What's going on in East Phoenix these days? A better question might be: What isn't?
From sushi to two new La Grande Orange concepts to a "life-changing food experience" courtesy of restaurateur Sam Fox, you can hardly throw a dinner plate in the area without hitting a new restaurant -- or an upcoming one.
The latest ado is one the area's diners are sure to welcome with open arms: a second location of Essence Bakery, the sunny spot serving upscale comfort food in Tempe.
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First reported in September 2011, co-owner Gilles Combes, husband of Essence Bakery chef and owner Eugenia Theodosopoulos, told me he was "cautiously optimistic" about securing the new location on Indian School and 38th Street (the space is located just a few doors down from the Madison Improvement Club). Now, over a year later, it looks as though the building has successfully gone through the rezoning process and construction is under way.
Essence Bakery manager Polly Weisiger tells me the breakfast, lunch, and pastry items for the new location will mirror those in Tempe (think fresh and French-style comfort fare and treats), and that because of the Indian School location's larger size, most of the baking will be done in the new space.
Weisiger adds that though an exact date is not yet known, Theodosopoulos and Combes hope to open their East Phoenix Essence Bakery location by mid-summer.