From now until we publish the 2016 edition of Best of Phoenix, New Times is naming 100 Tastemakers — members of our local culinary community who help shape the way we eat, drink, and think about food in Phoenix. Some you'll know, and for others, it'll be a first introduction, but each person on our list deserves a nod for helping make our city so delicious. Oh, and while you're here, be sure to check out our list of 100 Creatives.
Today, a woman who's helping up the game in the local restaurant scene.
76. Lauren Bailey of Upward Projects
Lauren Bailey is a co-founder of Upward Projects, the group behind some of the Valley's favorite places for food and drink. The company's portfolio of eateries includes the local go-to spot for a bottle and board, Postino; the central Phoenix neighborhood eatery (with a killer patio), Windsor; the whimsical, nostalgic ice creamery, Churn; Federal Pizza; and Joyride Taco House.
Before becoming a successful restaurant mogul, Bailey was raised in Indiana and spent time living in cities up and down the East Coast. She attended Arizona State University, and graduated in 2002 with dual degrees in communication and fine art. In 2006, she married her husband and business partner, Wyatt Bailey, in Italy, and today, she focuses primarily on conceptualization, design, and operations for Upward's existing concepts, as well as future projects.
And if her restaurant chops aren't impressive enough, Bailey's also a board member of Local First Arizona, a steering committee member for Devour Phoenix, and was inducted into the Arizona Culinary Hall of Fame as Restaurateur of the Year in 2014. In her spare time, she travels, hunts for vintage treasures, and cooks.
Today she shares her favorite place for vintage finds and her restaurant pet peeve. (Hint: It has nothing to do with service or food.)
My go-to place for one-of-a-kind finds in Phoenix is Modern Manor. They jam that place full of so much awesome stuff I think our storage is being sought after for an episode of Hoarders!
The best-kept secret in Phoenix is the level of collaboration and connectedness in the restaurant community. I’m not sure why not many know of the strong relationships we have with each other. We all share a strong desire to make the culinary culture in Phoenix really vibrant, and these veins of support run deep and wide.
My favorite historical building in Phoenix is the former Valley National Bank that now houses Postino Highland, our newest location, because it was designed by Frank Henry and has so many amazing details still left intact that you could never replicate today. Arizona State University has a significant archive of his work on this building, and we were able to use many photographs and drawings of the bank in the restoration process. So many of these buildings have been destroyed or lack historical points of reference.
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I'm currently obsessed with the new AZ International Market in Mesa and totally over being over anything. I’ve learned that everything makes a comeback at some point, and there is always potential value in everything.
My restaurant pet peeve is lighting. Too bright, too dark, spots in the face, ugly fixtures, the green LED glow and, in general, mismanagement of this imperative mood-setting tool.
The 2016 Tastemakers so far:
100. Aaron Chamberlin of St. Francis and Phoenix Public Market Cafe
99. Ross Simon of Bitter & Twisted Cocktail Parlour
98. Debby Wolvos of DW Photography
97. Anibal and Salem Beyene of Café Lalibela Ethiopian Restaurant
96. Bo Mostow of Uptown Farmers Market
95. Julian Wright of Pedal Haus Brewery
94. Stephen Jones of The Larder + The Delta
93. Eric Glomski of Page Spring Cellars
92. Richard Bock of Giuseppe's on 28th
91. Walter Sterling of Ocotillo
90. Daniel Sevilla of Angry Crab Shack
89. Doug Robson of Gallo Blanco and Otro Cafe
88. LaDawn Driscoll of Liberty Market
87. Jason Calhoon of The Shop Beer Co. and Side Kick Cold Brew
86. Tim and Kim Cobb of United Lunchadores Street Gourmet
85. Micah Olson of Bar Crudo and Okra Cookhouse and Cocktails
84. Paola Embry of Christopher's + Crush and The Wrigley Mansion
83. Jared Porter of The Clever Koi
82. Diane Corieri of Evening Entertainment Group
81. Erich Schultz of Steadfast Farm Shares His Go-To Place For Beer That Tastes "Like Arizona"
80. Jeff and Leah Huss of Huss Brewing Company
79. Aaron Pool of Gadzooks Enchiladas and Soup
78. Diana Santospago of The Maine Lobster Lady food truck
77. Gio Osso of Virtu Honest Craft and Nico Heirloom Kitchen