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Sep 24, 2008 09:46 AM

PHX: Willo(w) House Coffee...Now Hob Nobs

The saga of Willo(w) House may finally be can only hope. You can read all about it over at New Times blog. But that's not why I'm here.

Coming home last night I saw the former WH building, which has been spruced up and looking all sorts of cute inside - furniture is all there, pastry cabinets are in. The butcher paper was finally removed to reveal the new name, Hob Nobs.

There's been a buzz about it in the neighborhood for the past month. Those of us within walking distance are clammering for good local coffee with a nice comfortable vibe that we feel good about strolling the kids and dogs to.
That being said, they will have to compete with Copper Star for my coffee dollar, but I'm happy there's something coming back to that location.

I feel like those women in the old Mervyn's commercials who would sit with their noses pressed against the door waiting for the store to open: "Open. Open. Open."

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  1. hi mama :)

    i met the owners a couple of weeks ago, and got to go inside for a quick looks really cute. they spared no expense in the remodel, and they kept all of the architectural details that makes those old buildings so special.

    the bathrooms are cool and have motion detector lights that turn on when you go inside - neato!!

    free wi-fi, the usual neighborhood coffee accoutrements. i didn't get to see a menu because they were still hashing in out. but the food will be sandwich/salad/takeaway/coffee bar kind of thing, which should be cool.

    i'm glad they came to their senses about not re-hashing the name, that would have been ridiculous

    1 Reply
    1. re: winedubar

      I got to see it early on when I sweet talked the paiting crew into letting me take a peek.

      But I found this:

      It doesn't resemble the old place, and that's a good thing.

    2. Good news about Hob Nobs. Anyone know if the tranplanted Willow House has reopened at its Van Buren location? Didn't it close a few weeks ago?

      1. The original comment has been removed
        1. Vegan boyfriend and I gave it a try yesterday. Hmmm...gotta give it a mixed review.

          It's cute. Albeit in a trying-too-hard-to-be-quaint-and-adorable sort of way. The funkiness is gone, and that's both good and bad I guess. It definitely feels like they're trying more for a Boomer/yuppie clientele rather than the former hipster contingent (classic rock music, polo-shirted staff who looked like they'd be more at home in a sports bar than in a cute coffeehouse). Whether that's good or bad depends on what category you fall into, I guess.

          There are sandwiches, etc. on the paper menus that aren't up on the board. They should do something about that. We wouldn't have known there was a vegetable sandwich option if we hadn't already seen a take-out menu before we went.

          We both had the veggie sandwich. The best part of our visit was that when my boyfriend requested "no aioli" the guy behind the register in a chef's coat piped up with "It's eggless." So hey, aioli after all!

          The worst part of our visit was that the guy in the chef's coat was the ONLY helpful staff member we encountered. Boyfriend wanted dessert after our sandwiches and when we asked a different guy (chef-coat had retreated to the kitchen I guess) if any of the pastries, etc. were vegan he merely gave us a "yeah, right" kind of grin/shrug thing. "Turnovers are frequently vegan; those aren't?" Another shrug. "You could have a bran muffin" he said. "They don't have eggs or anything?" Shrug. It was SO ANNOYING. He was smug and completely unhelpful. If he didn't know he could at least have apologized for not knowing (of course it would've been nicer if he'd tried to find out somehow).

          Oh well. The pastries looked pretty mass-produced anyway, for the most part. Not that tempting honestly.

          As for our Not great, not terrible. They tasted ok but just needed more. Wheat bread with thinly sliced, mediocre tomatoes (bad tomatoes are a huge pet peeve of mine, tho' I know good ones can be hard to find), lettuce, artichoke hearts, and black bean hummus plus the aforementioned aioli (I think that's all...can't remember for sure). Some cucumber would've been a nice addition. Something to make the sandwich a little more substantial.

          I'll give Hob Nob's another try because it is SO CLOSE to where I work, but unless the next visit is vastly improved I'm not going to frequent it any more than I did the former Willow House...which was almost never. Willow House had mediocre sandwiches and surly waitstaff. Hob Nob's seems to have mediocre sandwiches and smug waitstaff. Despite the facelift, doesn't seem much of an improvement to me.