Come be social

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Everyone loves gathering with friends, taking time to wind down and chatting in a familiar setting. Socials Cafe and Catering provides that kind environment.

"It is a place to come and gather," said A.J. Priest, co-owner of the establishment.

A.J. Priest and Alan Findley opened Socials 11 months ago at 119 Themis St.

Findley attended the Scottsdale Culinary Institute. His mother, originally from Key West, Fla., influenced Alan in the art of Cuban cooking. Findley was also born there, but moved away when he was a child.

Priest earned a degree in environmental design. The cafe's classy decor reflects his tastes. He has culinary experience as well from working as a line cook for 10 years for a restaurant chain.

The cafe has three separate rooms: the main dining area, the lounge and the garden room.

The main dining area, with its chocolate-colored walls is decorated with pictures of cups with steaming drinks. Near the entrance, a coffee cup is painted on the floor. Jazz and blues play in the background.

The lounge, which resembles a den with its comfy couch in front of a fireplace, provides customers with a place to curl up with a newspaper or a good novel. The room also contains a bookshelf with many types of novels, which you can read while there.

The garden room, which provides a springlike setting. It has white iron tables with matching chairs and a wooden bench with lattice work and a trellis climbing up its side.

Along with its eye-pleasing decor, the cafe has a palate-pleasing menu.

Findley desserts bakes fresh daily. The pineapple upside down cake is especially popular, as are the cinnamon rolls.

"Alan is a good chef. He makes it just the way you like it," said Barbara Horn, who frequently eats at Socials with her husband, Paul.

Dixie Burnett said Socials is a treat when she wants to enjoy a meal prepared by someone else.

"It is like eating at home, but I don't have to cook it," she said.

The cafe, which began as just a coffee shop, has expanded to a full menu restaurant and a catering business. Socials catered the Bridal and Prom Expo along with several weddings.

The menu is fairly flexible because the owners try to meet customers' requests.

Socials Cafe and Catering is open from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday to Friday and 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday.

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