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BULLETDining Archive
Featured Dining LocationTwo Hippies Beach House is located at 507 E. Camelback Road in Phoenix. For more information, call 602-277-0399.

© Richard Maack

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Peace, Love & Carne Asada
It looks like something from Venice Beach, circa 1967, but Two Hippies Beach House is so much more. Among other things, the food is far out.

By Maryal Miller

Phoenix You have to admire a place like Two Hippies Beach House, which, despite having a mantra that's more Ginsberg than Gestapo and has all the square footage of a tree house, is more than capable of taking out a wide range of adversaries — unpretentiously and in a way that only a kitschy-cool Central Phoenix eatery could.

"When I was a kid growing up in Buffalo, my grandparents, who lived here, gave me a subscription to Arizona Highways," says Two Hippies co-founder Andy Goldstein. "The images of Arizona were so beautiful. Arizona's been good to my family and me, and with the Beach House, we're just trying to return the favor by creating a place to relax, unwind and enjoy good food."

Now an official transplant to the state he loves so much, fifth-generation restaurateur Andy (Hippie One), his wife, Kim (Hippie Two), and their brood, in true Flower Child form, have managed to defy all conventional limitations by blending seemingly unrelated genres — hot dogs and gringo-fied tacos — under one hut-like roof. It's a psychedelic fusion that requires only the use of the palate to understand.

As for the adversaries? The first is the fustian critic who quivers in unenlightened fear as soon as he gazes upon the Beach House's casual, walk-up ordering bar, random smattering of vintage trinkets used as decor, brown paper serving bags and weather-worn picnic tables. Sure, the aesthetics might be reminiscent of a Venice Beach snack stand, circa 1967, but what's inside is anything but pedestrian.

On the beach, you won't find ingredients that are 90 percent locally sourced, baked white cod in your fish tacos, whole black beans instead of their refried counterparts, tender, all-white-meat chicken stuffed in football-sized burritos, carne asada that tastes like short ribs, or diners who dedicate entire weekends to visiting the neighborhood haunt. No matter, the hippies welcome the potential of a convert, and, as Andy explains, "You might come here a customer, but I guarantee you'll leave a friend."

Speaking of which, Andy recalls the night a "notable" rock band stopped in after performing in town, and compared the Beach House's eclectic offerings to that of Pink's, the legendary Hollywood hot-dog hotspot. Andy, of course, beams at such acclaim. Yet, it seems important to point out that Pink's menu doesn't include the rare cactus taco, or some of the hottest hot-dog-topping jalapeños you'll ever ingest. Nor does it serve freshly baked-from-scratch brownies (a hippie delicacy) or, more importantly, entirely organic veggies to top those pups. We won't say that Two Hippies puts Pink's to shame, because they'd surely like to coexist with their coastal comrade in blissful hippie harmony, instead of as adversaries, but distinctions must be drawn.

Which leaves the final adversary of the House of Hippie: little Suzie with her lemonade stand. The hippies' 15 different flavors of sweet, slush-like concoctions rival the best fresh, housemade lemonade this side of the Mississippi. If Suzie sets up shop anywhere near their passion-fruit, blood-orange, kiwi or — Andy's favorite — desert-pear confections, she'll quickly learn the hard lessons of commerce. Not to worry, though, you can always flip her a pity quarter and pass the peace sign on your way to the car after grubbin'.

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