Thursday, April 18, 2013

Chow Time: Sugar Bowl

For all of the eating that we did during our Arizona sojourn, few places provided as much satisfying satiation as Scottsdale's sticky-sweet Sugar Bowl (est. 1958).  Sticking out of Old Town's western facade like a sore, pink thumb, Sugar Bowl is the revisionist masterpiece of a late-Victorian/Edwardian ice cream parlor.

Look out Sugar Bowl, here comes Mr. Tiny!

Living in the very shadow of the Magic Kingdom (seriously, we can hear Disneyland's nightly firework spectacular), we smugly thought that we had the market cornered on 1950's-does-1900's Main Street charm.  In one fell, Pepto-Bismol-colored swoop, Sugar Bowl proved us decidedly wrong.  I try not to get too snobby about these things, but I have had more than my fill of 80's/90's does 50's diners.  In fact, if I never see one more sun faded, life-size cut out of James Dean or Marilyn Monroe, it would all be too soon.  Offering its own spin on sugar-coated history, Sugar Bowl's romantic landscape of neapolitan linoleum and tufted pink booths is like spending an afternoon inside a fluffy meringue....or Sugar Town.

"Sugar Town" - Nancy Sinatra
Change "town" to "bowl" and 
they've got a solid new theme song!

"Welcome to the Sugar Bowl!"
I don't think it's lazy poetry...find me another word that
 rhymes more perfectly with Sunday other than Sunday.
"Sundae" would just be too on the nose.

Interior stained-glass windows featuring the Sugar Bowl's sugar bowl logo
reminded me of equal parts Disneyland, the Candy Kitchen in The Music Man
and Pollyanna - a winning combination!!!

The heart-shaped porthole windows on the swinging, kitchen
 doors remind servers and staff to treat each patron with love.

The stunning wall mural...honestly we were stunned.
This little piece of artistry in acrylics is like a
Sunday Afternoon on the Island of Grand Frappe.

The pink, black, and white linoleum floor
How many banana split splats has this thing seen?

The menu!!!
The menu is filled with delightful illustrations that speak to the frivolity of a novelty
 ice cream parlor in the sun-baked Arizona desert.   Speaking of illustrations, the
Sugar Bowl plays a supporting role in many of the famed Family Circus comic strips

"You'll love our luncheons."
 The tenderly-wrought window painting wasn't lying; offering more refreshment than just their perfect
 pairing of Turn-of-the-Century charm and icy-cold air conditioning, we had every reason to be hopeful
 about our forthcoming luncheon.  "Luncheon," the way I will henceforth refer to my noontime meal.

Decisions, decisions...

Homemade meatloaf sandwich with a healthy scoop of the house potato salad.

A BLT with kettle chips and the obligatory pickle spear.

Even the printed napkins are amazing.
We managed to steal a few extras as thrift-conscious souvenirs.

These were our desserts - a fresh, sparkling limeade and the "Top Hat," a giant, ice 
cream-filled profiterole drenched in hot fudge.  Can you guess who ordered which dessert?


I kept asking Mary to pose with her gargantuan treat, but
she couldn't stop from attacking that thing like it was the
fudge-covered enemy! 

It's that kind of can't help yourself but just dive right in!

If I lived in Scottsdale, I have the terrible feeling that I would spend an inordinate amount of time getting a sugar-high at the Sugar Bowl.  It is practically perfect in every way, at least in our wacky tacky eyes.  I've been accused of looking at the world through rose-colored glasses, but at Sugar Bowl, it simply cannot be helped.  It's the pink of perfection!

"The Pink of Perfection" from Walt Disney's Summer Magic

Sugar Bowl
4005 N Scottsdale Rd
Scottsdale, AZ


Mr. Tiny


  1. What a great place to visit! It looks so cute and all the food looks delicious.

    1. It was surprisingly good. Honestly, I didn't even know that they served "real" food. I thought it would all be ice cream and was quite pleased with my meatloaf sandwich!

  2. That place looks so awesome! So awesome in fact that I want to work there - and trust me....I hardly ever want to work *anywhere*. Your trip to Arizona looked pretty fruitful.

    1. It was so good. It was definitely my kind of place; I could easily see myself working there, wearing sleeve garters, and growing a handlebar mustache. We still have more from our trip - stay tuned!!!

  3. You find the best places in whatever town you are in.

    1. We got some awesome recommendations and I did some research too! I'm always on the hunt for wacky tacky and happy to cast a wider net to do it. I love a good road trip!

  4. This place looks soooooo fun! I love the pink booths! I want to goooooo!

    1. Next time you guys are in town, we'll have to plan a mini road trip! Sugar Bowl is definitely worth a return visit!

  5. :) Love the sugar bowl. I went to middle school with the son of the woman who painted all the murals inside. I know I keep saying that your Phoenix trip posts make me smile, but they really do!

    1. I'm glad that you are enjoying them; they make me smile too! We had such a great time in Phoenix and I could see myself spending more time there. We still have a few more posts from Phoenix that I hope will keep you smiling.

  6. that place is amazing! i can't believe they still use those napkins! i would have snatched some too! that window painting is so beautiful.

    1. It makes me happy that I can still get excited over napkins!!! Just when I think I am totally jaded, I get a thrill over napkins!