It was a great year for restaurant openings in Metro Phoenix, with more than a hundred new eateries throwing open their doors. There were exciting new fine dining concepts, and a smattering of hole-in-the-wall discoveries to savor. The year was not without its share of losses though, as we saw the shuttering of dozens of restaurants, metro Phoenix restaurant scene.
Nonna Urban Eatery, Scottsdale
Nonna Urban Eatery opened in a tiny, elegant space in the heart of Old Town Scottsdale, bringing with it a welcome dose of artful, eclectic, globally inspired cuisine. The restaurant’s lunch and dinner menu shifts with the seasons and seems to change frequently, often incorporating local ingredients. On any given visit, you are as likely to encounter smolderingly rich chicken mole tamales as you are homemade pasta served with a Genovese pesto. But no matter what chef Gian Franco Brugaletta is cooking up in the kitchen, chances are your meal will be refined and delicious. Desserts are a highlight at Nonna Urban Eatery, so make sure to leave room for the chef’s assortment of seasonal sweets.
The Whining Pig, Arcadia
The third location in this chain of wine and beer bars, the Arcadia spot is on East Indian School Road. Food offerings include a pretty impressive selection of grilled cheeses.
Halal Guys, Tempe
New York City transplants, rejoice. You don't have to hop on a plane to grab the city's ubiquitous chicken and rice, served from carts on corners across the city. Instead, just head to the standalone location on Rural Road in Tempe — the first Arizona-based brick and mortar location of the famous food truck.
Original Carolina's Mexican Food, Avondale
Carolina's, a longtime Valley favorite for casual Mexican cuisine, headed west this year, expanding into Avondale. The newest outpost offers all the same classics — homemade tortillas, enchiladas, menudo, and more.
Ladera Taverna y Cocina
Ladera Taverna y Cocina is the latest effort from Genuine Concepts, the team behind stylish neighborhood outposts like The Vig and Linger Longer Lounge. For its first foray into Mexican food, the group has tapped executive chef Jorge Gomez, who riffs on regional Mexican cooking with considerable panache. Don’t skip over the drink menu, which has fun with traditional Mexican cocktails. The Margarita en la Casa, for instance, is paired with a full-size fruit paleta that you can suck down, or simply let melt right into your drink. Highlights include the savory green chile and cochinita pibil tacos. The pork on the latter is slightly sweet and full of deep, earthy garlic notes.
The Dressing Room
Don’t be fooled by The Dressing Room’s tiny menu and limited square footage. This “micro-restaurant” on Roosevelt Row happens to be one of the most satisfying new restaurants around downtown Phoenix. The menu is described as “food from streets, beaches, carts, and trucks,” which essentially translates to casual and creative globally inspired fare that includes burgers, tacos, and salads. The house RoRo Burger, a saucy, well-cooked burger squeezed into an English muffin, brilliantly dressed in a sweet-spicy Russian sauce, already seems to be destined to become a local classic. Try it with the restaurant’s heavenly, ultra-fresh miso slaw. The Peruvian ceviche salad, meanwhile, is a crisp, texture-rich, delicious antidote to warm weather. Don’t leave without trying the house dessert: a churro ice cream sandwich featuring a thick slab of vanilla ice cream cemented between two sugar-encrusted, freshly fried churros.
MJ's BBQ — Chicken & Fish
There's a new barbecue joint to try in Central Phoenix. MJ's is on the southeast corner of Washington and 24th Streets.
Jobot Coffee & Diner, Phoenix
That's showbiz, folks. One month you're on our closings list and the next, you've got a shiny new location right on Roosevelt Row, replacing Oliver's Sophisticated Bean.
Even Stevens, Tempe
The sandwich place with a philanthropic philosophy continues its expansion into Tempe, after recently opening a location in central Phoenix.
Blaze Fast Fire'd Pizza, Phoenix
Picky about how you top your pizza? Blaze is a part of the customizable pizza trend sweeping Metro Phoenix, now on the northeast corner of Bell Road and Ninth Street.
Rehab Burger Therapy, Tempe
In a move that will definitely appeal to the "hungry college student" demographic, Rehab Burger Therapy is now serving up burgers on Sixth Street, right off Mill Avenue.
Hachi Ramen, Tempe
The Valley has a solid new spot for ramen, courtesy of Hachi Ramen in Tempe. This friendly neighborhood ramen shop offers four basic bowls — tonkotsu, shoyu, miso, and a house bowl called the Hachi Special — along with delicious sides like homemade karaage chicken, which is beautifully battered, juicy, and tender. Tonkotsu broth, the baseline test for many ramen connoisseurs, is rich, creamy, and porky, without being too salty. Hachi Ramen also delivers a highly flavorful miso broth, which beautifully complements the kitchen’s wonderfully melty slices of chashu pork belly. Don’t leave without trying the sesame balls, which are kindly dispensed as a complimentary treat by the chef.
The menu, described as “Italian-American,” is earnest and unflashy. And this is what makes Dieci so satisfying — it’s a red-sauce Italian joint of the sort that’s become increasingly rare in recent years. You have more than likely eaten this type of food countless times before, but at Dieci, a bowl of pasta is capable of inspiring fresh delight. You most likely came for the pasta, which is arguably the restaurant’s strongest selling point. Baked rigatoni lands on the table bathed in the simple but rich house pomodoro sauce. The kitchen is prudent with the pomodoro and ricotta cheese, which allows the flavor to cling to the pasta without overwhelming the noodles. Butternut squash ravioli is dazzling with three oversize raviolis floating on brown butter sauce, the dough pressed into seamless, perfect circles, which delicately hold the sweet, nutty flavors of the squash. A few fried leaves of sage perfume the butter sauce, and a generous scattering of pine nuts add a layer of nutty, rich flavor and texture. This is a hidden gem, in the most literal and rewarding sense.
Breakfast Kitchen Bar, Scottsdale
Scottsdale does not seem to be in short supply of breakfast places: Joining chains like First Watch and The Breakfast Club, Breakfast Kitchen Bar offers a smorgasbord of options, including all the classics.
Weft & Warp Art Bar + Kitchen, Scottsdale
Hotel restaurants are not usually associated with culinary ingenuity, but Weft & Warp Art Bar + Kitchen delivers surprisingly refined and creative Sonoran-inspired flavors at the new Andaz Scottsdale Resort & Spa. The menu, developed by chef Adam Sheff, plays with desert ingredients and flavors in a way that rarely feels contrived. You’ll find simple but refined small plates like Arizona-grown Medjool dates, sliced and served with fresh cream and pistachio crumbles, and Crow’s Dairy goat cheese dumplings, rolled in dark onion ash and served on a buttery tangle of spaghetti squash. Highlights from the small, well-composed dinner menu include a whole roasted chicken paired with a dark, earthy adobo sauce. The Sonoran “risotto,” made with local wheat berries, wild rice, and quinoa, is inventive, richly textured, and surprisingly indulgent.
With the debut of Restaurant Progress back in February, the Melrose district finally got the neighborhood restaurant it deserves. This intimate 37-seat spot brings seasonally inspired fine dining airs to a commercial district known mostly for casual diners and bars. TJ Culp, the restaurant’s chef-owner, is one of the city’s most impressive young culinary talents, and nearly everything about his first restaurant already feels well-honed. The modern American menu, which changes monthly, offers around a dozen dishes that include cold appetizers, hot and cold small plates, and entrees. There is also a five-course chef’s tasting menu available for $75. Dinner might begin with something like a crudo of yellowtail, a sophisticated dish featuring meaty hunks of hamachi paired beautifully with a bright, creamy scoop of avocado puree. Octopus and pork belly, a mid-course plate on a recent visit, featured a lovely muddle of white beans flecked with herbs. No matter what’s on the menu, though, chances are you’ll be regaled with smart, confident cooking.
