It's been nearly 10 months since the Urban Grocery and Wine Bar at Phoenix Public Market permanently closed its doors, and although St. Francis chef-owner Aaron Chamberlin acquired the building within a matter of days, he's had to do a bit of wrangling/finessing since then with Community Food Connections (the nonprofit that continues to oversee the thriving Phoenix Public Market, as it once did the grocery) to carry out his vision for the space.
Chamberlin has secured use of the name Phoenix Public Market, and very soon now, he'll erect a massive 36-foot sign in the parking lot with those words on it. His restaurant will be called Phoenix Public Market Café, but the sign on the building will simply say "Cafe." He has also found a chef-friend to run it.
Paul Steele, an SCI graduate whose resume includes stints at T. Cook's, Tarbell's, The Silverleaf Club and The Herbfarm in Seattle, shares Chamberlin's farm-to-table philosophy. The two met years ago when both of them worked at Tarbell's.
Chamberlin says the farmhouse rustic decor will include vintage chandeliers, collectibles and custom-made tables crafted from old barn wood.
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Steele will be working with the same farmers -- McClendon's Select, Maya's Farm at the Farm at South Mountain and Two Wash Ranch, to name a few -- that Chamberlin uses at St. Francis. We can expect a Fresh Market Cuisine menu featuring rotisserie chicken, a "killer burger" and lots of veggies. Everything will be fast, casual and affordable ($10 and under for breakfast and lunch, $15 and under for dinner).
The big bar he plans to build will offer coffee in the morning and segue into affordable alcoholic beverages as the day progresses, including $5 red wines, $5 white wines, $5 beers and $5 cocktails, all of which may also be ordered by the pitcher.
Given the glacial progression so far (Chamberlin initially anticipated a January opening), he won't commit to a specific timeline for the cafe's opening, saying only that he's shooting for late spring.