Last year we saw a dizzying array of new restaurants open around town and revisiting the story of each and every one makes one thing clear: it's a great time to be a diner in our local food scene.
Of course, there are sad stories of short-lived spots in last year's list of openings and closings too, but despite the loses of several longstanding restaurants and what we thought were promising spots, we're more excited than ever for what next year will bring.
- El Chullo, Phoenix "A fusion of the indigenous Inca with influences from its Spanish, Asian, Italian, French, and African immigrants, the food of the South American country has landed in midtown at a new restaurant called El Chullo."
- Salty Señorita, Scottsdale "After a decade of good times, Salty Señorita closed its doors in November -- no, not for good but in order to relocate up the street to offer fans of the cantina and bar a renovated look and overhauled menu."
- Chao, An Urban Asian Eatery, Chandler
- Bottled Blonde, Scottsdale "Less than a week after Evening Entertainment Group announced its plans to open a new restaurant concept inside one half of the former home Axis-Radius, Bottled Blonde Pizzeria and Beer Garden opened its doors for a grand opening event."
- The WELL, Tempe "ASU alum Laura Pich has opened a juice bar, The WELL, on Arizona State's Tempe campus."
- Foosia, Scottsdale "Foosia, a "fresh, exotic, and healthy" fast-casual eatery where customers can watch their food being prepared Chipotle-style, is opening Monday, January 13, in North Scottsdale."
- Yatai Ramen, food truck "To those lamenting the lack of decent ramen in the Valley, take note: Yatai Ramen. The Valley's newest food truck, its name meaning a Japanese street food cart, is getting ready to hit the streets in the next few weeks. And owner Mark Kondo says it's about time."
- Taco Haus, Scottsdale "Dave Andrea and Payton Curry, the duo behind Scottsdale's Brat Haus, unveiled their newest project to guests and media on Saturday. Taco Haus, located in the same North Scottsdale strip mall as the infamous Amy's Baking Company, looks to capture the spirit of a variety of Latin American cuisines, including tacos, empanadas, and ceviche."
- Notorious Burgers, Scottsdale"Add gourmet burgers to the list of dining options at the Shops at Gainey Ranch as of Sunday, January 26, when Notorious Burgers opens its doors."
- La Bocca Wine Bar & Urban Kitchen, Phoenix "North Valley-ites who hang around the CityNorth/Desert Ridge neighborhood will have a new locally owned option for pizza and a glass of wine."
- Grassroots Kitchen and Tap, Phoenix "Grassroots Kitchen and Tap, the plainly delicious restaurant from fourth-generation restaurateur Christopher Collins, will open its second location on Monday in the space formerly occupied by Baby Kay's Cajun Kitchen."
- Kaleidoscope Juice, Old Town Scottdale
- "The growing [juice] trend, along with a signature product of organic cold-pressed juices, made Kaleidoscope a hit. And just last week, the mother-daughter team opened their newest and fourth location, a Kaleidoscope Juice at 7119 East 1st Avenue in Scottsdale."
- The Post at The Wren Hotel, Phoenix
- The Market by Jennifer's, Arcadia "Owned by chef Jennifer Russo-Fitzgerald of Jennifer's Catering, The Market by Jennifer's features familiar eats made with seasonal ingredients served up in-house, as grab-and-go items, and via catering through a curbside service."
- V95 Wine Lounge, Scottsdale "The folks behind Chandler's Vintage 95 wine bar and eatery have brought the booze to a new concept in an unexpected place. Called V95 Wine Lounge & Coffee Bar, the new spot offers a varied selection of wines by the glass and bottle, light dining options, and a full coffee bar."
- Juicd Life, Phoenix "Cold-pressed juices come in 10 different flavors, each of which is named for its healthy benefits. The 16-ounce juices ($9.50) come in varieties such as "Metabolize," a combination of beet, cucumber, jalapeño, lime, and pear, and "Hydrate," with lime, mint, and watermelon. These cold-pressed juices are made by compressing the fruits and vegetables in what are called masticating juicers."
- Hula's Modern Tiki, Scottsdale "The Scottsdale location will serve the same menu of island-fusion fare, including dishes like Island Style Poke, Duke's Pork Luau Plate, and a Hula Burger with grilled pineapple, hula sauce, and cheese. The restaurant also offers a selection of fresh fish, which can be prepared in a number of ways: lemongrass, macadamia nut or coconut encrusted, Jamaican jerk-style, pan-fried."
- Mejico, Phoenix "Now Obed de la Cruz has brought the family's specialties to Central Phoenix at Mejico, his new restaurant located in the former home of Linda's on Osborn, just up the street from Bink's Midtown."
