Closed for Business

July Restaurant Opening and Closings: Welcome Spooky’s, Bye Bye Bar Pesce

Spooky’s Swirls and more have opened in Chandler.
Spooky’s Swirls and more have opened in Chandler. Lauren Cusimano
July saw triple digits, our first monsoon, and quite a few restaurant openings and closings around greater Phoenix — mostly Chandler, it looks like. Last month welcomed Bece Kitchen, a new European eatery opened by the Beaver Choice team, and Spooky’s Swirls, a gluten-free, horror-themed bakery in Chandler.

We also saw some surprising closures, including Mill Avenue stalwart Gordon Biersch and Pig & Pickle in Scottsdale, as well as Bar Pesce. Hit it.

Bece Kitchen

9542 East Riggs Road, Sun Lakes

The team behind Beaver’s Choice has opened Bece Kitchen, a new, fast-casual eatery at Dobson and Riggs roads in Sun Lakes — a city in the very southeast Valley. Beaver Choice was, as we called it, a quirky and affordable little eatery in Mesa serving seriously delicious Polish, Canadian, and Swedish food. That’s not to say Bece Kitchen won’t be serving the same rare European and Canadian dishes down in Sun Lakes.

Brat Haus

6025 North 16th Street

The Madison neighborhood now has a new sausage-focused eatery. Brat Haus opened a second location, this time at 16th Street and Bethany Home Road in a former Capriotti’s Sandwich Shop spot. Expect German-style food and beers, including sausages, burgers, big pretzels, and 12 beers on tap.


1887 East Williams Field Road, #103, Gilbert

July was a good month for vegan treats. The vegan, build-your-own cinnamon roll chain out of California opened in Gilbert — specifically SanTan Village Parkway and Williams Field Road. Patrons of Cinnaholic get their choice of 18 frostings and 23 toppings, as well as signature rolls.

Dickey’s Barbecue Pit

21051 South Ellsworth Loop, Queen Creek

The country's biggest barbecue chain has opened its 23rd Arizona location. The new Dickey’s Barbecue Pit spot is located at Ellsworth Loop and Rittenhouse Road in Queen Creek.


2430 South Gilbert Road, Chandler

The Phoenix-based breakfast and lunch chain has opened its fourth location — and the first in in the east Valley. Eggstasy, located at Gilbert and Germann roads, is known for its imaginative breakfast items like bacon banana chile pepper crepes, chocolate-covered bacon, and cotton-candy pork belly.

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That's two new spots for Thai Chili 2 Go.
Thai Chili 2 Go

Thai Chili 2 Go

1949 East Camelback Road, #161
2010 East Elliot Road, #104, Tempe

The fast-casual Thai Chili 2 Go announced two more restaurant openings this July — one in Phoenix and the other in Tempe. Patrons may expect the same dishes like dumplings, Thai hot and sour soup, and drunken noodles that they offer at the other seven Valley locations.

Fresh Alley

1000 East Apache Boulevard, #103, Tempe

Fans of pho and boba have a new place to try in Tempe. Fresh Alley opened at Rural Road and Apache Boulevard and offers Alley Pho, organic milk tea and coffee, and snacks like popcorn chicken, Cajun fries, and wings.

MayFlower Chinese Cuisine

941 West Elliot Road, #6, Chandler

Expect menu staples like kung pao chicken, beef and broccoli, and sweet and sour pork at the MayFlower Chinese Cuisine at Alma School and Elliot roads. The new Chandler Asian and Chinese food eatery is open daily for lunch and dinner.

Naked BBQ now has a Chandler location.
Chris Malloy

Naked BBQ

890 North 54th Street, Suite A2, Chandler

Naked BBQ has occupied a spot in a north Phoenix strip mall at I-17 and Bell Road since 2015. In 2017, owner Oren Hartman opened a Scottsdale location. In July, Naked BBQ opened its third location — a spot in Chandler near I-10 and Ray Road. The former Pizza Five85 spot now offers the famously “naked” and dry-rubbed barbecue dishes, including brisket, pulled pork, and smoked turkey.

O.H.S.O. Brewery PHX

3400 East Sky Harbor Boulevard

O.H.S.O. Brewery & Distillery now has a second Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport location — this time among the many restaurants and bars of Terminal 4. The new location offers an abridged version of the O.H.S.O. menu, including burgers, sandwiches, salads, or course, and local craft beers at Gate B9.

