A few weeks ago we headed up to Claire’s Cafe in Catalina at the suggestion of Paul Hopman, who exhibits his scratchboard art there. Our friend Patty joined us. We got there, perhaps around 12:30. It was definitely lunch hour, even though it was the weekend. Or perhaps it is like that all day until it closes at 2 pm. The place was quite full of people and small. I, being somewhat claustrophobic, felt somewhat uncomfortable at first, having spent the last 2 years avoiding close proximity with people in confined spaces in general. But, having gotten my 3rd booster, I felt empowered to get back to some sense of normality. The friendly staff including Claire greeted us kindly.
We had come for the food and to see the Art Gallery, all of which was for sale. I suppose that is what separates a gallery from a museum. We picked a booth in what looked like a hallway and sat down. We were promptly greeted heartily by a young waitress and delivered menus. The place was quite hectic at lunch so we stayed put rather than wander around looking at the art above people’s heads while they were eating. Jim had a really good blue cheese hamburger. I was not very hungry, so I ordered the chili. Not too spicy, I have since decided that chili is not my favorite anymore. There is not much difference in taste from one to the other. Spicyness, yes. Taste, not so much. So without the toppings, it is all the same to me.
Jim and Patty had the Bleu Cheese Burger. They both thought it was great. But who wouldn’t as long as it has Bleu Cheese on it.
And so, after lunch, the place had cleared out quickly. I got up and wandered around looking at the art and specifically looking for Paul’s scratchboard work. It is all the way in the back straight from the entrance door. There were a few originals, but mostly Giclée’s, a term for a type of Jet printing on either paper or canvas. Expensive but less so than originals, which in Paul’s case take hundreds of hours to complete. Just take a look up close sometime. It is painstaking work sometimes requiring a magnifying lens to complete.
Claire is a silversmith by training. There is also jewelry shown in the little shop as well as some pottery, which was my degree. That and watercolor, a lot more forgiving, you just go through a lot of paper to get a good painting.
All in all, Claire’s is an interesting place, for talk, food, or shopping for art, an interesting combination. It brings Fine Art to the table, so to speak. Go visit, it is worth the trip. Say hi to Claire for us.
PS: I recently met some women who worked there, cooking and waiting tables before it was Claire’s. They talked about some of the old clientele, one in particular who packed mules up Mt. Lemmon back in the old days.
Claire’s Cafe & Art Gallery
16140 N. Oracle Rd. Catalina, AZ
Tuesday – Sunday 7am – 2pm