Kevin Binkley, chef owner of Binkley's Restaurant and Café Bink, has been planning to open an in-town restaurant for some time now. He'd found what he thought was the perfect location last summer, only to have the deal fall through. Now he's found another one -- in Central Phoenix -- that he's very excited about.
The deal isn't signed yet, and when I talked to him about it last week, he promised to tell me more when he could. This morning, he called to let me know that Howard Seftel at the Arizona Republic had gotten wind of it and called for details, which Binkley gave him. His new restaurant -- if it all shakes out -- will be housed in the space currently occupied by Sophie's Bistro.
Binkley will be open some time in February (by Valentine's Day, let's hope!).
Binkley says he's excited because the new location will put him closer to his clientele base (think Biltmore, North Phoenix and Arcadia), and that he'll have a bit more freedom to be adventurous -- as he often is at Binkley's but seldom is at Café Bink. He says that although he'll pull ideas/techniques/menu items (including molecular gastronomy hijinks) from both restaurants, he imagines the third will have its own identity. He promises it will be farm-driven because, as he puts it, "that's Arizona's strength." He says he wants to create the chalkboard mentality that emphasizes "what's right now." Although we can expect to see lots of veggies from local farmers, carnivores needn't worry. Binkley loves him some meat -- especially pork. There'll be that. And more.
"And who'll run the kitchen?", you may well ask. Binkley will install Justin Olsen, his current sous chef at Binkley's. If we're lucky, the new (and still un-named) new place will open in February.
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We'll tell you more details here at Chow Bella as we learn them.