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Thumb’s Up for The Thumb


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Written by David M. Brown

01/2016


“Wash Up, Eat Up, Drink Up, Thumb’s Up!”


That’s written on a sign in the restaurant area of The Thumb in North Scottsdale, 9393 E. Bell Road, just a short gallop from WestWorld, site of many annual equestrian events, as well as the ultimate horsepower show, this month’s Barrett-Jackson 45th Scottsdale car auction.


For that annual automotive showcase, lines form at The Thumb, but not just for the gasoline, including 100-octane racing fuel for high-performance cars and wallets. Those who know great cars also know gourmet food, fine wines, concierge-level car-washing/detailing and boutique gifts, many found only on the shelves and floor here.


From the Loop 101, all fingers point to The Thumb, formerly Tom’s Thumb Fresh Market, for one-stop shopping and a one- off multi-tasking experience. This Jan. 13, the gas station that Phoenix Magazine named to its 2012 Best New Restaurants celebrates its fourth anniversary. And the from-scratch food is just as good today.


“Drive in, gas up, drive out, miss out,” says General Manager Michael Lawson of the locally owned company, already well known for its charitable commitments to groups such as area high schools and the Girl Scouts.


“Here you can fill your tank, get a stand-out car wash, have a great country-style breakfast, a quick lunch or dinner, to stay or to go, get work done with our free WiFi and buy unique items. Where else can you do that? And all easily in an hour?”


Where in town can you book a full car detail for your classic Ferrari or brand-new Bentley and buy a cook-book? Have breakfast, beginning daily at 7 a.m., and pick up a doggie bowl? Eat a quick dinner and purchase a hand-made miniature American diner? Purchase a ’50s-ish Royal typewriter and catch up with your e-mails on your laptop? Buy a bottle of 90-points Pinot Noir and a brisket sandwich you’ll easily award a 91?


Diners, Drive-ins and Dives thought this was a connoisseur’s convenience store when the show visited here about a year ago, Nov. 19, 2014. That show was broadcast Feb. 6, 2015, when The Thumb hosted a fill-to-the-gills live-watch party, spiking an already robust patronage.


DDD was impressed with the food, for sure.


Come 11:30 a.m., the BBQ & Grill is already bustling, with many visitors not even here for petrol or primping their cars. They’ve made the stop for the super-popular hardwood-smoked Brisket Sandwich, the Ribs, the Black-n-Bleu Cheeseburger or the Blackened Catfish Sandwich, the Texas Smoked Meat Chili or The Cuban, with pulled pork, ham and Swiss. These patrons GPS this gas station to fill up their bellies and return knowing they can fill-er-up, too.


While you make the short wait for your food and car, what gifts do you need? Find wines from stand-out vineyards such as Bogle and Markham and Simi, and spirits accessories, too, such as Riedel glassware.


Within steps of each other are beers and pool balls that are really wine stoppers and glasses that have legs as elegant as the wines’. How about a designer fragrance diffuser with a convenient gift box or Prosecco Bellini hand creams or multi-colored rock-shaped glycerin soaps?


Here, too, are old clocks and new stuffed toys; wood signs and a metal windmill for the garden; equestrian items; wraps for your shoulders and auto shades for your car; puzzles, popcorn and pillows; candle holders and darts that are really appetizer spears; and a selection of greeting cards worth writing home about. Enjoy as well seasonal items, shifting from holiday decorations to Valentine’s gifts to Halloween displays.


Second Article Image Car lovers will like the cool miniature cars that are, well, coolers. As woodies and VW buses and vintage bed trucks, these hand-made metal pieces, with moving wheels, are imported from Australia. “You’ll find unique items you just won’t find anywhere,” says Colette Taylor, the store’s merchandiser/buyer. One is an attentive mannequin who will listen to anything you ask her.


Of the store’s 60 employees, a group of car pros not only listen but do so attentively for any marque: Lambo, ’Vette or Smart Car. Under the guidance of Service Manager Ken Sharp, greeters welcome you at the canopy where your vehicle’s peregrination begins, either through the tunnel, or if it’s a Veyron or Bentley or similar, to the hand-wash area.


“Ours is the highest level of service,” he says. Even the basic wash at $16.99 is expertly completed, and the multi-hour full-monty detail of $299 returns your car to a from-the-factory look, with an aroma to match.


“The customer experience is the key at The Thumb,” Sharp says. “We want each of our customers to be wowed –– from the moment they walk in the front door until we close their car door for them.”


The Thumb, 480.513.8186, thethumb.com.



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