- Grabbagreen, Scottsdale "Grabbagreen offers all-natural foods in a fast-casual setting. Diners can choose from breakfast bowls, fresh juices, smoothies, as well as hot and cold entrees. The restaurant, which has another location at 15689 North Hayden Road, comes comes courtesy of first-time owners Kelley Bird and Keely Newman."
- Pink Pony (Reopened), Scottsdale "Chef Fawcett has created a menu of upscale New American cuisine for the new Pink Pony. There are a few fun surprises in there -- for example, the fried bologna sandwich -- but for the most part, there are plenty of familiar options, including housemade pretzels with fondue, slow-roasted pork belly, and a pizza with mushrooms and truffle oil."
- Scramble, Scottsdale "And though you'll still be able to order favorites like the "brizza" (breakfast pizza), eggs Benedict, and French toast, Scramble Scottsdale will debut several new menu items for both breakfast and lunch. Additions include huevos rancheros, cinnamon apple Energy Cakes, and strawberry stuffed French toast on the breakfast side and a selection of sandwiches, wraps, and salads for lunch."
- Central Wine Bar, Phoenix "The wine bar will have four beers and six wines on tap with food options including cheese, sausage, and fruit plates. Bottles of wine also will be available, with a corkage fee of $5 to be able to enjoy them on site."
- The Local, Phoenix The Local just opened last Thusday on the northeast corner of Roosevelt and Third Street downtown and it's already getting us excited with innovative flavor pairings in their craft cocktail menu and some equally unique dishes. Case in point, the crispy pig ear pad thai, which ditches noodles all together and let's the crunchy, fatty, decadent pig ear play the main role in the dish.
- Il Capo Pizzeria, Scottsdale "The restaurant, which has been open for a few weeks, also offers housemade charcuterie, salads, calzones, and panini. Pizza is available by the slice ($4) in varieties such as classic margherita and Diavolo, with tomato sauce, fennel, sopressata, chills, and ricotta."
- Henry's Private Kitchen, Mesa "Henry's Private Kitchen's menu features more than 200 items, many of which are hard, if not impossible, to find elsewhere in the Valley. Some of the highlights include bittermelon and pineapple hot pots, yin tsai (Chinese spinach) and fresh bamboo, and Taiwanese-style sauteed beef."
- Sazon Bachata, Phoenix "You'll find el menu de hoy -- or "the menu today" -- written on the front chalkboard wall. It contains items like tilapia en coco ($9), bistec en casuela ($19), and pollo guisado ($8). Breakfast options include steamed yucca, fruit smoothies, eggs, and mangu, or mashed plantains."
- J-Licious Tasty Teazy Taqueria, Phoenix "Earlier this year we told you that J-Licious Food Truck was taking things brick-and-mortar with plans to open a restaurant on Roosevelt Row. Well, the time has finally come, and now owner and chef Jordan Keane and her mother, Lynne R. Kean (she goes by "MaMaJ"), are ready to open the doors to J-Licious Tasty Teazy Taqueria."
- Momenti Pizzeria, Phoenix "Momenti Pizzeria will be serving five different types of 12-inch personal pizzas: cheese, margherita, pepperoni, sausage and pepper, and white. That's in addition to the option to "make your own masterpiece" by selecting from a list of toppings that includes anchovies, bacon, basil pesto, Canadian bacon, caramelized onions, pineapple, and more."
- Sip Coffee and Beer House, Scottsdale "Sip Coffee and Beer House, located at 3617 North Goldwater Road, is now open and serving a small menu of breakfast and lunch items, caffeinated drinks from Cartel coffee, craft beer, wine, and a menu of cocktails written by a certain well-known mixologist."
- Second Story Liquor Bar, Scottsdale "Above the Old Town Scottsdale location of Gelato Spot, Plato's built an intimate restaurant with a cool retro vibe. Plato describes this new spot as "Mad Men-inspired" and story-driven, which means you can expect an impressive lineup of classic cocktails that compliment (if not outshine) the menu of well-composed food."
- Pizza Studio, Phoenix "The Los Angeles-based chain is one of a handful of fast-casual Subway (or Chiptole)-style pizza spots to open recently in the Valley. Like the other restaurants, Pizza Studio invites diners to create their own pizza -- or, uh, "masterpiece" -- by selecting crust flavor, type of sauce, and a variety of other toppings."
- Stadium Sports Grill, Tempe "We knew it was going to be an uphill battle in that location," Manager Erron] Halen says. "But we're going to separate ourselves from the other concepts out there and from the past concept."
- Panera Bread, Phoenix "The fast-casual restaurant is known for its freshly baked bread and serves ingredients such as antibiotic-free chicken, whole grain bread, and some organic and all-natural ingredients. The menu includes a selection of bagels, breakfast items, sandwiches, pastas, salads, and paninis."
