Want to go where the locals go? Read DPJ’s new E&D Beat and visit some favorite Eats & Drinks destinations.

(New) Local Fave:  Vovomeena

District: Historic Roosevelt

Owners:  DJ Fernandes and Jessica Ruiz (of Tuck Shop and Astor House)

Opened:  2012

Identity:  Like Carly’s, this local favorite’s identity is reflected in a painted mural on the entry wall.  “Vovo” is grandmother in Portuguese, and “Meena” is the name of owner DJ Ferandes grandmother. This breakfast spot is bistro style with a nautical twist.  DJ and his family grew up on the shores of New England and even menu items like the Wilcox Avenue reflect the theme.  A wall of ropes suspended from the ceiling to floor helps guide you to the open kitchen and counter where you “order in!” and take a seat with your number.

Have A Seat:  The bistro tables inside are simple with mid-century modern chairs.  The seating along the wood-planked wall provides a great view for people watching and feeling a part of the morning hustle.  Toward the back is a quiet sitting nook complete with home style furnishings, and opposite is a secluded area perfect for thumbing through the daily paper (or favorite online journal?).  Cooler weather finally has reached the valley and a modest patio, blocked from busy 7th Ave, allows for soaking up some sunshine while the java warms your hands.

The Eats:  Vovomeena takes pride in serving specialties made with mostly organic, local ingredients.  Peddler’s Son, Schreiner’s Sausage, The Roastery of Cave Creek, and Boxed Greens are all local contributors to the scrumptious Portuguese inspired menu.  One try-not-to-lick-the-plate dish is the B.M.O.C.: a Schreiner’s pork chop, waffle, apple-maple syrup, two eggs, AND a Portuguese donut tower takes you beyond chicken and waffles and into salty/sweet bliss.  The pork chop is tender and smoky, while the waffle is fresh and sweet.  The special of the day is posted on their social media networks and in the restaurant.  You’ll find plates like a Schreiner’s BLT with organic spinach, vine ripened tomatoes, and a house made chipotle mayonnaise.

The Coffee:  Visit resident barista Ryan Avery, well known in the community for serving up artfully crafted coffee drinks with a friendly smile.  The star beverage is the cold brewed coffee.  Traditionalists may stick to their hot drinks, but any caffeine junky will be satisfied after trying this brewing method.  Manager Kaj Macussen explains the process takes 12-14 hours but the result is worth the wait.  With no heat, zero caffeine is burned off, so the coffee is stronger without being overpowering in taste.  Also, no heat means that the subtle flavors of the beans are sustained with no bitterness and a smooth finish.  “I think we are one of only a few places in the valley that brew this way and we are proud to serve such a good product,” says Macussen.

What They Say:  After being open only a couple months, they are already seeing repeat guests.  Some, like Makenna Mercer and Claudia Balderrama, were big fans of Astor House and Tuck Shop, which originally brought them in. After trying the new “mom and pop yummies” they were hooked.  Mercer says, “Everything is original and the ambiance is bright and welcoming.  We love the flight of cold brews!”  Balderrama agrees with her friend, saying, “We like to support good food at a local place.  This is fresh, home comfort food with a creative twist.”

Report:  This adorable bistro will make you feel welcome with the warmth of a home style cooked breakfast or brunch.   The value of your meal is top notch, and the moderate prices won’t drain your wallet.  Downtowners are constantly thanking the employees for a neighborhood breakfast spot that is easy to get to with good parking and a friendly staff proudly serving some great food and beverages.  Macussen hopes that “…people leave after the best breakfast they’ve had and think it was a fun place to visit…somewhere they can come over and over again.”