It's been a tumultuous few weeks for the restaurant at The Clarendon Hotel in Phoenix. Last week restaurant operators Doug and Denise Robson announced that Gallo Blanco, which had been located inside the hotel since 2009, would stop operations as of January 31. The closure, according to the Robsons, came as the result of a long-term dispute between their company and the hotel.
Clarendon Hotel owner Ben Bethel stated at that time that the restaurant would remain open, though under a new name and with a similar but different menu. Now he's announced the name of the hotel's new dining concept. A new menu debuted at the restaurant just yesterday.
The former Gallo Blanco space is transitioning to Café Tranquilo at The Clarendon Hotel and Spa. To help develop a new menu and recipes, Bethel has brought in Dan Maldonado of Mucho Macho Taco and the now defunct Tacos Atoyac.
The menu includes dishes such as ceviche, posole, salads, tacos, tortas, burgers, and breakfast entrees like chorizo con huevos and chilaquiles.
"The best news is that we have the same people cooking the food and serving the food as before, so there's not a drastic change in the operations, but we have a few surprises up our sleeve, such as a vastly expanded outdoor patio area to open in a few days," writes Bethel in an email.
Other plans for the future of Café Tranquilo include opening early (as in, 7 a.m.) for breakfast, which will be complemented by coffee drinks from Lux. Bethel writes that the necessary equipment should be installed within the next week or two. As at Gallo Blanco, breakfast will be served all day.
Bethel says he also plans to have the restaurant stay open until 2 a.m. serving a different late night menu, though that change won't go into effect until "we get everything dialed in."
Café Tranquilo will also have daily specials and separate dessert and drink menus.
As for the rooftop patio, Bethel says it will be called El Techo and will be open to the public from 4 to 10 p.m. starting February 13. There will be live music three nights a week and possible appearances from "Hip Historian" Marshall Shore.
See the new menu on the next page.