- Wimpy's Paradise, Chandler "Wimpy's Paradise -- which specializes in old-fashioned burgers and ice cream -- opened its doors at 48 South San Marcos Place in Chandler on Friday, February 14. "
- Sweet Republic, Phoenix "Though you'll still find the 24 flavors of ice cream Sweet Republic fans have come to love at the original Scottsdale location, there are a few new options available at the Phoenix store. They include a Salted Caramel Shake ($6.75) that includes three scoops of salted butter caramel ice cream and salted caramel sauces"
- TapHouse Kitchen, Scottsdale "TapHouse Kitchen offers a menu modern American cuisine, in addition to a respectable selection of craft beers. The tap lineup includes local options from Grand Canyon, Four Peaks, and Papago Brewery."
- Original Chop Shop Co., Chandler "If we said we never get a craving for Original ChopShop Co.'s kale Caesar salad every now and then, we'd be lying. The local restaurant focusing on healthy eats and pressed-to-order juices has been a hit already in both Scottsdale and Tempe."
- Karl's Quality Bakery, Sunnyslope (Re-open) "The bakery is already offering the same menu of pastries, breads, and other baked goods they served at the original location for some 20 years. But for now Christine hasn't been able to start offering the handmade chocolates she sold next-door at The Bakers Daughter."
- Steak 44, Phoenix "The menu at Steak 44 will include meaty options such as an 8-ounce petite fillet mignon ($38), a 16-ounce delmonico ($37), and a 22-ounce bone-in rib eye ($44). You'll also have the option to top off your steak with truffle butter ($4) or a crab cake "oscar" ($29)."
- Lola Coffee at The Yard, Phoenix "For real coffee enthusiasts, Lola offers a few truly unique things. The first one you're likely to notice will be the Oji cold drip coffee machines. There are two of them sitting on either end of the Lola's bar and according to Clarke, they're the best machines available for making large batches of cold brewed coffee."
- Hot N Juicy Crawfish, Tempe "At Hot N Juicy, you can obviously dig into pounds of crawfish -- served in plastic bags, heavy with a flavored sauce of your choice -- but you also have the option of trying lobster, black and green mussels, four types of crab, and shrimp."
- Flower Child, Phoenix "Located next door to Wally's American Pub & Grill, Flower Child will be a fast-casual health-focused restaurant serving a menu with naturally raised proteins, and organic and local produce. There will be no refined sugar."
- Silk True Asian, Chandler "Silk True Asian's menu will include dishes such as Vietnamese Pho; Pad Thai Noodles with stir-fried rice noodles, bean sprouts, egg, green onion and peanuts tossed Silk's own sweet and sour tamarind sauce; and Thai Curry made with curry paste, coconut milk, meat, seafood, vegetables and herbs."
- Modern Grove Neighborhood Eatery, Phoenix "The 3,500-square-foot space will offer a casual sit-down eatery, bar, grocery, and patio. The menu will include starters such as hummus, bruschetta, caprese, and kale salads, and pretzels with beer cheese."
- Fractured Prune, Chandler "The doughnut shop allows customers to choose from more than a dozen different glazes and toppings so you can build your own donut creation. Think, marshmallow glaze and graham cracker topping or maple glaze with mini chocolate chips."
- Unwined Cafe, Ahwatukee "For food, there are four types of bruschetta (choose two for $12), four salads, and starters including green chile white bean hummus, mussels, and a chef's choice meat and cheese board."
- Urban Vine, Phoenix "The new space still shows a little bit of the whimsy O'Dowd was putting out at Renegade by MOD, though nowhere near the same scale. Then again, it's still very early. We enjoyed just about everything we tried so as long as the food stays on the current track, we'll be happy to keep going back."
- Classic Italian Pizza, Tempe "The new restaurant offers a bar and dining room and features a menu that's "90 percent the same" as at the old location, according Began. That means you can look forward to a selection of top-quality wood fired pizzas..."
- JamRock Cafe & Grill, Phoenix "The restaurant... serves a small menu of Carribean and Jamaican cuisine -- think entrées like oxtail, jerk chicken, and curry goat to be enjoyed with an ice-cold Red Stripe. The restaurant offers a full bar, large outdoor patio, and expects to host live music on weekend nights."
- RaspadoRico, Tempe You can get a raspado at RaspadoRico in 10 flavors, including mango, pineapple, coconut, tamarind, pecan, strawberry, vanilla, and jamaica. They can be ordered in three sizes that range in price from $3.50 to $5. You also can add ice cream for an extra buck or lechera (sweetened condensed milk) for just a quarter.
