Multitasking is nothing new, but when it comes to eating and working, North Central residents have a few creative options outside the typical coffee shop with free Wi-Fi.

How about working out, working up an appetite and then eating? If that sounds appealing, then s.e.e.d. Café is the spot for you. Located inside The Madison Improvement Club at 3802 E. Indian School Road, s.e.e.d. features locally grown produce. That produce is put into everything from Conquer The World juice (made from carrots, apples, ginger, lemon and beets) to salads such as the Kale ’Em With Kindness and the Tune-Up sandwich.

The café is owned by Mary Swanson and Andrew Varela, a mother-and-son team who have a passion for both fitness and nutrition.

Joe Meyer, the executive chef, says the vibe at s.e.e.d. is great.

“I think the most surprising thing about us being located in a gym is the amazing energy levels of our customers. You can feel the excitement and energy of our customers before and after every class. They bring an infectious positivity that creates a very unique environment.”

Since the café is open tot the public, customers are a mix of people who work out and those who don’t.

“We have customers who have eaten the same thing, every day, since we’ve opened and might only work out once or twice a week here,” says Meyer. “We also have customers who work out here every day and get the same thing.”

Every month the eatery features a juice, smoothie, salad or sandwich and some have become so popular they’ve ended up on the regular menu. For a look at the complete menu, visit

Mod brings a new twist to the old practice of “eating at your desk.” Located on the southwest corner of Central Avenue and Thomas Road, you can spend a few hours in the shared working space working and meeting and then order lunch at your desk.

Jamie Shaw is the director of brand experience. She says Mod offers several types of memberships to freelancers, independents and even groups for a monthly fee or an hourly fee. However, the public space is free to use for a quick meeting or a healthy lunch.

You can order breakfast all day, or choose from salads, paninis (the house specialty) and small plates such as bruschetta or street tacos. Shaw likes the kale salad with chicken.

“Our chef and her team make all our fresh pastries every day,” she says, adding, “We have an artichoke dip that’s really decadent.”

There also are housemade pastries created daily for those who like to indulge that sweet tooth.

Craft beer from Four Peaks is served at Mod as well as tap wines and wine-based cocktails. Happy hour runs from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. weekdays. Venture onto the patio and enjoy the nights while we still have cool weather. The public café area is just big enough to seat 10 people in a cozy setting. Don’t be surprised if someone comes over and offers you a tour of the entire space to whet your appetite for a full membership.

Still, you don’t have to be a member to rent the space for special events.

“It’s a space that lends itself to someone who wants a more modern look,” Shaw says.

Sign up for the mailing list at or like Mod on Facebook to keep posted on the many workshops and upcoming events.

Crack a book and sip some wine at First Draft Book Bar, aptly named because it’s located inside Changing Hands Bookstore at 300 W. Camelback Road. The bookstore, in turn, is located inside The Newton, a mixed-use concept that also houses Southwest Gardener, Southern Rail restaurant and Christofolo Schermer Consulting.

Inside First Draft, all the food comes from local vendors such as MJ Bread, Ambar, Espressions Coffee and White Lion Tea.

You can enjoy three types of dip: hummus, olive tapenade or Irish pub cheese, which is served warm. Soft pretzels also are on the menu as are sandwiches and salads. For a morning snack try a scone or English muffin with butter and jam. If you have an allergy you’ll find crustless quiche and even gluten-free beer.

The full bar features local brews and wine from Wilcox, Ariz. Happy hour is 3-6 p.m. Monday through Friday.

To see the full menu, visit


  • Patty Talahongva

    Patty Talahongva is a Hopi journalist, documentary producer, and news executive. She was the first Native American anchor of a national news program in the United States and is involved in Native American youth and community development projects.

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