Keep New Times Free

Aaron Chamberlin Will Open Farm-Focused Cafe in Urban Grocery Space

When news broke last week that Urban Grocery and Wine Bar was closing, it didn't take long for the rumor to start circulating that an undisclosed chef had expressed interest in the space.

Turns out, the rumor was true. Aaron Chamberlin, chef-owner of St. Francis, confirms for Chow Bella that he has negotiated a deal with landlord Kurt Schneider and plans to transform the charming vintage building into a cafe by early October.

Chamberlin, who preaches the farm-to-table gospel with sincerity at St. Francis, says having a restaurant adjacent to the Downtown Phoenix Public Market just "fits with what we do."

Because the ink on the deal is barely dry, Chamberlin hasn't pinned down a name yet, but he already has some pretty clear-cut ideas about what he'd like to create there.

He envisions a casual, affordable neighborhood hangout and plans to add a big, welcoming bar to encourage customers to linger. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner will be served -- with breakfast and lunch prices topping out at $10, dinner prices at $15.

Chamberlin already buys produce for St. Francis from a handful of local farmers, and he plans to make use of even more local produce and products -- many of them found at the market -- when he opens the cafe. He calls the food he'll be serving "fresh market cuisine."

I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Phoenix and help keep the future of New Times free.

He has considered using the name Urban Grocery and Wine Bar but hasn't finalized that possibility with Schneider or Dan Klocke, board president of CFC.

"I don't want to mess with that synergy," Chamberlin explains, referring to the many people who loved Urban Grocery and also shopped the farmers market.

Of Community Food Connections (the nonprofit that continues to oversee the market, as it once did the grocery) and his future relationship with them, the chef notes, "They had a big vision, and they did a phenomenal job of bringing the community together. I've always loved downtown and I've always loved the market. I shop there every week. We were just lucky to be at the right place at the right time, and I'm happy to be part of all this."

Follow Chow Bella on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.

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.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.


Join the New Times community and help support independent local journalism in Phoenix.


Join the New Times community and help support independent local journalism in Phoenix.