- Southern Rail, Phoenix "Expect dishes such as house-smoked chicken and grilled andouille sausage gumbo; beignets; cornbread salad with grilled cauliflower, marinated tomatoes, pickled beets and okra; house-smoked trout with sweet pea cake and spiced tomato jam; and fried green tomatoes with pimento cheese."
- Fusion Burritos, Gilbert "The menu includes creations that range from, 'Ok, that doesn't sound too bad,' to, 'Really? That can't be good.' Consider the Gilbert burrito that features housemade chicken salad with dried cranberries, almonds, celery, and greens. It's more of a wrap than a burrito, but we can get behind the idea."
- Tokyo Joe's, Mesa "The menu includes a small section of made-to-order sushi with options such as California roll and spicy tuna rolls in addition to a few more unique creations. The Joe's Roll features grilled shrimp, avocado, cream cheese, and cucumber..."
- Bitter & Twisted Cocktail Parlour, Phoenix "Though Bitter & Twisted will offer a selection of beer and wine, the focus will definitely be on the cocktails. There will be a 24-page "Book O' Cocktails" (cocktail menu) complete with 10 chapters, over 50 cocktails, plus spirits and mocktails."
- Restaurant Atoyac Estilo Oaxaca, Phoenix "At Restaurant Atoyac Estilo Oaxaca, you can get the same menu of Oaxacan-style street fare that fans came to love at Tacos Atoyac. That includes the entire lineup of incredibly affordable tacos, tamales, and quesadillas."
- SumoMaya, Scottsdale "Not every dish on the restaurant's lengthy menu is a perfect 10, but overall it does an excellent job of proving that fusion food doesn't have to be the sort of clunky fare with which we've become all too familiar."
- First Draft Book Bar in Changing Hands, Phoenix "The First Draft Book Bar is pouring coffee and beer and wine on tap and offers a menu of small bites and snacks, as well as happy hour deals Monday through Friday."
- The Vig McCormick Ranch, Scottsdale "On the design front the newest Vig location will offer a "modern-territorial feel" with touches that will include bare wood posts and amber-brown paint."
- Grand Avenue Pizza Company, Phoenix "For now Grand Avenue Pizza Company is really counting on customers who like to eat late with hours from 8 p.m. to 4 a.m. Tuesday through Saturday only."
- The Oatmeal Cafe, Mesa "The cafe is, of course, serving all of Webb's oatmeal creations. Flavor varieties range from the familiar -- original, blueberry vanilla almond, and pumpkin spice -- to the more unexpected, including root beer float, Chocolate Cherry Rapture, and Jewels of India."
- Salt & Lime Modern Mexican Grill, Scottsdale "The restaurant serves a menu of modern Mexican fare -- think, five kinds of salsa, empanadas, and pork belly tacos."
- Freak'N Brewing Company, Peoria "If the name sounds familiar, it's because Freak'N Brewing Company has been around for several years already and has made appearances at events and local competitions including the 2013 Great AZ Home Brew Competition and Arizona Beer Week."
- Oven + Vine, Phoenix "As far as food, the menu will be "oven-driven" featuring slow-roasted brick oven fare. There also will be about a dozen beers available on tap and about that many wines available by the glass."
- The Standard, Scottsdale "There are separate menus for breakfast and lunch/dinner, as well as for the market side of the operation. The breakfast menu includes coffee and espresso drinks, fresh juices, and smoothies. The small selection of food choices includes a ham, egg, and cheese melt on ciabatta bread ($5) and a breakfast burrito ($6)."
- Pizza a Metro, Gilbert "Pizza a Metro opened in a west Phoenix strip mall in 2007. The 20-seat restaurant serves pizzas, pastas, and other Italian favorites such as wood-fired calamari and tiramisu. Its popularity stems in part from the reasonably priced fare and cozy atmosphere. The Gilbert restaurant will serve a similar menu to that of the original restaurant."
- Fluff It Marshmallows, Gilbert "Though the store offers ready-to-eat s'mores marshmallows dipped in chocolate and topped with a graham cracker crumble, Fluff It also has a s'mores bar. There you can pick your 'mallow flavor and add toppings like berries, brownies, cookies, caramel sauce, and more to create your own s'mores masterpiece."
- Wild Game Sports Grill, Phoenix "Wild Game is scheduled to open in the next couple of weeks near 24th Street and Thomas Road. The new spot promises a "chef-driven menu" with smoked wings, salads, gourmet burgers, and more. What exactly "more" entails is what makes this spot more than your average sports bar -- trust us."
- Fogon Mexican Eatery, Scottsdale "When you first hear the idea 'Benihana-style Mexican food,' you probably have one of two reactions. Either you think it's a horrible, gimmicky concept or you think, 'Well, it might be cool.'"
