburban winds and anchor inward for more soulful fulfillments.

Located at the cross of a budding North Central neighborhood, at 16th Street and Bethany Home Road, Luci’s Healthy Marketplace is the type of courteous, independent jewel many more electric cities might take for granted. Here in Phoenix, it’s still a breath of fresh air.

Thanks to owners Ken and Lucia Schnitzer (Luci’s namesake), that village need for something more comes in fine form.

Part coffee spot, bakery and fast-casual dining option, Luci’s also retails a realistic crop of naturally-minded, healthy grocery items. It serves solid edibles and wares in an approachable, colorful space that delivers personality without novelty.

Respectably, Luci’s is a magnet not meant to absorb beyond its immediate radius. Visiting with expectations of a one-stop supermarket experience, making mental checklists of what Luci’s may or may not offer in comparison, creates unfair expectations. Luci’s is meant to supplement a diverse, varied urban lifestyle―grab a solid cup of coffee, pick up an extra carton of almond milk or bottle of chilled white wine to-go, polish off well-made sandwiches on the way home from work when ideas of eating in seem cumbersome. At Luci’s, it’s about the little things, done quietly well.

Besides a decent coffee roster, Luci’s selection of baked goods could easily satisfy even the most particular. With the made-to-order eats, from Belgian waffles, flapjacks and omelettes at sunrise, to fresh salads, sandwiches, burgers, melts and daily soups as the day rolls on, Luci’s covers an otherwise limited stretch exhaustingly well―boilerplate grocery store takeaway this is not.

To its immediate neighbors, Luci’s is a trophy. It’s a tasty, practical amenity within arm’s reach, providing simple solutions to routine needs. Above and beyond, to the city as a whole, it’s a humble beacon of continued things like it to come.

Hopefully, to a neighborhood near you.