Thai Delight, Phoenix
The Ahwatukee restaurant offers Thai cuisine on Chandler Boulevard, with vast lunch and dinner menus.
Taste of Thai, Phoenix
Taste of Thai distinguishes itself from the glut of good-not-great Thai joints around town with a menu that encompasses both Thai standards and harder-to-find specialties. The small family-owned strip mall restaurant in Ahwatukee is a good place to sample Thai beef jerky, a flavor-packed and spicy beef appetizer that pairs great with sticky rice. There’s also sai oua, a wonderfully fragrant northern Thai pork sausage accented with turmeric and herbs. You’ll also find an excellent crispy duck salad dressed in a lovely, bright citrus dressing. Along with deep Thai cuts, Taste of Thai also delivers excellent renditions of takeout staples like pad thai, tom yum soup, and a strong selection of homemade curries.
The poke trend continues its expansion, now with this restaurant in Tempe.
The 5-Spot, Phoenix
We're intrigued by the concept of the 5-Spot, which promises $5 food and drinks every day from open until closing time.
Outta Bronx opened on the Southeast corner of McDowell Road and 40th Street, promising "New York-style street food" like pastrami and other gooey, meaty sandwiches. But, the owner Aziz Othman warns, "don't come here if you're on a diet."One of the signature offerings at Outta Bronx is the Chopped Cheese sandwich, an ultra-savory loose-meat Angus beef sandwich that's become a cult favorite and bodega staple in Harlem and the Bronx. It's an un-fancy, simple, and very good meat-and-cheese hot sandwich that comes wrapped in a paper sleeve and sits in your stomach like a log. You get the sense that some bored, ravenous teenager left to his own device would invent something like this, stuffing every favorite and available snack food into a single hot, fluffy French roll. So, yeah, it's pretty great.
The Rooster Tavern, Scottsdale
This rooster-themed bar in north Scottsdale near the Scottsdale Airport serves meatball sliders, wings, and other American bar fare.
Dolce Vino Wine Bar Italian Cuisine, Glendale
Dolce Vino promises live music on its website — that plus a varied wine list could make for a decent night out for those seeking Italian cuisine.
Modern Market Eatery, Scottsdale
This sit-down eatery in Scottsdale offers food to those following strict diets, including paleo, celiac, and vegan-friendly fare.
Poke Spot, Scottsdale
Just in case there weren't enough options in the area to try the new Hawaiian poke trend, Poke Spot has just opened on Scottsdale Road in north Scottsdale.
A chic, high-energy modern osteria from celebrity chef Scott Conant and restaurateur Stefano Fabbri, Mora Italian was the most high-profile opening of the spring. The dining room is spacious and lively, but the real attraction is the menu, which is steeped in the approachable, modern Italian cooking that has become the hallmark of Conant-brand restaurants. The shareable antipasti most closely associated with Mora Italian is the grilled octopus ceci. You’ve had a decent octopus salad before, maybe, but this one is extra-tender, yet also pleasantly chewy. Pork Milanese, a popular house entree, yields an extra-succulent, skillfully cooked pan-fried chop served with gravy-like brown butter on the side. The restaurant offers bread cart service, and the homemade focaccia di recco is reason enough to stop in for dinner.
Pho Vn Vietnamese Cuisine, Phoenix
It looks like there's a lengthy list of pho at this new restaurant in Phoenix on the corner of Thunderbird Road and 19th Avenue.
613 Grill, Phoenix
Get ready for a kosher grill option in Phoenix, right on Seventh Street between Glendale Avenue and Bethany Home Road.
Another location for the Tex-Mex chain — this time on Indian School Road.
Haldi Indian Cuisine, Phoenix
The menu includes dosas, a southern Indian dish that consists of a filled pancake, made with a special kind of batter.
3 on Smith Cafe (formerly called The Smith Cafe)
Acacia Cafe is gone, but in its place we now have 3 on Smith Cafe, a sweet little breakfast and lunch spot that opened this spring in Arcadia. The café comes to us from the same folks behind Base Pizzeria, which explains the laid-back Aussie slang on the menu. “Brekie” dishes are available all day, including The Queen Mother, a deliciously hearty take on a traditional English breakfast. The oversize platter comes with a couple of eggs done your way, a juicy, herb-scented link of Schreiner’s sausage, gorgeously crisped-up cubes of potato, and some roasted mushrooms and withered tomatoes on the side. For flavors that run more local, the green chile bowl is wonderful. The slow-cooked pork is gorgeously savory and spicy, and so tender and soft that you can eat it with a spoon. Local ingredients, cheerful service, and a great breakfast menu are already turning The Smith Café into one of Arcadia’s most indispensable brunch spots.
Sam Fox's newest restaurant in on 44th Street and Indian School Road is a crowd pleaser featuring a slightly bizarre concept of rotisserie chicken and pizza. Pizzas are cooked in the restaurant's enormous wood-burning oven, the centerpiece of the restaurant's open kitchen, and feature Bianco DiNapoli organic tomato and Central Milling organic flour. The pies are more creative than traditional, with options like Asian Chicken, Bacon & Truffled Eggs, and Crispy Pastrami. The prices will be higher than you might normally pay for, say, a half-rotisserie chicken. But you don't really go to a Fox restaurant for the value. You probably go for the same reasons that fast food and chain restaurants are so deeply comforting — you know more or less exactly what to expect. At a Fox restaurant, that means a certain level of service, and classic dishes dressed-up with culinary panache. The menu reflects a something-for-everyone philosophy, so that everyone from your vegetarian sister to your steak-loving dad to your pizza-obsessed friend will probably be appeased.
El Panzon y Frida, Scottsdale
Color us intrigued by a new tapas destination on Shoeman Lane in Old Town Scottsdale. The ambitious menu offers grilled octopus served with spicy aioli and pomegranate, a goat cheese mousse with red wine compote and smoked lamb pastrami on rye.
J's Kaiyo Sushi + Bar, Scottsdale
In the strip mall on Miller Road near Old Town, this restaurant is the newest in the competition to dominate Scottsdale's sushi scene.
Ahipoki Bowl, Tempe
The poke trend has made it to ASU's part of town, with Ahipoki Bowl opening up on Rural Road next to the new Halal Guys restaurant.
This new spot in Goodyear is dedicated to serving "coffee and sandwiches," according to its minimalist website. The menu also offers an interesting mix of vermicelli, rice bowls, and tea.
Bush's Chicken, Glendale
The new fast-food chain hails from Texas, serving up your traditional fried-chicken meal combinations.
Smokin Fins, Chandler
With sushi, soup, and other fish dishes, a lot is offered on the modern menu at this seafood-themed Chandler eatery.
Handlebar Diner, Mesa
Chef Adam Allison brings food truck ingenuity and a flair for Southern-tinged cuisine to his latest effort, the Handlebar Diner at Mesa’s Eastmark community. The candy cane-colored vintage diner is a charmer, but the main attraction is the expansive breakfast, lunch, and dinner menu. House-made pastries, bagels, breakfast burritos, salads, burgers, and sandwiches are more refined and creative than what you’ll find at most neighborhood spots. Don’t miss the loaded, house-made tater tots. For dinner, the menu gets a little more Southern, with entrees like buttermilk fried chicken and smoked ribs. The Handlebar Burger, a half-pound Angus beef beauty smothered in melted white American cheese, grilled onions, and deliciously sluiced in the diner’s tangy Comeback sauce, is wholly satisfying.
