Two Hippies restaurants expanding even in tough economic times

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PHOENIX - In an economy where people are trying to keep their jobs and save money, a Valley man has come up with a concept that's not only thriving, but it's giving his customers an affordable place to eat.

“When we built this place, we felt we were doing it right,” Andy Goldstein said.

When you walk into a Two Hippies restaurant in the Valley, you might feel like you're stepping into a different time zone.

“What we say is it has to be in the '60s-'70s theme,” Goldstein said.

All of the Two Hippies are filled with tons of memorabilia and signs, many handpicked at garage sales.

“We felt there was a real need for a concept like this in town,” Goldstein said.

Goldstein and his wife are the founders. One of their many successful strategies has been to make their food affordable. At the Two Hippies Beach House located near Fifth Street and Camelback Road, nothing on the menu is more than $6.

“We do unbelievable all-beef hot dogs, tacos and burritos,” Goldstein said. “We do our lemonade.”

While all the restaurants share the Two Hippies name, the menus vary.

“Some of the new stores are going to be coffeehouses,” Goldstein said. “We're doing a store downtown, right across the street from the courthouse. It's going to be a soup place that has 10 different types of homemade soups, homemade bagels and different deli sandwiches.”

Despite the economy, Two Hippies continues to grow. There are 12 currently open for business with five more under construction.

“We're recycling locations,” Goldstein said. “They were restaurants before and we'll go in there and we'll buy the equipment that is in there and add the pieces that we need.”

Goldstein said they use Arizona-grown or organic products.

“Our purveyors are from Arizona," he said. "Our guys go and pick their own food up and bring it back. So we keep the cost down.”

In fact, other people were so impressed, they wanted to join in.

“So we waited until about the fourth store before we said to people it's available to come aboard,” Goldstein said. “It's like a co-op. I’m like their partner. I train them. I help them. I put the menu together.”

What do customers think about the new eateries?

“I do like the prices,” Duke Cox said. “I love their specials. They really do make it even cheaper and it's something unique every day.”

“They know my name,” Jeremy Corgan said. “They talk to me and it’s a really good atmosphere.”

Most of the Two Hippies restaurants only take cash. Goldstein said that way all the money stays local.