There's no reason to be in a restaurant rut these days, with all the spots opening around town. The past couple weeks have been especially busy for the season's crop of newcomers.
The newest, two eateries from chef Aaron May, are set to open today in North Scottsdale at the Alltel Ice Den -- a neighborhood grill called 18 Degrees, and a second location of Over Easy, whose original Arcadia location is a popular hangout for waffles, chicken fried steak, and strong coffee.
Yesterday saw the opening of Hula's Modern Tiki, a contemporary spin on the classic tiki bar, with "island cuisine." Brothers Chris and Craig Delaney, of Hula's Island Grill and Tiki Room in Santa Cruz and Monterey, teamed up with Phoenician Dana Mule to renovate the distinctive, circa-1965 building on Central Avenue.
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Also in Central Phoenix, La Casita Ice Cream & Deli (2639 N. 16th St.) opened a couple weeks ago, serving ice cream, raspados, salads, and sandwiches. Everything's under five bucks and there's free wi-fi in the house-turned-restaurant.
Up the street from La Casita, Hot Rod Grill (4433 N. 16th St.) serves traditional American dishes for breakfast, lunch, and dinner in a hot rod-themed diner, complete with checkered floors, shiny vinyl booths, and an old jukebox.
Local Mediterranean mini-chain Pita Jungle just opened another outpost at Scottsdale Fashion Square, giving shoppers a more healthful option beyond the usual food court fare.
Sandbar Mexican Grill launched its third location in Chandler recently (the other two are in Scottsdale and Peoria), featuring 36 flatscreen TVs, a dancefloor, and a beachy ambiance. Also new in Chandler is Kiley's Grill, serving sandwiches, burgers, pizzas, pastas, and entrees that run the gamut from fish & chips to pork chops.