Blaze Pizza, Phoenix
The customizable pizza chain's newest location is on Central Avenue. The restaurant celebrated by giving away free pie on April 14.
Doner Dudes, Tempe
European-style kebab may finally be catching on in the States. Kebab is perfect for when you're extremely hungry — a pile of slow-roasted meat, typically served on a thick wrap.
Pieology Pizzeria, Phoenix
Another customizable pizza shop opened in Phoenix in April. Pieology is on the southeastern corner of Bell Road and Ninth Street.
Berdena's offers trendy menu items, such as avocado toast and muesli, judging from its Instagram account.
Naked BBQ, Scottsdale
This new barbecue joint near McCormick Ranch looks promising, with menu items like beef ribs and brisket.
Hurts Donut Company, Tempe
What goes better than a college town and a doughnut shop? Hurts Donuts is a great fit for Tempe, serving up candy-covered gourmet doughnuts. Plus, it's open 24/7.
Elvira's Belizean Cafe, Chandler
The small Central America country of Belize has a culinary canon that reflects the influence of ancient, rustic Mayan foods, modern Mexican street fare, and trade-town-style Caribbean dishes tinged with Spanish and African touches. The staple dish of Belize, a hearty plate of coconut rice and beans served with a tangy, black pepper-heavy potato salad, fried sweet plantains, and rich, stewed chicken, is a good representation of the country's food culture. In Chandler, you can get your first taste of the real deal at Elvira's, which opened this year. Simple and homey, their star dish has nothing spicy or exotic about it. The rice and beans are topped with shredded coconut and laced with black pepper. The plantains prove to be a lovely, sweet counterpart to the subtle chicken, and the potato salad is perhaps the most flavorful element on the plate, with the potatoes and boiled egg dancing in a creamy, slightly sweet and tangy dressing along with chopped onions and small beans.
Aishiteru Asian Bistro, Phoenix
This new Asian fusion spot on Cactus Road offers a pretty decent sushi special, according to its Yelp page: three rolls for $11.95.
Chicago-style deep-dish is officially a trend in Phoenix. Dress is casual and the menu is approachably Italian-American, with classic appetizers, like minestrone and fried calamari, and not-so-usual ones, like an eggplant burrata bowl and deep dish nachos. A handful of salads, three sandwiches, and some pasta dishes round out the offerings. There's also pizza. A Gino’s Supreme ($25 for a medium) offers a buttery, golden crust that crumbles only slightly under the weight of all that cheese, Italian sausage, onions, peppers, and mushrooms. The mozzarella is ooey, gooey, and delicious; the pleasant crunch of a green pepper or sweet bite of Italian sausage was present in every mouthful. This is knife and fork pizza, in the best way possible.
Aloha Poki Company, Phoenix
There are definitely more than a few options for poke, the raw-fish salad that hails from Hawaii. Aloha Poki Company's bowls are $9.95 for two scoops of fish.
Zabari Mediterranean Grill
Ever since London-based, Israeli-born chef Yotam Ottolenghi published his cookbook Jerusalem in 2012, Israeli food has been steadily taking hold in American cities. At Zabari Mediterranean Grill in north Phoenix, the Israeli eats are more traditional than the freewheeling Ottolenghi’s. But they can be just as good. Falafel are a homerun, 10 out of 10 perfect. The spheres have a deep mahogany crust on the outside with an interior that approaches a mashed potato level of softness. A heady dose of parsley imparts a shade of green. Baba ganoush at Zabari’s is minimally smoky, which allows the cool dip to bring maximal eggplant flavor. You can taste some garlic and salt, alongside faint smoke and perfumey eggplant. A mixed grill plate provides the best one-dish tour of Zabari. That dish comes with three salads, two scoops of sticky rice the color of buttered popcorn, and a pile of four meats, including long slashes of thin-sliced chicken breast, hunks of grilled steak, beef kebabs made of ground meat mixed with garlic, paprika, peppers, and other flavorings, and the shop's highlight: shawarma.
At this new spot in central Phoenix, 20 rotating draft handles pull local suds from metro Phoenix (Papago, Grand Canyon) and down south (Tucson's Sentinel Peak and Borderlands; Tombstone Brewing Company). OG reaches beyond the Sonoran, too. For a craft beer spot, the food menu is serious. Chow down on a sandwich of crab and scallops folded into a brioche bun with fennel slaw. OG also cooks burgers and steak frites, Bavarian pretzels and French fries with pork belly and cheese sauce. The bar also serves some two dozen cocktails made from wine, beer, and sake.
Casa Anejo, Phoenix
You don't have to drive far in Phoenix to find the alluring combination of tacos and agave cocktails. Casa Anejo in central Phoenix makes your search that much easier, and they have killer frozen mezcal pina coladas to boot. The restaurant is being opened by the same people behind RnR and Stock & Stable.
Tacos Tequila Whiskey, Phoenix
Like we said, it's not hard to find tacos and tequila in Phoenix, and now there's another option in the Arcadia neighborhood. The restaurant started as a Denver-based food truck and expanded from there.
Pasto di Forno, Scottsdale
Old Town has a new option for Italian, with a menu offering casual eats like bruschetta, paninis, and flatbread.
The Original Rainbow Doughnuts, Scottsdale
This spot offers traditional doughnuts, plus a few more curious variations like a s'mores doughnut topped with marshmallow icing and graham crackers.
The Grande Stand, Scottsdale
In the spot where infamous Amy's Baking Co. used to stand is now The Grande Stand, an outpost of The Stand burger joint in Arcadia.
Pho Gia Dinh, Chandler
This Vietnamese restaurant is now open, and there's more than pho at this spot, according to the eatery's Facebook page.
Sunny's Breakfast & Lunch, Chandler
The classic diner is expanding from its original Tempe location.
Joey's PSG, Mesa
Looking for soup, pizza, and sandwiches in Mesa? Joey's is gunning to be your next one-stop shop at lunchtime.
Carolina's Mexican Food, Mesa
There's nothing like Carolina's homemade tortillas. And now fans can grab them at a new location in Mesa, plus other popular menu items.
Mucha Lucha Taco Shop, Fountain Hills
Fountain Hills has a new spot for tacos — the already popular Mucha Lucha Taco Shop, which has several locations across the Valley.
Ramen Dozo, Tempe
Perfect for the college crowd, Ramen Dozo offers sushi and a few ramen combinations at competitive prices.
Poke Wave, Tempe
The poke trend may not have peaked just yet, Tempe now has at least two spots for the Hawaiian fish dish, with the addition of Poke Wave on Ray Road.
The Vig, North Scottsdale
The popular local chain added a fifth location on Bell Road (and sold its Fillmore location). Fans can expect to find the same casual fare, including burgers, fish tacos, and a wide assortment of appetizers, that are found at the other Vig locations, but this branch will also feature views of the McDowell Mountains from a massive patio with outdoor games, fire pits, and lockers for those heading off for a pre- or post-dinner hike.
The camp-themed restaurant, one of the newest spots on the Seventh Street restaurant corridor, is located next door to Joe’s Midnight Run. The restaurant encompasses more than 5,000 square feet, and it feels even more spacious by virtue of high ceilings and lots of natural light. The food and drink menu is sprawling, with typical American fare like burgers, sandwiches, salads, and a full pizza menu. There are appetizers and entrees designed to appeal to both grown-up palates (smoked steak tartare) and younger diners (pretzels with cheese). On the drink side, you’ll find camp-themed cocktails, including a chocolatey, s’mores-inspired drink that involves a server setting your marshmallows on fire. Even if you're not normally a fan of theme restaurants, especially those that lean heavily on novelty, the charms of Camp Social are pretty hard to resist.
