Flour & Thyme to open in Tempe this January. Here's what to know | Phoenix New Times

Anhelo chef to open new restaurant Flour & Thyme in Tempe

Ivan Jacobo, chef and owner of downtown Phoenix fine-dining restaurant Anhelo, is gearing up to open his next spot. Here's what to expect.
Anhelo chef and owner Ivan Jacobo plans to open his new Tempe restaurant Flour & Thyme in late January.
Anhelo chef and owner Ivan Jacobo plans to open his new Tempe restaurant Flour & Thyme in late January. Flour & Thyme
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Flour & Thyme, the second venture from Anhelo chef and owner Ivan Jacobo, is slated to open its doors in Tempe at the end of January.

Operating out of a 1,700-square-foot house built in 1933, the restaurant will open with an upscale menu serving breakfast and lunch, with Jacobo aiming to expand to dinner service in late February.

Morning customers will find gourmet coffee and pastries. Later in the day, the menu will feature heartier brunch and lunch dishes such as salads, burgers and creme brulee french toast.

For dinner, expect plates carrying foie gras, razor clams, elegantly prepared asparagus, tuna tartare, dry-aged duck pasta and a dry-aged burger. However, don’t expect a starter, sides or entree sections as the menu will instead feature small plates categorized by air, land, garden and sea.

This format allows Jacobo to explore a facet of dining much different than how his downtown Phoenix fine-dining restaurant operates.

“I want people to have a conversation and you can do that with small plates,” Jacobo says. “Everyone orders different things, passes them around and says ‘Let me try this… let me try that.’”

Flour & Thyme has a Mill Avenue address, but it sits nearly two blocks south of the party district, nestled between long-standing neighborhoods, across the street from the Arizona State University Art Museum and steps from ASU Gammage.

The simple and classic tables and chairs resemble those in a European cafe. Inside and outside dining areas will accommodate about 55 guests with a private dining room seating 12. A double-sided fireplace greets walk-up guests. A side yard will be kid-friendly with turf and toys.

This is a departure from Anhelo with its Orpheum Lofts location flaunting tall ceilings, grand windows, luxe furnishings and every bit of the elite ambiance it was meant to convey since it opened in 2021. The restaurant sits in the center of downtown and its high-end menu and Wine Spectator level 2 designation draw the special occasion crowd and out-of-town visitors.

Jacobo calls Flour & Thyme the “little sister” of Anhelo. But with a more approachable menu, a concept designed to appeal to families during the day and the date-night crowd in the evening, and its humble building, Flour & Thyme is the product of a slightly older and wiser Jacobo, who is now 32.

Interior of Flour & Thyme.
Jacobo describes his new restaurant as, "something casual but elegant enough."
Flour & Thyme

A restaurant that Tempe needs

When Anhelo opened, Jacobo says he didn’t care about the lack of convenient parking. He didn’t think about whether it appealed to guests with children or who sought a place to dine more than once or twice a year.

With Flour & Thyme, he loves that it has its own parking lot. He immediately envisioned patrons of all ages on the patio and imagined a space for toddlers, like his 3-year-old daughter. He longs for it to be a spot that draws weekly regulars in addition to the celebratory occasions.

“Mentally, it’s 180 degrees different from Anhelo,” Jacobo says. “I wanted to open something where I can go with my daughter in the morning for brunch and then go on a date with my wife that’s within walking distance…Something casual but elegant enough.”

But there are several connections between the two concepts, some of which elevate Flour & Thyme much beyond your typical neighborhood spot. Flour & Thyme’s staff trains at Anhelo before coming to Tempe, for one.

Like Anhelo, it has a thoughtful wine selection. But no glass will be more than $20, and the hundred or so cherry-picked bottles will come with a price tag of no more than $350 each. A special reserve bottle list with $2,000-$3,000 price tags will be given to those who ask.

Everything is made in-house, with several ingredients serving purposes at both restaurants. Flour & Thyme’s dry-aged burger is made with beef from Anhelo’s dry-aging program. The tuna tartare uses parts of the whole bluefin that don’t get used at Anhelo for its loin dish. And from a whole dry-aged duck, Jacobo uses the breast for a menu item at Anhelo, and the confit leg to make Flour & Thyme’s duck pasta.

When Jacobo opened Anhelo, he felt like downtown Phoenix needed a place something different amid a sea of casual eateries and bars.

