Our Story

When we decided to open a café inside of Merchant Square, we knew it wouldn’t be a generic franchise, it had to be something special. We built our store around vintage craftsmanship and antiques, it was important to us that our restaurant and the food created there fit seamlessly into the nostalgic style we’ve created here.

One thing we’ve learned at Merchant Square is that “you can’t fake vintage”, because as you know, “they don’t make em’ like that anymore.” Vintage goods and craftsmanship is built to last for generations. It’s made logically, so if something breaks it can be repaired and continue to be used. We built both our Café and our menu in honor of that vision.

You Can’t Fake Vintage

We decided to pull together the best materials of the last century to create our Café, many of them coming from the old American Way Market, which was the first Safeway in the valley, back in the 50’s. When they closed their doors, we bought their signs and some of their furnishings, including the vintage 7-Up sign, now proudly displayed on our wall.
We bought the smoker from the original Bill Johnson’s Big Apple in downtown Mesa, after they closed.
In Idaho, we found a beautiful Coca-Cola sign from 1949.
In Tempe, we found a beautiful egg hatchery built of handmade brick, we bought those bricks and they are now a beautiful wall in our café.
We found an antique soda chest from the 1950’s in Salt Lake and put it back to work.
In Buckeye AZ we found a 50’s dance hall and re-purposed their booths for our seating. We also found 60 year old dining chairs in an old schoolhouse in California for our floor seating.
For our counters, we re-purposed beautiful timber from an old church in England.
To make our large sliding barn doors, we reclaimed old scaffolding planks.
We found beautiful windows on an old house in Phoenix and fit them into our walls.
Finally, we built the remainder of our walls with 100 year old timber from the Pacific North West.

When you enter our Café, you get to experience our living antique. We built our café to last, every part of American Way Café has proved its strength and usefulness over decades of hard use and we are confident that in its new home the tradition will continue.