- The Beverly, Scottsdale "The new food menu will be overseen by executive chef Jorge Gomez, while bar manager and mixologist Rich Heider will handle the drinks. The cocktail list will offer both classic and modern cocktails including the Quiet American made with Aviation gin, watermelon, mint, and soda."
- TEN Handcrafted American Fare & Spirits, Phoenix "The selection of cocktails varies from classics such as a Manhattans and margaritas to more interesting options like the pecan pie martinis made with Tito's vodka, pecan liqueur, and vanilla simple syrup."
- The Pie Hole, Phoenix "[Owner Tonya] Siadi says the espresso machine will be ready to go so she'll be serving both coffee and her well-loved pies. Also also says she's trying to crowd-fund money to purchase a better oven for the space."
- Fired Pie, Phoenix "The sixth location of fast-casual pizza chain Fired Pie [opened]... at the Collier Center in downtown Phoenix."
- Delice Bistro, Tempe "The restaurant is open from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. on weeknights, but will be staying open until 2:30 a.m. to take advantage of Mill Avenue bar-goers with a need for something sweet (and not liquid) to cap off their night."
- Cuff, Glendale "Harvey's vision for Cuff's food is to offer New American cuisine with a Southwestern twist. And considering that the restaurant will be pouring a selection of craft brews, expect the kind of food you'd want to eat with a cold beer. There's also a menu of classic cocktails"
- Butcher Block Meats, Chandler "The traditional butcher shop sells a variety of beef, pork, and chicken products, as well as meaty packages such as The Omaha, which includes petite sirloin steaks, tri-tip steaks or roast, hamburger patties, boneless pork loin chops, and boneless chicken breast for $69."
- Vivo! Ristorante, Scottsdale "In addition to lunch and dinner, Vivo! offers an array of Italian food products including wine by the bottle, dried pasta, and more."
- Marigold Maison, Phoenix "The menu offers a wide variety of regional specialties in a way that makes Indian cuisine feel immediately accessible. The price point may exclude it from being an everyday dining spot, but for a quality and portion of food the value feels right."
- Shabu Fondue, Phoenix "The idea is pretty simple: Choose your type of broth and a handful of meats and vegetables you want to cook in it. Pretty much like with Swiss fondue. The broths are heated by an electric boiler mounted in the middle of the table and kept boiling throughout the meal."
- Sol Diablo Cantina, Tempe "In addition to the menu of tacos, entrees, and starters, Sol Diablo Cantina also offers a full bar with options such as the Casa Margarita ($6) and both red and white sangria ($5). Other drinks include three types of Sol Mules ($7) such as the Mexicana made with tequila, cilantro, cucumber, and mint."
- Mucho Macho Taco, Phoenix "You can choose familiar combinations such as Skirt Steak Asada with grilled scallions, queso fresco, and pico de gallo or Crispy Baja Fish with cheddar cheese, chipotle creama, pico, and cabbage. But there are also some more unique choices including the Roasted Turkey Mole with celery, bacon slaw, and pecans and the Bacon taco with lettuce, pico, and creama."
- Wild Game Sports Grill, Phoenix "According to the owners, this means wild boar bacon, bison sliders, venison/elk chili, and more will be on the menu."
- Perfect Pear Bistro, Tempe "The restaurant is scheduled to open the last week of September in south Tempe about six miles from the original location in Ahwatukee. The menu includes Italian and American classics such as eight different bruschetta options, soup, salad, and several pasta dishes."
- Rock Lobster, Chandler "The new concept translates to the addition of three new teppanyaki tables where diners will be able to have an interactive dining experience -- as in, the food will be cooked right in front of them."
- Bad Water Brewing Tap Room, Scottsdale
- Forge Wood-Fired Pizza, Phoenix From our First Taste: "We also ordered the cauliflower pizza ($16), which features hunks of cauliflower with pistachio pesto, leeks, Gruyere cheese, and a generous helping of baby arugula. For fans of thin, floppy pizza, this will hit the spot."
- Shakes and Cones, Scottsdale "According to the Shakes and Cones website, the shop is serving chocolate and vanilla soft serve that's "certified organic, non-GMO Project Verified, certified kosher, and gluten free." The soft serve is contains 6 percent butterfat and is additive and preservative free."
- Revo Pizzabar, Tempe "The new restaurant was created by the founder of the well-loved and now-defunct Tempe brewpub Bandersnatch and will serve a menu of European-style pizzas, pastas, and salads. Oh, and did we mention online ordering and delivery seven days a week? Revo will have that too."
- Zinburger, Gilbert "The restaurant serves a selection of burgers, salads, sandwiches, and sides made with ingredients such as fried eggs, Maytag bleu cheese, roasted poblano peppers, and applewood smoked bacon."