“For me, I’m hoping to do the same thing in Tempe,” he says.

click to enlarge Flour & Thyme inside.
The new restaurant finds its home in an old, charming Tempe house.
Flour & Thyme

A charming perfect spot

Two years ago, Jacobo moved to Tempe with his wife and daughter. They found a home less than a mile from the building that now houses Flour & Thyme. It met his requirement of not being cookie cutter and his wife’s desire for three bedrooms and two bathrooms.

At the time, Anhelo’s fine-dining reputation was picking up steam. When they moved in and walked their two corgis, neighbors asked Jacobo what he did for a living. He said he worked at a restaurant. He’d tell them the name if they asked.

Thanks to online research, neighbors quickly found out he owned Anhelo and told him they yearned for a nice restaurant in the neighborhood. Many invoked fond memories of House of Tricks, which closed in 2022 after 34 years. The restaurant was located in an old house and deemed the last white tablecloth celebration restaurant in central Tempe.

Jacobo says filling that void is one of his goals. He spotted the vacant structure on Mill that had been many businesses in the past, including a salon and vintage shop. With its rough edges and age, the structure may have deterred many restaurateurs. But Jacobo’s previous experiences allowed him to see past the imperfections.

Before Anhelo’s swanky Orpheum Lofts address, it was located in the former Rose & Crown building at Heritage Square. Jacobo called that space “a complete disaster.” Still, he made it work and grew a loyal clientele that led him to make the move into Anhelo’s current spot.

“All your past experiences make you the person you become. If I didn’t have that space before this, I would’ve been over my head for sure,” he says.

However, when he walked up the few steps that led to the restaurant in Tempe, Jacobo knew the elevation meant digging wouldn't be required for the plumbing. The quirks of the space that come with a residential layout of a house built in the Depression era were non-issues. He recalls mentally placing where the dining room, service area and kitchen would be.

“There is so much charm in that little building. It was perfect and I could totally see a neighborhood restaurant,” Jacobo says.
click to enlarge Bistro table in the window at Flour & Thyme.
The new restaurant is designed to be a more casual counterpart to Anhelo.
Flour & Thyme

Giving back and inspiring others

Like Anhleo, Flour & Thyme will have a philanthropic side. At Anhelo, a portion of the house wine sales benefits Loveiam, a nonprofit that assists children with heart defects and their families. Jacobo gives gift certificates to nonprofits’ silent auctions and the Anhelo Scholarship Foundation benefits his alma mater, the culinary program at Estrella Mountain Community College.

He plans to do the same at Flour & Thyme but with a different beneficiary. His goal is to have each restaurant tied to a specific nonprofit and hopes his fellow restaurateurs will be inspired to do the same.

Jacobo was born in Mexico and moved with his family to Goodyear when he was 3 years old. His dad worked in construction and his mother in a warehouse. He loved watching the Food Network, which sparked his culinary interest.

He is the first person in his family to go to college and he relied on paychecks from working at a fast-food restaurant to pay his tuition. Once, he started the school year without textbooks because he couldn’t afford them. A classmate shared his books with Jacobo until payday.

“Restaurants give me one more opportunity that I can give to somebody else that I wish I had growing up,” Jacobo says.

One of very few fine-dining minority restaurant owners in the Valley, Jacobo has slowly learned to embrace this fact. He talks about a recent conversation with a young Hispanic man who is going to school to become a pilot, a goal he didn’t think was realistic until a Hispanic pilot spoke at his high school.

“I didn’t want to put myself out there as a minority because I didn’t want the restaurants to be known for that. But now, I’m OK with it,” he says. “I’m an example that if you put in the hard work you can become a restaurant owner regardless of the color of your skin. I never thought I could be the one doing the inspiring.”

When Jacobo opened Anhelo, he did so with Ikea silverware and items bought on Black Friday deals. He did what it took to function and then slowly transformed it into the restaurant he'd dreamed of.

With Flour & Thyme, it’s a different story. Jacobo will open with the chairs and tables he wants, not just settle for. Every glass, plate and piece of decor will be his first choice.

“This time, it will be the restaurant I want from the get-go,” he says. “That’s the beauty… it’s opening as it should be.”

Flour & Thyme

Opening late January
944 S. Mill Ave., Tempe
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