Beef brisket platter with baked mac ‘n’ cheese
Published March/April 2015

Thumbs Up

Tom’s Thumb Fresh Market offers more than meets the eye

BYChelsea Young
Tucked just off Loop 101 in north Scottsdale, Tom’s Thumb Fresh Market is the kind of place you might stop for refueling or grabbing a snack, but ultimately you’ll find yourself staying a while. This all-in-one gas station, car wash, auto detail, gift shop, wine and beer store, bakery, and restaurant opened in January 2012, with a vision of making mundane daily activities (like filling your car with gas) extraordinary. 
 
There is definitely more than meets the eye here. When you drive up, it isn’t quite obvious there is anything beyond the well-kept property and gas pumps. It isn’t until you walk in and are greeted by the quiet chatter of patrons conversing at tables and the view of creatively displayed gifts that you realize you’ve found a special place.
 
In fact, it’s such a unique concept that it feels like you’ve uncovered a best-kept secret.
 
“There’s definitely a handful of people who think we’re just your corner gas station,” says General Manager Michael Lawson. “That’s how we think of ourselves. Obviously that isn’t the reality, but we think of ourselves as your average gas station.”
 
But, of course, this is a humble assessment; Tom’s Thumb is much more. It is impeccably clean, quaint, and cozy, with tables tucked between displays of unique gifts and rows of wine bottles, seguing to the outdoor patio.
 
Notable Noshing
No matter what time you fuel (or clean) your car, you also can fuel yourself up on breakfast, lunch, or dinner at the BBQ and Grill. For an on-the-go treat, there are coffee and house-made pastries, and for lingering morning indulgences, Southern-infused selections include biscuits and gravy, crispy pulled pork atop grits with local cheddar and jalapeño bacon, and sourdough waffles. 
 
The prized selection, however, is the Southern barbecue that gets its influence from South Carolina and Texas, Lawson says. Top sellers are the pulled pork sandwich and brisket sandwich. Pair your entrée with the shoestring fries, or delve into the baked mac ‘n’ cheese made with cheddar, mozzarella, and menonita cheeses, topped with breadcrumbs, and served in an iron skillet. 
 
Everything has a zesty touch: Blackened catfish gets a chipotle aioli drizzle, a three-cheese quesadilla can be filled with jalapeño bacon, and tacos take a cue from, well, barbecue, with three choices of smoked meats. 
 
“We feature all-original recipes and offer excellent quality food at a gas station,” Lawson says. “It’s morphed into all the gifts we have, plus the bakery.”
 
While waiting for your order, peruse the treasures tucked into every nook of Tom’s Thumb. You’ll find Arizona-inspired décor, vintage signs, repurposed furniture (like bar stools made out of tractor seats), sweet kids’ books and toys, Parisian-like soaps and bath products, and unique, one-of-a-kind gift items.
 
While Tom’s Thumb sells not-so-ordinary wines and interesting craft brews, you can stop by every Thursday night from 5 to 7 p.m. and enjoy a free beer and wine tasting, spotlighting different wineries or seasonal beers. 
 
Lawson says Tom’s Thumb is a one-stop shop for a lot of people’s everyday needs. And to that point, it’s also a place for deliciously unexpected indulgences.
CHELSEA YOUNG is the associate editor of Highroads.
Nooks of comfy seating interspersed with eclectic gifts and décor
Nooks of comfy seating interspersed with eclectic gifts and décor
If You Go
Tom’s Thumb Fresh Market
9393 E. Bell Road, Scottsdale, AZ  
480-513-8186
 
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