MAS Peruvian Restaurant & Bar, Tempe
Tempe's newest answer to Peruvian food cravings is serving Peruvian-style whole chicken, ceviche, arroz con pollo, and papa a la huancaina.
Press Coffee, Phoenix
Coffee fans rejoice — Steve Kraus has opened his latest coffee joint on Central Avenue and McDowell Road, for Phoenicians looking for cold brew, pour-over coffee, and espresso.
Wine & Design, Scottsdale
A new creative studio and wine bar has opened in Scottsdale offering painting classes with local artists — and lots of wine.
When in Rome, Scottsdale
Tomaso Maggiore's newest concept is a Roman-style trattoria on Scottsdale Road. The 5,000-square-foot space is serving up spaghetti cacio, mozzarella boards, and veal saltimboccaalla Romana.
The Organic Bean Cafe, Mesa
A family-owned, health-conscious cafe opened in Mesa, offering a large selection fair trade coffee, vegan, gluten-free, and ketogenic-friendly snacks and meals.
Pita Jungle, Queen Creek
The local favorite added a new location on Rittenhouse Road with an outdoor patio and a full bar. Fans can expect their favorite dishes, including hummus plates and Mediterranean-style wraps.
Yaki Ramen, Phoenix
Chef Johnny Chu of Red Thai and Shabu Fondue has opened a brand-new restaurant. This time, it is a ramen-centric joint, featuring yakitori and soup dishes, including tom yum, tonkatsu, and red miso.
One of the newest places to get your poke fix has opened in WTF Express, a food court near Buckeye Road and 10th Street in Phoenix.
Sushi Sen, Scottsdale
Japanese dishes, including sushi rolls, sashimi, tempura, hot pots, and nigiri are now being served at this new spot near Scottsdale and Indian Bend roads (in the former ShinBay location).
Scottsdale gets its own edition of the cool science chain that turns liquids to tasty solids in seconds with liquid nitrogen.
Spice Spirit Chinese Cuisine and Bar, Mesa
A traditional Chinese spot on Main Street in Mesa (in what was supposed to be a branch of Chicago chain Lao Sze Chuan) offering Sichuan-style lamb chops, Peking duck, and spicy cabbage.
Gangnam BBQ, Mesa
A new Korean BBQ spot (all-you-can eat starts at $19.95 per person) is now serving up traditional and grilled dishes near Southern Avenue and Longmore Road.
Aloha Poki Company, Tempe
The latest location of Aloha Poki is now open in Tempe. The fast-casual spot specializes in build-your-own poke bowls with bases of salad or rice topped with a choice of seafood and toppings like wonton strips, jalapeño, and daikon sprout.
Freezer’s Ice House, Tempe
Tempe gets a 20,000-square-foot spot with 30 pool tables, darts, and arcade games along with draft beer and a full food menu.
Modern Market, Phoenix
The Colorado-based restaurant chain is now open in Ahwatukee Foothills Towne Center, serving up brick-oven pizzas, salads, soups, and combo plates.
Poke 2U, Tempe
Mill Avenue gets yet another place to get your poke fix near Fifth Street. Build your own barbecue or poke bowl with an assortment of toppings.
Chef Doug Robson of the well-regarded Otro Cafe had been working toward reopening his beloved Gallo Blanco restaurant since it shuttered in early 2015 after Robson and his wife, Denise, decided to "part ways" with their landlord, the owner of The Clarendon Hotel. The new spot in the Central Phoenix historic neighborhood of Garfield, at 928 East Pierce Street, serving breakfast, brunch, and lunch featuring dishes like chilaquiles, menudo, and pan dulce. One of the most standout dishes is the La Bomba sandwich (translated to English, La Bomba means, roughly, "da bomb."). Robson grates queso chihuahua onto a griddle, melting it, letting the ultra-thin disc sizzle until golden and crisp. This hot wafer of grilled cheese gets wrapped around al pastor pork. The whole rolled mass fills house-made telara bread, with a few finishing touches (lettuce, mayo), and comes on the plate cut in half.
Original Cuisine, Mesa
The second installation of this Sichuan-style Chinese restaurant (the first is in Irvine, California) took over a fast-food spot on Broadway and Dobson roads. Original Cuisine serves up spicy stews and kimchi, as well as an assortment of stir-fry and traditional dishes from its open kitchen. The essential appetizer here might be the pork belly with garlic sauce, which features pounded-thin sheets of the rich meat, layered with paper-thin slices of cucumber. The long, thin strips are draped enticingly over a wooden rack, just begging to be picked at and dipped into an accompanying dish brimming with garlicky sauce. The presentation is dramatic, but it’s the ludicrously rich flavor of the meat, amplified by the pungent dipping sauce, that you’ll remember most fondly.
New Wave Market, Scottsdale
Since last year, Country and Sergio Velador, the pair behind Super Chunk, that Old Town baked goods utopia famed for treats like mesquite chocolate chip cookies and super-addictive caramel corn, have been talking about expanding operations to include a dessert bar. Nine months later, they opened the New Wave Market, an 1,100-square-foot, light-filled cafe and market place adjacent to Super Chunk. The new breakfast menu features items like Country's fresh-baked sourdough bagels topped with fresh cream cheese and lox; a challah roll fried egg sandwich layered with thick-cut bacon and topped with fresh pesto; and downright sultry French toast, made using her pineapple Hawaiian bread, topped with whipped mascarpone and fruit preserves. The lunch menu includes bistro-style, sourdough pizza, and on the desert front, new ice cream flavors, like Zak's single-source chocolate, cake scraps, and Peixoto coffee, are featured on a rotating menu along with freshly-made waffle cones that come in plain, chocolate, and pretzel.
Cheers, pizza fans: The Chicago-based pizzeria opened on Chandler Boulevard and Desert Foothills Parkway in the former Unwined spot. The third location (the other two being in Gilbert and Queen Creek) features a 15-seat community table and a wide selection of wine and beer on tap.
Refuge Café, Phoenix
The latest addition to Sky Harbor comes with a charitable bonus. The local coffee shop and wine bar opened its second location inside Terminal 4 with breakfast, lunch, and dinner options. The concept is connected to Catholic Charities Community Services and supports programs and services that benefit veterans, homeless, and foster care.
Press Coffee Roasters, Tempe
Lucky residents of Tempe’s Nexa Apartments (as well as the public) can now get a caffeine fix at the latest installment of Press Coffee Roasters. The popular coffee spot features small-batch roasts as well as specialty drinks and cold brew. It’s open from 6:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday.
Kona Grill, Scottsdale
Scottsdale gained the latest edition of the popular chain that started in Scottsdale and is now located in 23 states and Puerto Rico. The newest location in Scottsdale Quarter is serving up their classic Asian and American cuisine with an assortment of cocktails.
Ahipoki Bowl, Phoenix
Poke fever continues. At CityScape in Downtown Phoenix, Ahipoki Bowl opened its fifth Valley location. The outpost serves poke using the now-popular build-your-own-bowl approach. Ahipoki has further expansion plans on tap for 2018.
The Covenant is a swanky new restaurant and bar from local restaurateur Carri Gardner. The restaurant's kitchen, which is framed by a striking black-and-white mural, is entirely open, which means some diners sit in the full flicker of the restaurant's 900-degree, wood-fired oven. The menu, described as eclectic New American, brings together upscale happy hour fare (a charcuterie board featuring locally made sausage seems to be emerging as a house favorite), wood-fired entrees, cocktails, and a pretty deep wine list. One of the most interesting starters is an octopus salad, served with pickled veggies, roasted potatoes, and lush, spicy hunks of chorizo. The chef's recommendation, however, is a fire-braised short rib served with a mirepoix-inflected farro risotto.
