Coming Soon to Downtown: Verde
I promised not to name him yet, because he hasn't given notice with his current employer.
But if I could tell you who's opening a stylish new downtown Mexican restaurant called Verde this coming month, I would most certainly put this chef's name in bold letters. That's what I did the last time I blogged about him, and that's all I'll say about him . . . for now.
But the restaurant? Sure, I can tell you all about that. It'll be Mexican food with "no American touches," with a totally custom-made wood-burning comal (metal flat top). You'll be able to look in through a large window to see cooks making fresh tortillas.
"I want to take 'Best Tortillas' away from Carolina's," says the chef. These won't be as thin because they'll be rolled out by hand, but they'll be very tender -- "I've figured out the right ratio of fat to flour."
Expect simple, traditional Mexican braised beef and pork, rotisserie chicken, carne asada, and featured specialty items on different days.
Verde will serve breakfast, lunch, and dinner in a fast-casual format (order at the counter, and they'll deliver to your table), and will have a to-go window and concrete picnic tables outside.
You might know the location, at 825 N. 1st St -- that's up the street from Matt's Big Breakfast. It used to be a live music venue called One Place, and even had an incarnation as a strip club called Dream Dolls.
But Chef So and So has been doing an extensive all-green remodel on the early 1930s building, taking advantage of exposed brick walls, using repurposed wood and recycled plastics, and energy-efficient equipment. He's also hired local graffiti artist Dose to create a mural out back. Eventually they'll fence off the area, install a stage, and have First Friday parties.
Although the chef has worked many years in Scottsdale, he currently lives in the area and gets the edgy appeal of downtown. "I don't want to bring Scottsdale to downtown," he says. "I want this to be a nice addition to the neighborhood."
Get the Food & Drink Newsletter
Our weekly guide to Phoenix dining includes food news and reviews, as well as dining events and interviews with chefs and restaurant owners.