Sorry local joystick jocks, but it looks like the plug’s been pulled on Lemoncade in downtown Glendale. The colorful west Valley arcade and cultural hub, which offered a mix of classic games, live music, and lemonade, shut its doors permanently in April after less than two years in business.
Owner Nino McCurley confirmed Lemoncade’s closure during a brief Facebook chat session with Phoenix New Times on May 2.
“Yeah, I had to shut everything down,” McCurley stated. He declined to comment further on the matter or explain what caused the business to close.
Lemoncade opened in July 2018 as an offshoot of Nomadic Ice Cream Rolls, a rolled ice cream shop next door that also was owned by McCurley. The neighboring businesses were located near 58th and Glendale avenues, and both had a flair for street art and urban culture. (Nomadic Ice Cream Rolls also has closed.)
Lemoncade featured the works of Valley creatives, ranging from walls covered with vibrant graf art to various booths selling T-shirts and other merch. It hosted performances by local DJs, bands, and b-boys on weekends and events like live podcasts and crafting sessions during the week.
The centerpiece of Lemoncade was its selection of dozens of retro arcade games and pinball machines – including such gems as Sunset Riders, Silverball Mania, and Xenon – many of which were on loan from local collectors.
There also was a lemonade stand set up in one corner, which (along with the games) inspired the name of the spot.
As McCurley told New Times in 2019, his goal was to make Lemoncade “a family-friendly place where you could find something going on.”
“It's like a community spot, somewhere where you don’t come in for just one thing,” McCurley said in 2019. “That’s why we have ice cream, lemonade, arcade games, or b-boys in here. I can't stand being bored and always want something cool happening here.”
Friends of McCurley told New Times that he may possibly reopen Lemoncade at a new location sometime in the future but weren’t able to provide specific details.
It won’t be the first time he bounced back from hardship. In 2010, McCurley suffered a broken back after working as a firefighter and lost his job. Then, in 2014, he spent four months in a wheelchair and had to learn to walk again after being hit by a car while riding his motorcycle.
After watching YouTube videos of rolled ice cream being prepared in Thailand, McCurley taught himself how to make the frozen dessert in 2015 and began operating his own mobile food cart. It led to him opening Nomadic Ice Cream Rolls as a brick-and-mortar location in 2017.
“I’ve had a lot of ups and downs in life but have never stopped working at making things better for myself,” McCurley told New Times in 2019.
Keep Phoenix New Times Free... Since we started Phoenix New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Phoenix with no paywalls.