Tucked Away Craft Kitchen & Bar

3630 East Southern Avenue, #106, Mesa

The aptly named Tucked Away Craft Kitchen & Bar occupies a suite at the shopping plaza at Val Vista Drive and Southern Avenue. The Mesa eatery is operated by Sean Hayes & Jo Ann Franko of Tipsy Cactus TapRoom & Bottle Shop, along with Chef Gabe Madrid of the Taste of New Mexico food truck. Menu offerings include New American small plates, brunch options, and craft cocktails.

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Chefs Chris Szydlowski and Lola Forbes, the magic team behind Spooky's Swirls.
Lauren Cusimano

Spooky’s Swirls

3029 North Alma School Road, #117, Chandler

This horror-themed, 100-percent gluten-free bakery in Chandler is kind of like like a Hard Rock Café for horror fans, and a saving grace for sweets fan with celiac sensitivity. Set in the Paseo Del Oro shopping plaza, Spooky's Swirls is overseen by four co-owners — chefs Chris Szydlowski and Lola Forbes, Horror & SciFi Prop Preservation Association founder James Azrael, and Ernesto Avina, also with the HSPPA. Inside, find horror-themed cupcakes and a small museum of horror-movie memorabilia.

Sweet Magnolia Smokehouse

4929 East Chandler Boulevard, #405

The new Sweet Magnolia Smokehouse is another example of a food truck getting a brick-and-mortar restaurant. Around since 2014, Sweet Magnolia offers barbecue dishes and sides like brisket, pulled pork, and chicken, plus coleslaw, mac ’n’ cheese, potato salad, and more at 50th Street and Chandler Boulevard. The spot occupies, again, a former Capriotti’s Sandwich Shop.

LokoPuff Donut Holes & Coffee

5000 South Arizona Mills Circle, #114, Tempe

The old Sweet Daddy Cupcakes shop has not strayed far, taste-wise. LokoPuff Donut Holes & Coffee at Arizona Mills serves customizable doughnut holes with your choice of fillings, toppings, and dipping sauce.

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Bar Pesce is now closed.
Jackie Mercandetti

Bar Pesce

Monday, July 29, was the last day of operation for Bar Pesce — Chef Cullen Campbell’s well-known restaurant that had just revamped and renamed itself in 2018. Before, the spot hidden around the corner of the shopping plaza at 36th Street and Indian School Road was Crudo — established in 2012. Now, after seven years of Campbell overseeing some sort of culinary operation at 3603 East Indian School Road, Bar Pesce will be closing as well.

Boston Market

A south Tempe location of Boston Market, found at McClintock Drive and Elliot Road, has closed.

Casablanca Rooftop Lounge

The Scottsdale rooftop bar on Southbridge, known as a good spot for cigars and cocktails, has closed after 10 years because of a rent increase.

The Novelist

Downtown Gilbert’s speakeasy-style bar and eatery closed inside O.H.S.O. Brewery. The spot will be reopening as the Barrel Room.

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Gordon Biersch on Mill Avenue has closed after nearly two decades.
Lauren Cusimano

Gordon Biersch

Downtown Tempe brewpub Gordon Biersch has been a three-story mainstay at the northwest corner of Mill Avenue and Fifth Street for almost two decades. The 19-year-old wraparound balcony restaurant, which offered German beer and New Orleans-style fare, has closed.

Pig & Pickle

Scottsdale gastropub Pig & Pickle, which we’ve highlighted for the imaginative menu, beer list, and massive tater tots, also closed down because of a landlord dispute. Pig & Pickle had been housed in its strip mall setting at the northwest corner of Hayden and Thomas roads for almost seven years.


The Chandler location of Porkopolis closed in June, and in July, the Scottsdale — and remaining — location closed as well. The Scottsdale spot had been open since 2016.

Tacos Tequila Whiskey

The Colorado chain has closed its Arizona location at 40th Street and Indian School Road. The place served Mexican-style street food, mainly tacos, as well as starters and cocktails.

Sushi J

The Scottsdale sushi spot, known also for its tea selection, happy hour, and small plates, has also closed.
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Lauren Cusimano was the Phoenix New Times food editor from 2018 to 2021. Joys include eating wings, riding bikes, knowing everyone at the bar, talking too much about The Simpsons, and falling asleep while reading.