Campbell Avenue is now home to another eatery—and oh, what a pleasant little spot it is.
Amelia Grey's was once buried deep in the bowels of an antique mall on Speedway Boulevard, but earlier in 2012, it moved to Campbell Avenue, just south of Fort Lowell Road. The move was a great thing, both for the restaurant and for diners.
The room might best be described as shabby chic. Antiques and collectibles are scattered here and there; baked goods (all made in house) sit a bright display case and on an old wooden table, tempting with their beauty. In a nook toward the back, you'll find shelves with delicate tea cups and saucers.
Plates are mismatched, and everything comes to the table at once.
When we arrived for our lunch visit, around noon, we found the room packed with groups of women, a few couples and a family or two. We were tucked into a corner on the small but charming patio, which allowed us to watch all of the comings and goings.
Most of the dishes have someone's name attached. There's a nice list of sandwiches, with such titles as Edna's ham and Swiss on rye ($8) and Nellie's tuna melt ($8). Salad choices are numerous, with creative mixes; the names include Velda's artichoke salad ($8) and Marcia's chicken fruit salad ($8).
Two soups are always on the menu (cup $4; bowl $6). Cups are huge—big enough so that with a half-sandwich, anyone would be satiated.
The beef stew soup was studded with chunks of seasoned beef and bites of potatoes, peas, onions and other veggies. The broth was dark and beefy; a buttery roll was a nice touch on the side.
Velvety and rich with chicken broth, the tortilla soup was a pure delight. Fine shreds of chicken, bits of onion and chiles, and cream all came together as a complete package. There was a bit of heat, and the flavor lingered on the palate. Add the crunchy red and green tortilla chips, and you've got the kind of soup you wish you could make.
The ham and Swiss on rye was a big sandwich. The ham is the star: Several thick slices of tender ham, a juicy tomato, two or three slices of Swiss, a fine bit of lettuce, and both mayo and mustard were placed between judicious slices of marble rye. The sandwich was quite satisfying—and big enough to take half home for another lunch.
Velda's artichoke salad was delightful. A huge mound of fresh, chopped lettuce was topped with a plentiful helping of crispy bacon bites, sundried tomatoes and artichoke pieces, with hard-boiled eggs draped artfully on top. (I declined the red onions that are also a part of the mix.) A fresh poppy-seed dressing served on the side was perfectly creamy and tart. One of the same buttery rolls that came with the beef soup was served with it as well.
Although we didn't partake, tea is central to Amelia's. The server brings a pot to the table, as well as a bowl filled with all sorts of teas from which to choose. You also get to choose your tea cup. High tea ($17) is available with 24 hours of notice. You get three petite sandwiches, one mini quiche and three gourmet desserts.
Our drinks were lemonade, iced tea, espresso and an Americano (all $2.50). They were all pleasant.
On our breakfast visit, we found that the choices are few, but interesting, and available all day. We found the place to be not nearly as busy as it was on our lunch visit.
Mom's breakfast casserole ($6.50) was delicious. Resembling a hefty quiche, the dish was served with fresh fruit, a small croissant and house-made salsa. On top of a tender crust, egg had been whipped and blended with bacon, ham, green chiles and cheese. With all of those tastes and textures, the salsa was unnecessary (and a little bland).
Amelia's does a nice take on eggs Benedict (called just "The Benedict," $6.50). Instead of English muffins, the bread is a sliced-open croissant. The ham is replaced by salmon, and there is Swiss and cheddar cheese, as well as hollandaise sauce. The cheeses seemed to get lost, and the salmon was a tad salty, but the dish would hold its own against the traditional versions. The tiny bowl of fruit was a nice side.
Desserts are plentiful and all made in-house. The chocolate cheesecake ($3.50) was a good-sized portion. The chocolate and cream cheese balanced perfectly, and the chocolate-crumb crust was tender.
We found the vanilla cupcake ($2.50) to be tasty but a bit dry, perhaps from spending too much time in the display case.
As delightful as all the food was, the service needed some work. Granted, the restaurant was crowded at lunchtime, but it took forever to get our food, and our server seemed overwhelmed. At breakfast, there was only one server, and she seemed a bit scattered.
Nonetheless, the quaint café, with its fresh, delectable food, is a most welcome addition to Campbell Avenue.