Restaurant News

These Four Phoenix-Area Restaurants Are On the Move

Nadia Holguin and Armando Hernandez.
Nadia Holguin and Armando Hernandez. Jacob Tyler Dunn
Get ready for tea time at a new Cha Cha's Tea location on Grand Avenue. - PATRICIA ESCARCEGA
Get ready for tea time at a new Cha Cha's Tea location on Grand Avenue.
Patricia Escarcega
It's moving season for these four metro Phoenix restaurants. That means four new ways to experience the same favorite tacos and tea blends, just at different addresses. Here's a look at what to expect, and when you can give them a try.

Cha Cha's Tea

1229 Grand Avenue

The charming craft tea house that owner Ashley Hoekstra opened in the Desert Sun Plaza on Grand Avenue back in March 2018 has relocated just a couple blocks up to the road to 1229 Grand Avenue, the former home of {9} The Gallery. Cha Cha's former space, at 1325 Grand Avenue, closed on Sunday, April 25. Hoekstra hopes to have a soft opening in the new space the first weekend in May.

“People will be able to come and have tea, and work, or just sit for hours,” she says. “We’re excited to welcome people back after things getting quiet during the pandemic.”

The new Cha Cha’s Tea will have more than twice the space, after going from about 800 to 2,000 square feet. The team will cook in the back, and there'll be seating for 30 people and retail space in the front, plus a patio area. Guests will be able to enjoy a wide selection of teas and select food offerings, such as hummus and sandwiches. Hoekstra hopes to add a daily breakfast menu as well, with an all-female staff of eight that now includes chef Dana Arbel. “We’re really excited about being able to spread our wings in more directions.”

Hoekstra says the interior will have a similar vibe, with an earthy color palette. “We want the space to feel very warm and welcoming,” she explains. Amanda Atkins is painting the bathroom walls with beautiful pomegranate designs, and Hoekstra expects to have some fresh murals painted on the exterior as well. Cha Cha's will also continue to display works by local artists, keeping the creative energy of its first location.

Daily hours will be 8 a.m. to 10 p.m., with later hours on the weekends that may expand further in the fall.

Chino Bandido has moved after 31 years. - JACKIE MERCANDETTI PHOTO
Chino Bandido has moved after 31 years.
Jackie Mercandetti Photo

Chino Bandido

310 West Bell Road

Phoenix natives Eve and Frank Collins opened their Chinese-Mexican-Caribbean fusion eatery in 1990 at 15414 North 19th Avenue. Eve continued to operate in the location after Frank died in 2013. Now, she’s making the move to new culinary home, at 310 West Bell Road, which is less than three miles up the road.

Chino Bandido will move in June, hopefully closer to June 1 than mid- to late-June, but Collins doesn’t have the exact date yet. Either way, she plans a seamless transition, opening the new place the day after the last day at the old site.

The new space has a warehouse industrial look, with minimal décor. “The new building is not your hole in the wall anymore, but we’ll still have that hole-in-the-wall mentality,” Collins says. It's got about 6,200 square feet now, compared to 6,000 in the new place. It’ll be able to seat about 130 to 140 people. “It’s the same number of people as before, but it will look different because it is more open.” It'll have a patio for the first time, which should seat about 20 to 30 patrons.

“The new location will be much more organized for my kids and my staff, that’s the big reason we’re moving,” Collins explains. Expect to see familiar faces at the new location when it opens. “Some of my staff have been with me for more than 20 years, and they’re all coming with me.” Collins says the menu will remain the same.

“I wouldn't dare drop anything," she says. "My customers all have their favorites."

Nadia Holguin and Armando Hernandez. - JACOB TYLER DUNN
Nadia Holguin and Armando Hernandez.
Jacob Tyler Dunn

Taco Chiwas

1028 East Indian School Road

Named for the state of Chihuahua in northwestern Mexico that inspires its culinary style, Taco Chiwas now has three locations. Husband-and-wife team Nadia Holguin and Armando Hernandez opened in Phoenix in 2016, then Chandler in 2019, and Mesa in 2020. Now, they’re getting ready to move the Phoenix location from 1923 East McDowell Road to 1028 East Indian School Road.

They’re both former Dairy Queen locations, which Hernandez sees as a plus. “It’s definitely a good omen,” he says.

Their last day at the current Phoenix location will be May 9, and they’re planning a soft opening at the new site on May 11. Expect some changes, including new menu items and a lot more seating. “Our seating will double on the interior and we’ll have two patios,” explains Hernandez. All total, the capacity will be about 150 people, more than triple what they seat now with about 24 inside and 30 outside.

“We were able to buy the building,” says Hernandez. “It feels really good in there — it matches our aesthetic." (He’s been building benches using maple wood with warm tones with his brother and his uncle.) “We’re leaving a lot of the TVs that are already there, so it will be more of a hang-out-at-night environment.”

The couple plans several menu changes, including more desserts and specials, plus a new salad and shrimp tacos. They’re also considering extending their hours.

click to enlarge The Herb Box is moving to a new location on Shea Boulevard. - THE HERB BOX
The Herb Box is moving to a new location on Shea Boulevard.
The Herb Box

The Herb Box

7000 East Shea Boulevard, Scottsdale

The Herb Box was founded by Susan Wilcox as a catering company in 1995. Wilcox closed her DC Ranch location at 20707 North Pima Road on May 2, and plans to open the new location in north Scottsdale at 7000 East Shea Boulevard in early June.

“We actually signed the new lease in January 2020, then COVID hit and we thought we would stay put,” she says. Now, they’re making the transition, and continuing to operate their second location in Old Town.

Wilcox is going with an upscale service concept in the new space, with plenty of space for patrons to eat and hang out.

“It will be a more casual service, but very elegant with high-end food and drinks, more like a winery,” she explains. People will also be able to shop at a culinary marketplace carrying the restaurant’s signature dishes. The new location will house their main catering kitchen and have two event spaces, each with its own patio. There’s a common patio space, as well.

Expect a charming Southern aesthetic with pastel colors, textured wallpapers, and wainscoting. “It’ll be less beachy and more sophisticated,” says Wilcox. “I took a little twist down to the Southern side of the U.S.”

The new location will have twice the space, and they’re building an outdoor bar. Wilcox is playing with the menu, but says guests will still find the food they love.

“Everything you have ever gotten will be there, but it might be available in a different way,” she says.
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Lynn Trimble is an award-winning freelance writer and photographer specializing in arts and culture, including visual and performing arts
Contact: Lynn Trimble