Masterpiece Coffee + Donuts
Tom and Sheri Schrader decided that there is nothing better than a fresh, warm doughnut with a great cup of joe, so they designed a fried-to-order, customized doughnut assembly line in an airy space in Arcadia. Choose between the likes of the Monet, which was glazed, topped with sea salt, and drizzled with caramel; a Kahlo, iced with chocolate and drizzled with espresso; Vermeer, a chocolate overload of icing, pearls, and drizzle; or the Pissarro, a vanilla-iced, graham-topped, cinnamon-drizzled doughnut. Alternatively, design your doughnut at an iPad station, choosing from a range of icings and toppings, including vanilla, chocolate, strawberry, maple, and glaze icing; toppings like rainbow sprinkles, chopped peanuts, and so on. Order coffee while you wait for your treats to come from the fryer.
California-based pizza chain MidiCi has brought its gold-tiled, made-in-Italy ovens to Desert Ridge Marketplace. The fast casual eatery has high ceilings, futuristic drink dispensers, and a deep roster of affordable pizzas that ranges from standard (Margherita) to funky (shrimp scampi). A MidiCi pizza is akin to that of a traditional sit-down Neapolitan pizza restaurant with light-crusted, fancy-ovened pizzas priced from from $7.50 (Margherita) to $13.50 (for truffles and other good stuff). But the most brilliant thing about MidiCi may not be the pizza itself, but all the gratis toppings. MidiCi has a sidebar where a bounty of toppings await: fresh basil, dry wild oregano, chopped garlic, chile-infused oil, and the list goes on and on.
OBON Sushi and Ramen, Scottsdale
Founder Brandon Katz’s Scottsdale Quarter eatery playfully draws dishes from Asia, the Pacific, and even Italy. Ramen, bibimbap, steamed buns, poke, and carpaccio are all on the menu. Chef Paul Im has developed a crudo lineup that cannot be found in OBON’s Tucson location.
The second location of upscale Vietnamese restaurant, Rice Paper, in the Hotel San Carlos in downtown Phoenix, closed in May. The restaurant's original location on Seventh Street in the Coronado neighborhood was housed in a renovated bungalow, and became a local favorite for upscale Vietnamese food and cocktails when it opened in 2011. But it closed for good last year. It was the second of the Tran sisters' restaurants, the first of which was Saigon Kitchen, a traditional Vietnamese restaurant in Surprise. However, we hadn't heard the last of Rice paper, and in August, the restaurant returned to Coronado, reopening in a bungalow a few doors down from their original location.
6 Degrees, Scottsdale
This 320-seat gastropub recently opened in Scottsdale's Gainey Village. It's headed by chef Jose Morales, a longtime veteran of the Chicago dining scene. The restaurant's name head-nods to the six degrees of separation theory, which holds that any one thing is related to any other within six steps. This concept is reflected in the menu, where various world cuisines are fused.
Forno 301, arguably one of the best pizzerias in town, closed earlier this year, but was revived in September at 1616 North Central Avenue, across the street from the Phoenix Art Museum. The restaurant will be keeping its old staples and has added a few new items, such as scratch-made pasta options.
Glai Baan, which opened near 24th Street and Osborn Road in Phoenix, specializes in Thai street food, and the regional cooking of northeastern Thailand. You'll detect an obsession with big, bold flavors across the menu, with ingredients like garlic, basil, kafir lime, and Thai chiles skillfully deployed to achieve compelling and refined seasonings, sauces, and curries. It's an exciting menu, one that evokes memories of Bangkok street stalls, or maybe late-night snacking at famed West Coast Thai spots like Pok Pok in Portland or Night + Market in Los Angeles. The menu is divided between about a dozen small plates and a half-dozen entrees. Traditional family-style dining is encouraged. The entree menu is composed mostly of northern Thai-style noodle and rice dishes, including a take on kao soi, a popular curry dish that's closely associated with northern Thailand. The broth hints at layer upon layer of spice — garlic, coconut, turmeric, definitely ginger. With its refined take on Thai street food, and a strong menu of regional Thai dishes, Glai Baan has become, quite suddenly, one of the most exciting and distinctive new restaurants in metro Phoenix.
Gen Korean BBQ, Tempe
This sleek, contemporary restaurant serves Korean classics like beef bulgogi (thinly sliced beef marinated in a sweet sauce), joomulluk (short steak marinated in sesame oil), and spicy pork bulgogi. Savory dishes in soy or fish-based marinades highlight the menu and feature chicken, shrimp, and calamari. The daring can opt for baby octopus or daechang (cow intestine). And get this: The menu is all-you-can eat. At Gen Korean BBQ, guests get to prepare their own meats over a circular stove set in the center of the table, making for a truly hands-on dining experience. Rice, salad, and other sides are included. Beware: there’s a five dollar charge for every dish you order and don’t finish.
Frank & Lupe’s Restaurant
The newest Valley outpost of this New Mexican restaurant has opened on East Chandler Boulevard in Phoenix.
PDQ, Paradise Valley
Another first for Arizona, PDQ (People Dedicated to Quality), an "all-natural" chicken strip fast food restaurant, opened on Cactus Road in September. The restaurant's homemade strips and nuggets are served in salads, by themselves, and/or on sandwiches along with homemade dipping sauces.
A new bingsoo parlor has landed in town. The place specializes in the milky Korean shaved ice dessert. If you dig Korean barbecue and want to taste other elements of the peninsula's cuisine, head over to North Dobson Road in Chandler at the aptly named Snowtime.
The District on Apache has a hip new Thai restaurant serving affordable combo lunches, classic curries, soups, and noodle dishes. Bonus: They also have a selection of Asian beers on draft.
The Local Chandler, Chandler
This sports bar featuring pub grub and craft brews on tap opened on West Chicago Street in Chandler earlier this month. Burgers, sandwiches, and tacos dominate the menu. A plethora of TVs make this spot a prime-time option for a game.
Nirvana Indian Cuisine, Scottsdale
Scottsdale has a new Indian and Pakistani food option on North Northsight Boulevard. The restaurant offers a laundry list of stuffed breads along with other South Asian classics. Not sure what to order? Hit the lunch buffet to sample a bit of everything.
B2 Burgers & Brews, Chandler
Fancy a peanut butter and bacon burger? How about a pineapple burger? This new spot in Chandler has an eclectic menu of hamburgers ranging from basic to the bizarre, even slinging a dessert burger (no beef involved, thankfully). As the name implies, more than 20 beers can be had on tap.
Georgie’s Diner, Fountain Hills
Fountain Hills now has a classic Greek diner to satisfy cravings for gyros, huge salads, and other classic diner comfort foods. Breakfast is served any time of day.
Dim Sum Cafe, Mesa
Dim Sum any hour? Yes, please. This small restaurant on Alma School Road also offers affordable lunch combos featuring Chinese-American standards. The real draw, though, is the dim sum dumpling selection.
Waldo’s BBQ, Gilbert
This Mesa-based barbecue joint and catering company opened a new location in Gilbert in the space formerly occupied by Harvey American Public House.
Arizona BBQ Company, Gilbert
September was a good month for barbecue in Metro Phoenix, with two openings, including this casual spot for the likes of half-pound brisket sandwiches, smoked chicken, green chile mac and cheese, and house-smoked chicharones. The menu is much bigger than that of your typical 'cue spot. You can even find a salad or two.
