Every week, there's a cornucopia of new Phoenix food news, features, and reviews to report here at Chow Bella. If you're like most people, you probably just don't have the time to get to all of it. It's kind of like those burgers at Old Town Whiskey; it just won't all fit in your mouth ... or in this case, your day. So, here's a recap of some of the top stories from the week that you may have missed.
Larry White Jr. (better known as Lo-Lo) has big plans for the original Lo-Lo's Chicken & Waffles, the hugely successful business he opened in a tiny house in downtown Phoenix 10 years ago. By Labor Day weekend, the fried chicken king will have moved the original operation to a larger building next door (1220 S. Central Avenue), which he is in the process of renovating.
The original location will remain open until the new one is up and running.
White says the new location will feature concrete floors, red brick walls and a small stage, where customers will be treated to live jazz and live gospel. A separate banquet room and a private VIP room are also in the works, the latter featuring a glass wall overlooking the activity in the kitchen.
-- Nikki Buchanan
For those of you lamenting downtown's lack of exciting restaurant choices, please direct your attention for a moment to an arguably more disturbing development going on at the intersection of Seventh Avenue and McDowell Road -- an intersection that touches the F.Q. Story, Willo, and Encanto-Palmcroft historic districts -- and take a long, deep breath.
Smell that? That's the stench of the fast food dump developers are continuing to take in what could have been one of many different and more interesting solutions of what to do with this historic district intersection. In this case, favoring several national fast food chains over independent restaurant owners as a way to define "progress."
The latest victim? The My Florist building.
-- Laura Hahnefeld
When news broke last week that Urban Grocery and Wine Bar was closing, it didn't take long for the rumor to start circulating that an undisclosed chef had expressed interest in the space.
Turns out, the rumor was true. Aaron Chamberlin, chef-owner of St. Francis, confirms for Chow Bella that he has negotiated a deal with landlord Kurt Schneider and plans to transform the charming vintage building into a cafe by early October.
Chamberlin, who preaches the farm-to-table gospel with sincerity at St. Francis, says having a restaurant adjacent to the Downtown Phoenix Public Market just "fits with what we do."
-- Nikki Buchanan
Ever find yourself thinking, "Wow, I really wish there was someone who could show me around downtown Phoenix's bustling food scene. It's all so overwhelming"?
Well . . . probably not. But anyway, Taste It Tours is here to satisfy your burning curiosity about all that downtown has to offer you and your stomach. And although the company advertises "Phoenix's premier food tasting . . . walking tour," the three-hour excursion can best be summed up as a food tour, yes, but not one designed for the culinarily enlightened (a.k.a. the foodie).
The tours take diners "inside the restaurants that have impacted Downtown Phoenix's culinary scene." Developed by Jessica Combest, the company takes tour-goers to three to seven eateries. Combest, an Arizona native, decided to create her own way to share downtown culture with visitors after going on several food tours herself.
Curious, we forked over $59 for a Phoenix Walking Tour and happened to get rescheduled/upgraded to the Dine Around Tour -- a $68 value -- due to a company schedule conflict.
Read about our full experience on the "Taste It Tours."
-- Lauren Saria
So you're planning on jumping the hipster bandwagon and getting a farm animal. No judgment here -- chickens yield free eggs, goats give free milk, and micro pigs are, well, a mess, but if Clooney can fall for the real deal, so can we.
But before you start building a coop, knitting a collar, or prepping the first round of slop, there are a few things you should know. We consulted a few local experts and farm animal owners. Not all were hipsters. In fact, most weren't. But there was no denying the rising popularity of these backyard pals.
Word to your hipster. Check out a few farm animal raising tips from the originals.
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-- Claire Lawton
Don't forget to check out Chow Bella's "100 Tastemakers" series featuring Valley residents who make the cut in our culinary scene.