Another month, another handful of painful goodbyes to Phoenix dining institutions have left us near heartbroken. However, with some exciting new restaurants hitting the scene this month as well, it almost makes up for having to let go of some favorites -- almost.
- The Local, Phoenix The Local just opened last Thusday on the northeast corner of Roosevelt and Third Street downtown and it's already getting us excited with innovative flavor pairings in their craft cocktail menu and some equally unique dishes. Case in point, the crispy pig ear pad thai, which ditches noodles all together and let's the crunchy, fatty, decadent pig ear play the main role in the dish.
- Il Capo Pizzeria, Scottsdale "The restaurant, which has been open for a few weeks, also offers housemade charcuterie, salads, calzones, and panini. Pizza is available by the slice ($4) in varieties such as classic margherita and Diavolo, with tomato sauce, fennel, sopressata, chills, and ricotta."
- Henry's Private Kitchen, Mesa "Henry's Private Kitchen's menu features more than 200 items, many of which are hard, if not impossible, to find elsewhere in the Valley. Some of the highlights include bittermelon and pineapple hot pots, yin tsai (Chinese spinach) and fresh bamboo, and Taiwanese-style sauteed beef."
- Sazon Bachata, Phoenix "You'll find el menu de hoy -- or "the menu today" -- written on the front chalkboard wall. It contains items like tilapia en coco ($9), bistec en casuela ($19), and pollo guisado ($8). Breakfast options include steamed yucca, fruit smoothies, eggs, and mangu, or mashed plantains."
- J-Licious Tasty Teazy Taqueria, Phoenix "Earlier this year we told you that J-Licious Food Truck was taking things brick-and-mortar with plans to open a restaurant on Roosevelt Row. Well, the time has finally come, and now owner and chef Jordan Keane and her mother, Lynne R. Kean (she goes by "MaMaJ"), are ready to open the doors to J-Licious Tasty Teazy Taqueria."
- Momenti Pizzeria, Phoenix "Momenti Pizzeria will be serving five different types of 12-inch personal pizzas: cheese, margherita, pepperoni, sausage and pepper, and white. That's in addition to the option to "make your own masterpiece" by selecting from a list of toppings that includes anchovies, bacon, basil pesto, Canadian bacon, caramelized onions, pineapple, and more."
- Sip Coffee and Beer House, Scottsdale "Sip Coffee and Beer House, located at 3617 North Goldwater Road, is now open and serving a small menu of breakfast and lunch items, caffeinated drinks from Cartel coffee, craft beer, wine, and a menu of cocktails written by a certain well-known mixologist."
- Second Story Liquor Bar, Scottsdale "Above the Old Town Scottsdale location of Gelato Spot, Plato's built an intimate restaurant with a cool retro vibe. Plato describes this new spot as "Mad Men-inspired" and story-driven, which means you can expect an impressive lineup of classic cocktails that compliment (if not outshine) the menu of well-composed food."
- Pizza Studio, Phoenix "The Los Angeles-based chain is one of a handful of fast-casual Subway (or Chiptole)-style pizza spots to open recently in the Valley. Like the other restaurants, Pizza Studio invites diners to create their own pizza -- or, uh, "masterpiece" -- by selecting crust flavor, type of sauce, and a variety of other toppings."
- Stadium Sports Grill, Tempe "We knew it was going to be an uphill battle in that location," Manager Erron] Halen says. "But we're going to separate ourselves from the other concepts out there and from the past concept."
- Panera Bread, Phoenix "The fast-casual restaurant is known for its freshly baked bread and serves ingredients such as antibiotic-free chicken, whole grain bread, and some organic and all-natural ingredients. The menu includes a selection of bagels, breakfast items, sandwiches, pastas, salads, and paninis."
- Wimpy's Paradise, Chandler "Wimpy's Paradise -- which specializes in old-fashioned burgers and ice cream -- opened its doors at 48 South San Marcos Place in Chandler on Friday, February 14. "
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- Tacos Atoyac, Phoenix "The restaurant, owned by Oaxacan Pablo Lopez and Chilean-born Dan Maldonado, opened in 2010 and has become known as one of the Valley's best places for excellent, affordable street-style Oaxacan food -- think, tacos, tamales, and a "heavenly mole.""
- Karsh's Bakery, Phoenix "The bakery, owned by Arnie Garnder, has been a Valley staple for decades and is one of only a handful of bakeries to be overseen by the Phoenix Va' 'Ad Hakasruth, a community-based non-profit kosher supervising agency. For many, it's been a go-to spot for specialties such as hamentaschen, fruit-filled shortbread-like triangles traditionally eaten during Purim; mondel bread and chocolate; raspberry and cinnamon-nut rugalach."
- Squash Blossom, Phoenix "Owners Brian and Carrie Lester opened the restaurant in the former PastaBar space in June 2012. The couple had been in the catering business for years prior to opening the restaurant and said at that time that they were hoping to focus on lunch and breakfast dining."
- Pittsburgh Willy's, Chandler "East Valley residents might know Randy Walters as the owner of Pittsburgh Willie's, the hot dog spot inside Chandler's Merchant Square Antique Mall. That shop closed its doors last month after a five-year run, but don't fret, because as we told you in July, Walters has plans to open a new hot dog-centric restaurant just two miles away from the original spot."
- Coronado Cafe, Phoenix "The restaurant will become Urban Vine: Kitchen|Hops|Grapes and will offer a "small tapas-like menu" priced between $10 and $30. Expect local brew, craft beers, unique cocktails, gourmet sandwiches, and locally sourced ingredients."