The Local has been a buzz topic in downtown's dining scene in recent months, and now the wait to try it is finally over -- kind of. Though its hours aren't officially set and the restaurant was closed Monday, the restaurant plans to open for a "soft dinner" tonight at 5 p.m. However, if you're one of the lucky few who stumbled upon the open restaurant this weekend, you got a glimpse into what chef Chris McKinley and his beverage partner, Adam Hargett, have in store for the restaurant on the northeast corner of Third Street and Roosevelt, in Scratch's former location.
With a plush lounge, full dining area, and even a private dining room -- all featuring local artists -- The Local classes up Roosevelt Row in a way the area really needed. The patio furniture is recognizable if you went to Scratch before it closed, as some of it is being reused after being painted black, but overall the space has been almost completely altered, especially the exposed kitchen with bar front seating.
Although the menu is not yet complete at The Local, we did sample a few dishes off the late-night menu on Saturday. One of our favorite dishes was a crispy pig ear pad thai, which playfully substituted pig ear for noodles and was served with an avocado yogurt sauce. The gnocchi, which was one large potato dumpling rather than several small pieces, came with a sweet tomato jam, which balanced the slightly grainy gluten-free pasta. The pork belly was tender, moist, and had a perfectly crisp seer.
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The cocktails at The Local feature a well-rounded selection to suit most tastes. However, unlike most restaurants that just play with basics, it seems that Hargett is definitely going more the route of establishing a unique style that focuses on balance, with a strong bitter and herbal showing. The Eastern Promises is a lightly sweet drink with green tea and smoky Scotch.
Overall, the first bites and sips from The Local were satisfying, giving hope to bringing the dining and cocktail scene that's flourishing in Old Town Scottsdale and Arcadia to downtown. Hopefully, the soft opening goes well so we can give you more information on its hours once they are established.
The Local 1011 North Third Street