PHO KC, Glendale
There is a new option in the Valley for pho, banh mi sandwiches, and all manner of spring rolls at PHO KC, which opened on September 21 on 59th Avenue in Glendale. Go for the pho, stay for the mì hoàng thánh tôm (egg noodles with pork wontons and shrimp).
The Breakfast Nook, Cave Creek
Despite what the name may suggest about size, this new restaurant serves a variety of strawberry Swedish pancakes, Benedicts, and waffles. It offers a sizable lunch menu that includes the likes of half-pound burgers, Reubens, Cobb salads, and carbs sourced from Scratch Bakery as well as local La Canasta tortillas.
Love Hawaiian BBQ, Glendale
With a menu that clearly reflects the Japanese influence on the diverse food scene of the Big Island, this family-run spot looks to be a great place to get a taste of the Hawaiian food native islanders grew up with. We're especially excited about the pulled Hawaiian pork and crispy katsu chicken.
Sasaki Sushi & Bar, Scottsdale
The Scottsdale Civic Center Mall welcomed a new tenant this month. Sasaki is serving a myriad of sushi rolls, ramen, and snacks like gyozas. Plus, as they announced on their Facebook page this week, "Come to see us, we serve alcohol now."
Cold Beers & Cheeseburgers, Glendale
Last month Glendale got its own outpost of this popular burger joint, which opened on West Deer Valley Road in mid September. Many TVs make the place great for games.
Yan Grill And HotPot, Mesa
Each table at this new hot pot and Chinese kebab restaurant is outfitted with its own grill (and venting system) upon which you can grill the likes of spicy beef, pork, or lamb cubes; chicken hearts; intestines; or enoki mushrooms wrapped in beef. The skewers are placed on a rotating grill, so you don't even have to flip them yourself. The hot pot selection is vast, with single-serving options available.
Barrio Café Gran Reserva
Silvana Salcido Esparza has reopened Barrio Café Gran Reserva, unveiling an all-new menu at the avant-garde, 30-seat Mexican restaurant. Half the menu is now vegan, with many of the new ingredients coming from Mexico. On the vegan side of the menu, Esparza smokes yams for six hours and dressing them in syrup made from piloncillo, fresh brown sugar. She mixes salsa from xoconostle, a sour kind of prickly pear. She purées xoconostle and plates the purée with nopales from the same plant, or with fish. The “omnivore” side includes dishes like duck carnitas in quince salsa. The tasting menu costs $42 for five or six courses.
2601 on Central
2601 on Central has filled the void left on Central by the now-defunct Corduroy, by offering a range of comfort food and craft cocktails. Their menu is described as cross-country regional and they aim to bring comfort food from around the country and combine it with Southwestern influences. Their signature dish, the meatloaf, boasts a hearty blend of ground beef and chorizo and can be ordered as an entree or sandwich. The bar has at least five different varieties of craft cocktails and plans to change the offerings seasonally. The bar makes their own simple syrups for the cocktails, including some unique flavors like lavender and sage peppercorn.
Mowry & Cotton, Scottsdale
A posh new restaurant has opened in The Phoenician. Mowry & Cotton is being headed up by chef Tandy Peterson, who is cooking "regional, ingredient-driven modern American dishes." The menu has rusticity, avant-garde elements, and style, like a beet starter with mustard greens and smoked onion yogurt, lamb tacos with harissa, smoked ribs with snap pea slaw, a hangar steak with pickled blueberries, and hand-sliced bison carpaccio.
"Craft popcorn," small plates like burrata and short ribs, a couple of salads, and a few boozy deserts keep the food side of the menu simple, while the focus at this new south Scottsdale joint is clearly on the craft cocktails and beer, and boutique wine offerings. The cocktail lounge is located inside the ASU SkySong Campus in Scottsdale and features a large bar area, an outdoor patio, and booth seating.
Manna BBQ, Mesa
Phoenix is having an all-you-can-eat Korean barbecue explosion this year, and the latest to burst on to the scene is an outpost of the California Korean barbecue restaurant Manna, which opened on Dobson Road in Mesa. There are two AYCE options, one for $21.99 and a "premium meat selection" for $28.99, both of which are served along with a spread of banchan condiments.
Ghett’ Yo’ Taco, Chandler
A fun new casual street taco shop has opened in what used to be Yoli's Cafe in Chandler. The exterior is striking, as it was painted by a local artist, and the menu keeps things simple with five taco options, sides of rice and beans, chips, guac, draft beer and micheladas.
A new location of the popular Barrio Queen restaurant (originally launched by Silvana Salcido Esparza, though she is no longer involved with the brand), has opened at the Desert Ridge Marketplace at 21001 North Tatum Boulevard in Phoenix. There are already pretty heavy waits at the new location, so it's best to call and book ahead.
Steak And Stone, Gilbert
With a new location in Mesa, this restaurant is quickly expanding; a Gilbert location opened in October. The concept is simple: steak, seafood, and chicken is cooked on a 500-degree stone at your table. All hot-stone proteins come with access to the salad bar and hot bar. Speaking of bars, the restaurant has an extensive wine list, draft beer selection, and craft cocktails to round out their offerings.
Yu Tian Xia Hot Pot, Mesa
Heat-lovers take note: An authentic Szechuan hot pot restaurant has opened at 1948 West Broadway Road in Mesa. Select from various meats and veggies to cook in spicy broth. Szechuan peppercorns lend their signature numbing effect to the dishes. Take heed, even the mild has a little zing. Hot pots come with a myriad of dipping sauces to choose from on their "sauce bar." They don't have a website yet, but you can call for more details (480-508-6059).
Michael’s Pizza, Gilbert
Gilbert now has its very own New York-style pizza joint. In early October, Michael's opened on Warner Road, dishing up large, thin-crust pies, massive bowls of pasta, and some really serious calzones.
The third location of this well-known, micro-chain barbecue joint has opened at Camelback Road and 32nd Street in the posh Biltmore area.
North 75th Avenue has a casual new option for Greek fare like spanakopita, gyros, shawarma, and mussels. The restaurant also serves things like chicken fingers and hamburgers, but if the name is any indication, the Mediterranean specialties are where it's at.
Philly Steak & Gyro, Glendale
West-siders gained a new option for hearty sandwiches with the opening of Philly Steak and Gyro on Glendale Avenue. In addition to their namesake sandwiches, they also offer jalapeno poppers, cheese sticks, hot wings, and burgers.
Snooze An AM Eatery
The latest outlet of the wildly popular, Denver-based breakfast chain is now opened in Ahwatukee on Ray Road. If it's anything like the other trendy branches, people will be queuing for the likes of Breakfast Pot Pie (flaky puff pastry smothered in rosemary sausage gravy and topped with an egg).
Sauce Pizza and Wine, Queen Creek
The newest branch of this pizza and wine bar has opened in Queen Creek, serving up wood-fired pizza, salads, sandwiches, along with a full bar.
Scotti’s Market & Eatery, Tempe
A Chicago-style deli opened on the corner of McClintock Drive and Warner Road in Tempe. The shop turns out Italian grinders, Chicago-style hot dogs, gourmet grilled cheese, Italian sausage, and a huge case full of colorful salad options.
Health-conscious Arcadia residents now have their very own ProteinHouse on Indian School Road.. The fast-casual restaurant offers plant-based protein bowls, packed with tofu, quinoa, sweet potatoes, squash, chickpeas, cauliflower, and other healthy carbs; burger options with creative, carb-less bun options like collard green wraps and portobello mushroom buns; and a laundry-list of no-sugar-added beverages ranging from cold-press juices to protein shakes. Nutritional information for every dish is listed on the menu.