- The Mission at Minder Binder, Tempe "As of last week, Minder Binders is back in a new form. Thanks to a new group of owners the barn has been remodeled -- extensively -- and is now home to a restaurant and drinking establishment dubbed The Mission @ Minder Binder."
- Linger Longer Lounge, Phoenix "Drinkers can look forward to 16 draft beers as well as four 'craft drafts,' or cocktails on tap. There will also be a food menu, which Scott says will be larger and more diverse than what's available at The Little Woody."
- Rollover Doughnuts, Phoenix "It seems clear that Rollover Doughnuts still needs to work on perfecting their brioche dough. The good news is that once they do they have a few sweet and savory creations that could easily become some of our favorite guilty pleasures."
- Social Box Neighborhood Eatery, Chandler "Social Box ... aims to combine food with community stewardship by donating a portion of each month's proceeds to nonprofits that help kids, veterans, hunger, and support other causes that affect the Chandler neighborhood."
- GRAZ Kitchen Fresh, Chandler "Chandler-ites looking for a breakfast and lunch destination can add a new restaurant and juice bar to their list of options. GRAZ Kitchen Fresh, located at 1005 S. Arizona Avenue in the San Tan Gateway Center, opened earlier this month and is serving a menu of salads, sandwiches, and juices."
- The Pig's Meow, Phoenix "The Pig's Meow offers 20 tap handles and somewhere between 65 and 100 beers in the bottle and can. There also are 25 wines by the glass (soon to be 35) and Malkin says he'll launch a bottle program soon."
- Cherrytree Smokehouse BBQ, Phoenix
- Angry Crab Shack and BBQ, Phoenix From our First Taste: "Now we're always down for a meal of lobster and steak, but we have to admit there's something deeply satisfying about eating an entire surf and turf feast while wearing a plastic bib and eating with your hands. It seems like the most natural thing to alternate between bites of garlicky seafood and picking up a rib to gnaw on."
- The Normal at Graduate Tempe, Tempe "The first dining option at the Graduate Tempe will be The Normal, a diner-style restaurant. The Normal will serve breakfast all day, as well as soups, sandwiches, and shakes."
- Cauliflower Pizza (under a blanket of arugula)., Phoenix From our First Taste: Southern food is definitely having a moment right now, but Welcome Chicken + Donuts raises the bar with Asian-inspired sauces and excellent chicken. We loved the focused offerings and that this second spot has a unique identity from the original spot.
- The Beer Research Institute, Mesa
- Barrio Avion, Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport "Just weeks after announcing her plans to open a second restaurant at The Yard in Phoenix, chef Silvana Salcido Esparza has unveiled a new fast-casual concept in Terminal 2 at Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport. Called Barrio Avion, the restaurant takes a cue from Tinta Mexicana, a concept Esparza designed for the food court at Arizona Mills mall in Tempe."
- Stingray Sushi, Chandler
- Culinary Dropout at The Yard, Tempe "Located at 149 West Farmer Avenue, The Yard at Farmer Arts District is the largest Sam Fox project so far at an impressive 14,000 square feet. The project includes the Culinary Dropout restaurant, a large patio, two private dining spaces, and additional tenant space."
- Tumi Fine Peruvian Cuisine, Chandler (relocated) "After two years in a Chandler strip mall near the intersection of Warner and Alma School roads, Tumi Fine Peruvian Cuisine is relocating to different digs."
- Portland's, Phoenix "Portland's Restaurant, the eatery and wine bar in downtown Phoenix that was a mainstay for more than a decade, closed its doors for good on Thursday, February 20. But there's good news for fans of the restaurant and its food and drinks. "
- GoodyTwo's Toffee Company, Scottsdale "The good news is that you'll still be able to order all your favorite GoodyTwos treats online or by phone -- and GoodyTwos ships worldwide and also offers local delivery, so your sweet fix is never really that far away. You can also pick up GoodyTwo's Traditional & Sweet & Salty Toffee at Bodega in Scottsdale."
- Cajun Seafood Corner, Mesa "The Mesa location of Baby Kay's will take over what used to be The Cajun Seafood Corner and is expected to open by February 14."
- Tacos Atoyac, Phoenix "The restaurant, owned by Oaxacan Pablo Lopez and Chilean-born Dan Maldonado, opened in 2010 and has become known as one of the Valley's best places for excellent, affordable street-style Oaxacan food -- think, tacos, tamales, and a "heavenly mole.""
- Karsh's Bakery, Phoenix "The bakery, owned by Arnie Garnder, has been a Valley staple for decades and is one of only a handful of bakeries to be overseen by the Phoenix Va' 'Ad Hakasruth, a community-based non-profit kosher supervising agency. For many, it's been a go-to spot for specialties such as hamentaschen, fruit-filled shortbread-like triangles traditionally eaten during Purim; mondel bread and chocolate; raspberry and cinnamon-nut rugalach."
