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He Said: Joe’s Midnight Run is a Phoenix liquor store turned tasty eatery

(Facebook Photo)

A neighborhood liquor store turned into a thriving new restaurant? Who would have known?!

Joe’s Midnight Run, a former drive-through liquor store in Uptown Phoenix — thus “Midnight Run” in the name — is now one of the many new Seventh Street restaurants adding to the blossoming area.

It’s interesting to note that you can still imagine the building as a drive-thru liquor store with its long profile and, after you learn the patio was where people drove through, it’s clear. The patio will be perfect once the temperatures go back down into the double digits.

The bar reminded me of a sushi bar, as it wrapped around the kitchen with a short glass wall which gives you the opportunity to chat with the chef and other kitchen staff.

But a word to the wise: They use a very hot, flaming grill right next to the bar seats on one end. We ended up having to move as it got way too warm for my taste. It might be perfect for that person that is consistently cold even in 100-degree heat.

Its menu has an international flare with on-menu pairings with a good wine and/or beer selection.

It starts off with what they call “shorties” or small shared plates. As a fan of a tapas-style menu, this was perfect for our visit. We decided to just order a few small plates and share.

The curried cauliflower is not as “curried” as one would imagine and is actually perfectly seasoned. My table enjoyed this dish the most. It includes currants, almonds and shallots. The currants were a really nice sweet touch to this dish and the cauliflower was cooked with just enough crunch left in it.

The roasted veggies plate included fennel, potatoes, asparagus and cauliflower in a romesco sauce. Our plate also included what looked like roasted pearl onions, though they were not listed on the menu. This type of surprise makes me happy to see and assures me that they are using what they have fresh on their veggie plates.

Up next, we moved to some meat with the skirt steak. It comes with marinated peppers and chimichurri sauce. Nicely cooked and full of flavor, the key to this dish is the refreshing chimichurri. I used to think all chimichurris were equal but this definitely had its own distinct flavor to it and I could have added it to a few more dishes.

If you’re looking for a more filling dish, there is a whole other page to the menu with bigger entrees and salads. After watching them make it, I’m dying to come back and try the Notorious B.I.G. Burger with braised pork, cheese, and chicharrones on top of the burger. It looked amazing!

They also have a few items for your sweet tooth and some good drink options.