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5 Phoenix Chefs Discuss the Biggest Restaurant Closures of the Year

It's a sad truth that the restaurant business is a tough one. About 60 percent of restaurants fail during their first year in business, according to a study from Cornell University. Within five years, as many as 75 percent of restaurants go out of business. That's a lot of shuttered doors. And Phoenix is not immune.

We asked local chefs to tell us what restaurant closure in the last year had the biggest impact on the dining scene. From a family-run Chinese restaurant to the iconic Greasewood Flats, discover which restaurants our chefs miss most. 

What restaurant closure in the past year has had the biggest impact on the local dining scene and why?

Brian Archibald, the Executive Chef of the Boulders Resort & Spa

Greasewood Flats! Maybe not considered a destination dining spot, but a real part of Arizona history and iconic location. I have many memories of cool nights, cold beer, and fire pits that were part of that experience. Especially when you have friends visiting from out of town to the “Wild West.”

Cullen Campbell, Chef & Co-Owner of Crudo & Okra Cookhouse & Cocktails

Noca’s closing had the greatest impact because it left a hole in the dining scene that probably won’t be filled for a long time. I thought it was a great combo of fine dining that wasn’t too fussy mixed with really fun food. I especially miss the Sunday Suppers.

Charles Wiley, Executive Chef of ZuZu at Hotel Valley Ho

Greasewood Flats. It may not have necessarily been a dining destination, although I’m sure there are a few thousand green chile burger fanatics out there that would argue with me, but its closing was the end of an era in North Scottsdale. I know, change is inevitable. I loved the contrast between Greasewood and the Four Seasons Resort and the million-dollar homes all around. When I moved here 26 years ago to take the executive chef position at The Boulders, it was the place to hang out around the fire pits, put your feet up and enjoy a cold beer with friends. The wagon full of ancient bottles, the junkyard, the donkey, dollar bills everywhere. Even the sign on Alma School, I miss it dearly.

Rick Phillips, Owner/Menu Development at Bootleggers

Wahsun. Because this little family-run place had, bar none, some of the best Chinese food in the Valley, and its closing is just emblematic of the lack of support for real gems.

Kelly Fletcher, chef de cuisine at El Chorro

I really, really wish that The Local had held on. I wish it would have made it because they were really doing beautiful stuff. I think Chris [McKinley]'s food is extremely beautiful. I don’t know if downtown Phoenix is ready for that kind of action. 

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Teresa is a writer, editor, traveler, and food enthusiast. She loves chocolate, espresso, and Chihuahuas.
Contact: Teresa Traverse

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