- Squash Blossom, Phoenix "Owners Brian and Carrie Lester opened the restaurant in the former PastaBar space in June 2012. The couple had been in the catering business for years prior to opening the restaurant and said at that time that they were hoping to focus on lunch and breakfast dining."
- Pittsburgh Willy's, Chandler "East Valley residents might know Randy Walters as the owner of Pittsburgh Willie's, the hot dog spot inside Chandler's Merchant Square Antique Mall. That shop closed its doors last month after a five-year run, but don't fret, because as we told you in July, Walters has plans to open a new hot dog-centric restaurant just two miles away from the original spot."
- Coronado Cafe, Phoenix "The restaurant will become Urban Vine: Kitchen|Hops|Grapes and will offer a "small tapas-like menu" priced between $10 and $30. Expect local brew, craft beers, unique cocktails, gourmet sandwiches, and locally sourced ingredients."
- La Fontanella, Phoenix "According to the restaurant's answering machine message, owner Isabella Mannone-Bertuccio and husband, Berto, will be retiring -- and taking the time 'to smell the sea breeze.'"
- T.Spot, Chandler "Chu re-branded the restaurant as T. Spot in fall 2013. It was called Tien Wong from 2010 until last year, when the chef added ramen and tea to the hot pot-focused menu. Chu's wife, partner, and general manager Linda Q described the concept as a "permanent pop-up" inside Tien Wong."
- The House at Secret Garden, Phoenix "For four years The House at Secret Garden has been a destination for romantic patio dining, a go-to spot to impress out-of-towners with the restaurant's uniquely Arizonan cuisine."
- Brooklyn Cafe, Scottsdale "According to an announcement on the restaurant's Facebook page, [chef David] Antonelli has sold the business."
- Pellini Italian Eatery, Scottsdale "Pellini Italian Eatery (pellini is Italian for "little skin" and refers to the restaurant's flatbread), a build-your-own concept featuring traditional Italian food with a healthy slant, comes courtesy of advertising executive, chef, and restaurateur Mark Motta..."
- Philadelphia Sandwich Company, Scottsdale Being the "Best Place to Sober Up" in last year's Best Of awards couldn't save this sandwicherie from shuttering, at least for the summer. The restaurant has plans to relocate later this year.
- Pink Spot, Phoenix "The good news for fans of the Pink Spot's frozen treats is that you'll still be able to buy the ice cream in pints. Pink Spot owner Julie Kossak intends to carry the ice cream -- which is sourced from local ice creamery, Karen's Kreamery -- next door at ZPizza, which she also owns."
- Nourish at Optima Camelview, Scottsdale "Carey says the landlord at Optima at Camleview has "decided to do something different" with the space, therefore requiring Nourish to move out. There are plans to move the restaurant to a new location in Tempe, though Carey says she can't give an exact address until the deal is finalized."
- Scottsdale Station, Scottsdale "Scottsdale Station was intended to be a revival of the Carefree restaurant with Carefree Station's former executive chef Thomas Nasworthy serving as Corporate Executive Chef at the new spot."
- Bill Johnson's Big Apple, Phoenix "The Big Apple restaurants have been a Valley staple since the 1950s, when cowboy/radio personality/stuntman/actor Bill Johnson founded the first Bill Johnson's Big Apple with his wife Gene. Johnson used to broadcast his KTAR radio show from the Van Buren location, often hosting celebrities such as Roy Rogers and Johnny Cash."
- Mucho Gusto, Tempe "Mucho Gusto was once a star in the Tempe dining scene, filling a niche with its modern, slightly upscale Mexican fare. But in recent years, it's been largely overlooked by Valley food enthusiasts. The Revival will aim to return the restaurant to the list of must-eat Valley restaurants."
- Bill Johnson's Big Apple, Mesa "As of last week only one location -- the original restaurant at 3757 East Van Buren -- remains of what was once a five restaurant mini-chain of Bill Johnson's Big Apple restaurants."
- The Western, Scottsdale "The Western will be turned into a "barcade" called The King that will combine "classic arcade game play with cool tunes, low-cost beverages and comfort food."
- Corbin's Bar and Grill, Sunnyslope "Owner Kevin McNeill opened Corbin's at 8729 N. Central Avenue almost a decade ago and for a short while also operated a second location at 19420 N. 59th Avenue in Glendale."
- Sacks, Tempe "Sacks, on the southwest corner of University and Mill, is being ousted to make way for a mixed-use development project that will include a 30,000-square-foot conference center, a 4,500-seat exhibition arena, a 330-room luxury hotel, a 500-unit apartment complex, and retail and office space."
