The Phoenix strip mall space that once housed Eliot Wexler's fine-dining outlet Noca has been dark for several weeks, but Wexler hasn't said much about the future of the spot until now. There's good news and bad for Noca fans, but the bottom line is that you won't be seeing the restaurant serving dinner again. Wexler has decided to close Noca and focus on his sandwich concept, Nocawich.
"If you look back, we did some beautiful stuff," Wexler says. "And it paved the way for the Nocawich project."
Wexler says there were a number of factors that played into the decision to close the restaurant, but the end result is that he's ended his lease at the location on Camelback Road. Noca was his "baby," Wexler says, but now he's ready to move on to a new chapter.
And that new chapter will bring him to Tempe, more specifically to one of the fastest-growing parts of Arizona State University's campus.
Wexler will open a Nocawich on College Avenue, the same street where Postino and Snooze are setting up shop. The restaurant, which will have an outdoor patio, will take over the space occupied at one time by Smashburger.
In addition to sandwiches, Nocawich will serve breakfast, burgers, salads, and late-night eats. Those doughnuts and hot dogs we showed you earlier this summer, as well as housemade soft-serve ice cream, also will be available. The ever-ingredient-focused Wexler says he won't be compromising on sourcing the best ingredients he can, while still keeping prices competitive for students.
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"It's really all the things that get me excited -- I'm putting in Nocawich," Wexler says.
He's also gotten permission to serve alcohol, so of-age students will be able to look forward to beer and wine on tap, in addition to a selection of cocktails.
"I'm hoping this is a concept that will fit there for 20 years," Wexler says.