In celebration of the opening of Betty Alatorre's gourmet Mexican popsicle shop, Paletas Betty, on Mill Avenue, our foodie friends at Chow Bella did some big dreaming.
And we totally agree; Tempe's main drag could definitely use all of the droolworthy stops suggested on Chow Bella's Mill Avenue Wishlist
. But we also know that the Tempe avenue is thirsty for a few great art and culture stops.
We're not talking chains or pie-in-the-sky concepts (we'll save that list for later); instead, we'd love to see a few of our favorite local businesses jump the town lake, avoid the alligators, and set up shop.
Here's what's on our Mill Avenue wishlist:
1. Red Hot Robot
Mill Avenue's in the front yard of one of the largest universities in the country that has more than a few creative and geeky students in attendance -- a perfect opportunity for the local gift and collectible shop on 16th Street in Phoenix.
We love RHR for its cool selection of locally designed cards and funky toys, as well as custom munnies, dunnies, and every DIY vinyl toy in between. And we think the hip crowd in Tempe will, too.
2. Revolver Records
The Tempe Ave is also in need of another kind of vinyl. Revolver Records is a Downtown hotspot for vintage records and new-releases as well a kickass collection of vendors during artwalks on First Fridays. Now if we could send a little more of that energy (and music) to the east side ...
Sure, Mill Avenue has Z-Tejas and Canteen, but they've got nothing on Sidebar's margarita. The bar on Seventh Avenue in Phoenix is ultra-cool, throws great happy hour events and has rotating shows by local artists.
4. Night Gallery
The Night Gallery's one of our favorite local showcases of student artwork. Every month, the experimental space gives the public an opportunity to see the latest from students in the music, dance, visual arts, theater and film programs. The downside? It's buried in the often-avoided Tempe Marketplace. Get those students some prime-time exposure and bring the art (back) to Mill Avenue.
There's no shortage of alcohol on the college-kid street, but there's plenty of space for independent cinema. MADCAP's closed for the summer due to a busted a/c system (no word on when it's reopening) and Harkins Valley Art could use a nearby alternative ... with better popcorn.
Michael Todd's 10,000 sq foot space in Phoenix is a heaven for vintage treasures -- and a place in which we could escape from the heat (or from class) and spend an afternoon perusing the shelves.
7. Lost Leaf
Yeah, we know. All Mill Avenue needs is "another bar." But Lost Leaf is different. It caters to the more relaxed (read: not fraternity) crowd and specializes in craft beer and wine. No keg stands or funnels, just great drinks, cool artwork and great live music ... all of which we'd take over a $3 Long Island in a plastic cup on a Friday night.
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