Good Bad Ugly Brewing Co., Glendale
Brewing started back in September at Good Bad Ugly Brewing Co. (GBU for short), and now there are four beers ready for sipping in the brewery, which is housed entirely inside another restaurant, Tavern + Bowl. GBU can only be reached by walking through the restaurant. One set of the brewery's windows, which surround the 10-barrel operation, looks onto eight of Tavern + Bowl's bowling lanes. There they are serving an IPA (of course) brewed with a citrusy trio of hops: Green Hornet, Simcoe, and Mosaic; an American Stout made using roasted barley and two kinds of malt; an unfiltered wheat beer is brewed on its own and also is the base for specialty wheat beers like lemon-blueberry; and an American lager.
Mission Possible Cafe
This socially conscious cafe was opened and is operated by the Phoenix Rescue Mission as part of its ongoing initiative to help those struggling with homelessness, addiction, and trauma. Many of these folks have limited employability due to current hardships and lack of job experience. Run entirely by people in tge rehabilitation program, the cafe serves casual Mexican fare, like burritos and enchiladas, as well as fresh-baked cookies and coffee. The food is good, and the cause is even better, making this a great new downtown lunch option where you can make a difference while having a meal.
Homer’s Smokehouse BBQ, San Tan Valley
This new mom-and-pop barbecue joint in San Tan Valley is only open on Fridays and Saturdays from 11 a.m. until the meat runs out. Whatever they're smoking must be good, because it seems to have run out by midday their entire first month of operation.
Nelson's Meat + Fish
The market, run by Chris Nelson, provides a range of high-end meat and fish products, many flown in from far parts of the country and world. Nelson’s sells upscale dry goods and prepared foods. Ryan Laufenburger, lately of Brat Haus, makes the prepared food: cold, ready-to-go eats like poke, ceviche, nicoise, and lobster rolls. Noble Bread has developed a bun for Nelson's poke bahn mi. Sauces like cocktail, remoulade, and chipotle-sour-orange mignonette are made from scratch.
Poke Hale, Gilbert
The poke bowl trend continues with a new spot opening on South Gilbert Road at Crossroads Towne Center. The shop offers the usual poke options in a bright, casual space with plenty of seating. No website or Facebook page yet, so call the restaurant for more details (480-209-1895).
Royyim Thai Cuisine, Mesa
Mesa has a brand-new Thai joint serving up the likes of crab fried rice and Hok May Talay, a seafood dish featuring fish, mussels, scallops, and shrimp in a kaffir lime-scented red curry.
Another branch of this health-conscious mini-chain opened this week in Gilbert on East Pecos Road.
Talo’s Mexican Food, Mesa
Mesa now has a new alternative to the 'Berto's fast-casual Mexican chains with this new chimichanga and burro joint at 10861 East Baseline Road. Specialties include menudo and rolled tacos.
The latest of the wave of Korean barbecue joints to open in the metro area is this stylish, decidedly upscale restaurant on North Black Canyon Hightway. Serving up down-home Korean specialties, Korean barbecue, and sushi, the restaurant might become your go-to spot for bibimbap, kalbi, and the generous spread of pickled Korean side dishes that accompany every order.
LIMóN Tacos & Tequila
This upscale, fast-casual taco and burrito joint is now open on West Dove Road. Pick your toppings then find a seat, Chipotle-style, and don't forget to grab one of their monster margaritas to wash it all down with.
Chennai Cafe, Glendale
Craving south Indian specialties like masala dosa and Malabar fish curry? Then you're going to want to make the drive to Glendale to check out this new regional Indian restaurant.
Another pizza contender has entered the ring on Thomas Road and 64th Street in Scottsdale. In addition to gourmet pizzas, the restaurant offers house-made pasta, salads, and a slew of starters like calamari and cured meat plates. They have a full bar and daily happy hour specials.
This new addition to the modern Indian scene in Phoenix is serving up South Asian dishes in the form of bowls, wraps, salads, and tandoori barbecue platters, with a focus on fresh ingredients and vibrant flavors.
Claudio Urciuoli, who cooked at Noble Eatery for four years, has opened a new restaurant: Pa'La. Pa'La offers "dishes that reflect the seafood, grains, and vegetable-driven coastal cultures of the Mediterranean and South America", and the menu changes every single day. That menu is divided into three sections: tapas; schiacciata (Tuscan flat breads); and an entree-like section of rice, grains, and fish. Urciuoli uses wood-fired heat sources to cook all of Pa'La's food. There's a wood-fired oven. There's also a wood-fired stove where he cooks with cast iron pans on top and — as in his youth back in Liguria, Italy — places food directly on the coals inside. Fish are sourced from Mexico and the West Coast, and the chef uses Arizona grains and local produce at this much-anticipated new spot.
Scottsdale has a new breakfast joint on East Via Linda, serving up the likes of creme brulee oats, Spam breakfast sliders, and churro waffles. If breakfast isn't your thing, they also have a solid lineup of sandwiches and burgers.
QC Junction Cafe, Queen Creek
Queen Creek has a bright, airy new cafe serving up specialty drinks, baked goods, and the house specialty, fresh-baked Righteous Rolls, which come stuffed with sweet or savory fillings.
Poke Fuzion, Mesa
This new poke joint adds its own twist with chipotle-style, build-your-own sushi burritos. Choose from fillings like spicy tuna, salmon, or tofu and go to town with your add-ins and toppers. The shop also sells poke bowls, boba tea, and macaron ice cream sandwiches.
BBQ HOUSE All You Can Eat Korean BBQ, Mesa
This long-awaited AYCE Korean barbecue joint has finally opened in Mesa. In addition to the usual suspects, the restaurant is offering Angus prime brisket, which is said to be fire.
New York Bagels N Bialys at SkySong, Scottsdale
Metro Phoenix gets another location of this bagel spot. The menu, full of Jewish delicacies like blintzes and bialys, should satisfy all kinds of doughy cravings.
The Human Bean, Tempe
With two drive thru lanes and a monster lineup of hot, cold, and frozen drinks, this new coffee shop is poised to be the most popular source of caffeine-to-go in Tempe.
Seed Shack, Gilbert
An honest-to-God, 100 percent vegan restaurant is now open on Baseline Road. The spot features dishes like truffle macaroni and cheese (cashew mozzarella), topped with their rice-based "bacon" bits, which are also featured on the "bacon burger", specialty hummus, and cauliflower chickpea tacos.
Famous 48, Scottsdale
This new spot on Scottsdale road is serving up a wild mash-up of American regional foods, with dishes like Nashville hot chicken sandwiches, baby back ribs, shrimp Louie, and Doritos nachos.
Cien Agaves Tacos & Tequila, North Scottsdale
A new branch of this long-time Old Town restaurant opened on East Mayo Boulevard this month serving favorites like queso studded with chunks of pork and tomatoes; crispy shredded chicken and beef tinga tacos; ceviche; and a laundry list of margaritas.
H O T House Of Tacos, Tempe
Mill Avenue has a new bar and taco shop offering the namesake food by-the-taco or by-the-pound alongside freshly made tortillas. The spot features taco Tuesday specials and Friday fiesta drink deals in its large, well-designed space in the heart of Tempe.
Ahipoki Bowl, Gilbert
This poke chain keeps on growing with its newest location open now on South Market Street in Gilbert.
Henhouse Cafe, Mesa
Mesa residents now have a new breakfast and lunch spot to scratch their comfort-food itches. The Henhouse menu features a breakfast meatloaf, chicken-fried steak, and an array of soups, salads, and wraps.
List coming soon!
Oliver's Sophisticated Bean, Phoenix
It was a short stint for Oliver's Sophisticated Bean, which opened early last year, now replaced by downtown favorite Jobot Coffee & Diner.
