So there's good news and bad news, Phoenix. We'll start with the bad: Craft + Culture, the eatery/cheese shop/bar that local cheesemonger Lara Mulchay and her husband, Joel LaTondress, planned to open downtown Phoenix, is not going to happen.
Jon Erickson, director of sales and marketing of the Renaissance Phoenix Downtown (where Craft + Culture was supposed to be located), emailed this statement to New Times about the decision:
"The entire team at the Renaissance Phoenix Downtown Hotel wishes Craft + Culture the very best in the future and we look forward to the updates that are coming. As for the space in the hotel on the corner, we are going to leave it dark for now. We hope to have another idea for the space in the coming months."
Mulchay's not saying anything.
But here's the good news: The couple has already found a new brick-and-mortar venture that will allow them to provide wine, beer, and other artisan food products to the community. It's called Arcadia Premium, and it's located at 5618 East Thomas Road in Phoenix.
The bottle shop, which also offers delivery service, has been in operation for a while. But Mulchay and LaTondress just took over and have plans to expand the business. In addition to continuing beer and wine delivery to the surrounding neighborhood, the couple already has begun to expand the shop's offerings to include cheese, charcuterie, and specialty goods such as AZ Bitters Lab bitters, Goody Twos Toffee, cold-brew coffee from Press Coffee, treats from Super Chunk Sweets and Treats and Tracy Dempsey Originals, and more.
"Joel and I are big supporters of our food and beverage community," Mulchay wrote in an email. "As such, we’re aiming to provide a retail/delivery outlet for the local goods that are often only found at farmers markets or otherwise difficult to source."
The couple also is focusing on adding more craft and local beers to the shop's lineup, and sourcing more Arizona-made and "value" wines.
"I may be a little bit of a wine snob at heart, but I don’t have the budget to enjoy pricey wines on a regular basis," Mulchay writes. "Plus, I strongly believe that price is not indicative of the quality of a wine. There are beautiful wines in the $12 to $40 range. The trick is in finding them and developing the trust with our consumers that what we have is both reasonably priced and high quality."
Arcadia Premium has offered — and will continue to offer — delivery service to Arcadia, Biltmore, Paradise Valley, and Old Town Scottsdale. Customers can place orders by phone or online and have beer or wine delivered within the hour. Mulchay says it's a service designed with busy parents in mind, and people who don't want to have to jump back in the car in order to have a glass of wine at the end of the day.
"It’s not as if we’re providing some charitable function or delivering unicorn dust," she writes. "But I certainly can relate to how nice it is to be able to crack open a beer after a long day without leaving your house."
The couple has lots of other promotions and plans in the works, including a VIP program that will entitle members to discounts, gift certificates, and more; a Teacher Tuesday program through which students can nominate teachers, administrators, coaches, and others to win gift cards; and catering for holiday parties and other events.
Arcadia Premium's hours are:
Monday: by appointment only
Tuesday through Friday: 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Saturday and Sunday: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Tuesday through Thursday: 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Friday and Saturday: 11 a.m. to midnight
Sunday: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
For more information, check the Arcadia Premium Facebook or website — though the website is still under transition.