- IHOP, Tempe "College students will be sad to hear the 24-hour IHOP on Apache Boulevard will soon close..."
- Fuego Del Mar, Phoenix
- Tavern on Mill, Tempe "The plan for Blasted Barley... will include an in -house micro-brewery and micro-distillery... Mill Avenue will still be getting a new 2,500 square foot area called "The Playground," a new live music venue, and bar with an extensive selection of draft beers."
- American TapHouse, Gilbert "To make the sudden closure all the more bizarre, according the restaurant's website American TapHouse will be relocating to North Dakota, "to take the leap right to the heart of the oil boom to McKenzie County."
- Miracle Mile Deli, Scottsdale "Last week the Scottsdale Promenade location of the Phoenix institution shut its doors for good. A post on the restaurant's Facebook page stated the company decided to close the location because of a new business opportunity."
- Mama Toledo's Pie Hole, Phoenix "The good news is that you can still find Tonya Saidi and her pies in several places. Saidi says she's currently looking for a new, larger space out of which to operate."
- Cork, Chandler "For the last six years, Cork has held out as one of the only fine dining establishments in Chandler. But next month, the restaurant's run will come to an end. On July 1, when the restaurant usually closes for its summer hiatus, Cork will close its doors for good."
- Miss Anita's Pie Shop, Phoenix
- Taco Haus, Scottsdale "The news of Taco Haus' closure may not come as quite a surprise to those who've been following the restaurant since its debut. During the last six months, the restaurant and its chef have been the center of two negative social media incidents and has been met with lukewarm reviews by food critics."
- Mabel's on Main, Scottsdale "For years, Mabel's on Main was a go-to spot in Scottsdale for a well-crafted cocktail you could enjoy in a dramatic, high-style atmosphere. The dark wooden bar, leather banquettes, and hidden private room (or didn't you know about that already?) made it a one-of-a-kind spot in Old Town."
- Lola Coffee at the Yard, Phoenix "But after about six months, the restaurant/coffee shop/wine bar is preparing for big changes. As of Sunday, August 24 Lola Coffee at The Yard will close. It will relaunch later this fall as "a newer, fresher concept," according to the Lola at The Yard website."
- Fusion Burritos, Gilbert "The restaurant served a menu of burritos stuffed with off-the-wall toppings including meatballs, mashed potatoes, and chicken salad. As an example, consider The Seoul burrito, which was packed with roasted pork, steamed rice, shredded cabbage, carrot, radish, cilantro, and mint."
- Stingray Sushi, Scottsdale "After a decade of success in Old Town Scottsdale, the original location of Stingray Sushi has closed its doors. The restaurant's lease is up, but owners say they're already looking for a new location in the area. The goal is to reopen a Scottsdale sushi outlet in 2015."
- Noca, Phoenix "According to a sign posted on the door, Noca is closed for "house cleaning." But the cryptic note doesn't give any details about when the restaurant will reopen -- if at all."
- The Local, Phoenix "It was a bright but short run for The Local. The downtown Phoenix restaurant opened on Roosevelt Row this spring, and almost exactly six months to date from its official opening, it has shuttered."
- Le Chalet, Glendale According to a letter on the restaurant's website, Le Chalet closed its doors this month because owner Alain Keller was unable to reach an agreement on a new lease with the landlord. The restaurant opened in 2010 and served a menu of both sweet and savory crepes.
- Hot Dog Stop, Scottsdale This Scottsdale destination for New York's famous Sabrett hot dogs has closed its doors. It will become a new restaurant, Lucky's Burgers and Hot Dog Grill.
- Toby Keith's I Love This Bar and Grill, Mesa "East Valley residents with a love for country music and southern eats will have quite a drive to get their fix now that Toby Keith's I Love This Bar and Grill has closed at Mesa Riverview. The restaurant and bar is moving all the way up to North Phoenix, specifically to the High Street dining/retail/residential complex at 5310 East High Street."
- The Lodge, Scottsdale "The silver lining to the loss is that May and his Lodge co-owners have purchased another nearby bar. Owner Quinn Goldsberry says they won't be changing the new spot into The Lodge, but that they will be re-opening the bar elsewhere."
- The Cove Grill, Chandler
- Monti's La Casa Vieja, Tempe
"The steakhouse been open since 1956 but soon, after nearly 60 years of business, Monti's La Casa Vieja will close its doors for good."
- Four Peaks Tasting Room on Wilson, Tempe "For the last two years the Four Peaks Tasting Room located at 2401 South Wilson in Tempe (just off of Broadway and Roosevelt roads) has been a destination a beer drinkers looking for place to hang out and eat some food truck grub."