The iconic Macayo's on Central Avenue is officially closed and the building is being readied for a tear-down. We hope you managed to sneak in a last-minute visit to say goodbye to an orange piece of Phoenix history.
On May 5, one of Phoenix’s most historic restaurants – Tom’s Tavern – closed its doors after 87 years. In a statement to New Times, chef/owner Jim Gallen said, “Walking away from a life long dream is never simple. The complexity of operating an 88-year-old restaurant in today's restaurant environment proved to be too difficult to overcome with just good food and good service."
Owner Abdul Chaara told New Times that business at the McDowell Road location of Couscous Express dropped off after the election, prompting his decision to close the restaurant's doors for good. We will miss the complimentary mint tea and mini date shakes, the giant tureens of chicken and lamb. And, of course, the couscous.
Remington's Restaurant and Lounge, Scottsdale
Remington's Restaurant and Lounge at The Scottsdale Plaza Resort offered its final service after three decades on the Valley's fine-dining scene. The place was long a destination for holiday meals, jazz concerts, and even high school proms.
The Herb Box, Phoenix
The Colony location of the Herb Box on Seventh Street shuttered last month. There are two other locations of the Herb Box still in operation, both in Scottsdale.
Rice Paper, Phoenix
The second location of an upscale Vietnamese restaurant, Rice Paper in the Hotel San Carlos in downtown Phoenix, closed in May after the first location in the Coronado neighborhood closed last year.
Crab & Mermaid, Scottsdale
A food truck remains, but the brick-and-mortar location of the Crab & Mermaid has officially closed in Old Town Scottsdale. The restaurant was open for a little more than a year.
Moonshine Whiskey Bar and Grill, Tempe
The Mill Avenue bar closed at the very end of May, with one final celebration. There's rumors that the space may undergo a rebranding and reopen at the end of the summer.
British Open Pub, Scottsdale
After 14 years slinging pints in Scottsdale, this British football pub closed its doors for good on the last day of the month.
Silvana Salcido Esparza's concept at The Yard on Seventh Street closed somewhat mysteriously. Chef Esparza said she's not positive why the spot didn't make it. "I don’t know exactly. I was never really the owner there, although the concept is 100% MINE (so I get to keep it and open it where and how I want)….They wanted breakfast so I gave them Huevos Divorciados, Vampiros, Torrejas y pinche Menudo (7 days a week, all day long)." She acknowledged that the location was part of the problem, given that there was no signage in front. The increasing number of restaurants in the vicinity likely contributed as well.
Posh Restaurant, Scottsdale
Posh Restaurant was an exciting part of the Phoenix dining scene since it opened in 2009 with its signature improvisational dining experience. But the same inventive mind that introduced this new style of dining to the Valley is now ready to do something totally different. Again. Chef and owner Joshua Hebert has transformed the space into Chef's Lounge, which will be a venue for pop-up dinners, cooking, and various food-related classes, as well as a commercial space for other chefs and artisan food-makers to set up shop.
After it came to light that the owner of the soon-to-open restaurant was a felon, making him ineligible for a liquor license, a "for lease" sign went up outside the anticipated restaurant in downtown Phoenix.
Pizza People Pub, Phoenix
After four years, the neighborhood pizza spot called it quits. It will be replaced by Twisted Grove, a concept by restaurateur Christopher Collins.
After longtime troubles, Chef Eddie Matney’s spot in Scottsdale will be replaced by a new concept called Blue Clover.
Blue 32 Sports Grill, Scottsdale
Two of the three locations of the family-friendly sports bar will remain open in Gilbert and Chandler.
Native Grill, Chandler
Native Grill & Wings near Alma School and Queen Creek Roads had been open since 2009, but a notice posted on the restaurant's door announced that they would be closing. Initially the sign blamed the rise in minimum wages, but the company later retracted that statement, siting instead poor financial performance.
The longtime Mexican restaurant will close its doors on July 30 after more than 10 years in business. The owners have promised that they are looking for a new location that they will announce soon.
Jimmy Hula's, Tempe
Tempe lost a beach-themed restaurant this month. The Florida-based taco and burger joint was on Broadway near Cutler Drive.
Market Joe’s, Phoenix
The small convenience store in downtown Phoenix in the Capital Place apartments was a welcome addition to the neighborhood but closed suddenly this month. The owner posted a sign on the front door that the store would not be renewing its lease and closed abruptly on July 27.
The Larder + The Delta
Chef Stephen Jones announced that he was moving on from his Southern-style counter at DeSoto Central Market and would be working on a space of his own. Jones plans to host menu previews and pop-up dinners in downtown Phoenix, and encourages fans to keep up with his Facebook page.
A letter on the door earlier this month from the restaurant's landlord alerted would-be diners that Modern Grove, a casual sit-down eatery in north Phoenix, is now closed. The restaurant, which opened in April 2014 and served salads, sandwiches, pizzas, and burgers, closed its Mesa location in April.
The Chandler spot for Puerto Rican cuisine closed in early July. A message on the website explained that the owners decided not to renew their lease, but that they do plan to reopen at a new location at some point in the future.
Riazzi’s Italian Garden, Tempe
After 72 years in the Valley, Riazzi's Italian Garden, at 2700 South Mill Avenue in Tempe, served its last red-sauced meal. The family-owned restaurant initially opened in 1945 at 15th Avenue and McDowell Road, before moving to 53rd and Van Buren streets in 1947, where it remained for 40 years. In 1989, Riazzi's moved to its final location in Tempe on South Mill Avenue. Former employees and customers expressed their sadness at the closing on the Riazzi's Facebook page, stating that it was "the end of an era."
Macayo’s Mexican Restaurant, Scottsdale
The last Scottsdale outpost of Mexican chain Macayo’s has chosen not to renew its lease. Macayo’s will instead focus on relocation and reimagination of its central Phoenix branch, shooting for a more comfortable vibe while retaining classics. That location, to be called Woody Macayo’s, should be opening in early October.
Gourmet House of Hong Kong
The eatery had been open since 1984 and had garnered several accolades over the decades, including a few past "Best of Phoenix" awards from us. Gourmet House of Hong Kong was famous for its 26-page menu, featuring usual suspects (like kung pao and teriyaki) and higher-reaching staples (red-lacquered Peking duck) but also more exotic offerings. Gourmet House served frog legs and pea-sliver noodles. It even cooked Chinese delicacies like shark fin soup.
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Okra, the much-hyped eatery that opened on Seventh Street in central Phoenix back in 2015, has closed. It was the second spot opened by the Crudo team — Cullen Campbell, Maureen McGrath, and Micah Olson, serving a bold fusion of two beloved cuisines: Southern and Italian. “It is with a heavy heart we have decided to close Okra due to my move to California," said Okra co-owner Maureen McGrath. “Cullen Campbell will continue to focus on Crudo in Phoenix. We’d like to thank everyone for all of the support during the past two years.”
Alice Cooper'stown closed without warning earlier this fall. The festive restaurant just south of Talking Stick Resort Arena served American comfort classics like macaroni and cheese, potato skins, and sliders, often with a Southwestern twist. It was owned by none other than rocker Alice Cooper, whose band started in Phoenix. In true drop-mic fashion, the restaurant shuttered, shut down their Facebook, and updated their Google-status as "permanently closed" with no official statement.
El Panzon y Frida
The Old Town Scottsdale restaurant El Panzon y Frida closed after only six months. Though we were impressed with our First Look at the restaurant, creative late night bites weren't enough to sustain the hip eatery, which was located in the heart of the nightclub-lined block of Old Town.
List coming soon!