Binkley's to close in August, The Larder & The Delta moves in | Phoenix New Times

Binkley's to close in August. The Larder & The Delta is moving in

Chef Stephen Jones was "floored" at the offer to take over Binkley's. Now he's planning a 10 to 12-course tasting menu.
Binkley's Restaurant will close after 20 years in business.
Binkley's Restaurant will close after 20 years in business. Jackie Mercandetti Photo

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After 20 years in business, Phoenix fine dining spot Binkley's Restaurant will close in August.

In addition to marking the end of a chapter for chef Kevin Binkley, it also marks a new one for chef Stephen Jones. The proprietor of the modern Southern eatery The Larder & The Delta will open in the space, Binkley's announced via a post on Instagram.

“Twenty years is a huge accomplishment for us. We are just so excited to see what the future holds for us and thrilled that Stephen’s taking over,” Binkley told Phoenix New Times on Tuesday following his announcement. “I don’t think it could have worked out any better.”

Starting May 24, Binkley's will introduce its final menu, the chef shared in his post, noting Binkley's will mark its 20th anniversary on May 25.

"We will bring back many of our most loved dishes from over the years, and it will be available until mid-August. We hope you will come and be nostalgic with us!" the post read.
click to enlarge Chef Kevin Binkley.
Chef Kevin Binkley announced he will close his fine dining restaurant Binkley's after 20 years in business.

Binkley, an 11-time James Beard Award nominee, initially opened the restaurant in Cave Creek before moving it to a home-turned-restaurant on Osborn Road near 24th Street, offering multi-course tasting menus for 20 guests. The intimate experience made Binkley's one of Phoenix New Times' Top 100 restaurants and among our favorites for fine dining.

After serving its last meals in August, Binkley will turn over the keys to Jones, a chef who Binkley says was his first choice to take over the space. Conversations between them began in January, Binkley says.

A new home, format for The Larder & The Delta

Jones, a two-time James Beard Award nominee, shuttered his downtown location of The Larder & The Delta in October after five years in the space, citing a failure to come to terms on a new lease with the landlord.

“We reached out to him because we knew he was without a space and we love him, not just as a chef but as a person,” says Binkley, who has known Jones since he cooked at Blue Hound Kitchen & Cocktails.

Jones describes the conversation with Binkley as a moment of "shock and awe."

“I was floored, and everything from that moment on was a blur," Jones says.

The next iteration of The Larder & The Delta (whose name has evolved from The Larder + The Delta) will be a fine-dining tasting menu, served Wednesday through Saturday. The restaurant will open for service on Sept. 12, Jones says.

The menu will include 10 to 12 courses for $160 and a $125 wine pairing. The dishes will progress from smaller bites to vegetable-forward dishes. Each menu will showcase a rice course, Jones notes.

"That is going to be an homage to the rice trade and what rice means to the South and what it meant to my ancestors," he says. “Rice is such a massive part of the culinary journey that often gets overlooked... I want to make it a focal point."

Diners can also expect high-end products including A5 Wagyu, seafood and foie gras, but not in such abundance that it dominates the menu. Vegetarian options will also be available. And, Jones aims to add a monthly brunch service in early 2025.

Although Jones was looking to return to fine dining, he wasn't considering a tasting menu format. But, being offered the space at Binkley's "solidified my dream," Jones says.

With the impending return of The Larder & The Delta, Jones can continue to tell the complex culinary history of the South.

“Our story can be told in this fine dining space," Jones says. “It’s not just soul food – there’s layers to southern food."

Binkley and his wife Amy will serve as advisory partners, with Binkley adding, "It's Stephen's show."

“The fact that they elected to come on board with us in an advisory role and be a part of the restaurant group is amazing," Jones says.

The Larder & The Delta chef says he will bring on some former staff and is making offers to retain staff from Binkley's.
click to enlarge Chef Stephen Jones.
The Larder & the Delta chef and owner Stephen Jones will bring his modern Southern restaurant back in the Binkley's Restaurant space.
Chris Malloy
Following the announcement, fans and fellow chefs shared their gratitude and well wishes to Binkley.

"Cheers chef. Bravisimo!" wrote chef Silvana Salcido Esparza, who announced last month she will close her iconic Mexican restaurant Barrio Cafe.

The Nelson's Meat + Fish Instagram account shared a congratulatory Instagram story to the chefs, first commending Binkley for hitting 20 years in business.

"This is an incredible milestone in any business, but particularly hard in hospitality," the post read in part.

The seafood shop account also welcomed Jones to the neighborhood.

"We are so stoked to see our friend (Jones) and (The Larder & The Delta) so close to our shop creating his cuisine inspired by this space," the post said.

Binkley says he and Amy are likewise looking forward to this new chapter.

“We get to pass on the torch to somebody really great that deserves the recognition in a spot that he can really pull off some great stuff,’ Binkley says. “We’re super psyched for chef Stephen Jones, we’re very excited for ourselves and we’re thrilled about the future.”

Binkley's Restaurant

2320 E. Osborn Road
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