Last month we welcomed quite a few new dining spots into the local dining scene. The newcomers include a second restaurant from Michael Babcock and Jenn Robinson (Welcome Diner) and a new restaurant concept from chef Silvana Salcido Esparza. In November we also said good-bye to a few of our local spots -- most notably to Arizona landmark Monti's La Casa Veija in Tempe.
- Welcome Chicken + Donuts, Phoenix
- The Beer Research Institute, Mesa
- The Cultured Pearl, Scottsdale
- Barrio Avion, Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport
- Blasted Barley, Tempe
- Stingray Sushi, Chandler
From our First Taste: Southern food is definitely having a moment right now, but Welcome Chicken + Donuts raises the bar with Asian-inspired sauces and excellent chicken. We loved the focused offerings and that this second spot has a unique identity from the original spot.
"The new Cultured Pearl sushi restaurant is much larger than its predecessor and is meant to be a modern take on a classic supper club."
"Just weeks after announcing her plans to open a second restaurant at The Yard in Phoenix, chef Silvana Salcido Esparza has unveiled a new fast-casual concept in Terminal 2 at Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport. Called Barrio Avion, the restaurant takes a cue from Tinta Mexicana, a concept Esparza designed for the food court at Arizona Mills mall in Tempe."
"The restaurant and brewery has taken over the former Tavern on Mill, a longstanding Tempe bar that closed its doors over the summer."
"Called The Upton, the new dining destination features the talents of former Petite Maison sous chef Chris Schlattman, who's teamed up with co-owners Sean Zimmerman, Bran Oberg, and Pouria Malihi on the new concept."
From our First Taste: It's clear when looking at the menu and tasting the restrained flavors of the food that the kitchen is holding back for now. The price point and familiar cuisine seem to be a good fit for the neighborhood -- we can't wait to see what happens when they get comfortable enough to turn up the heat.
"Unlike your typical ice cream shop, this eatery specializes in using liquid nitrogen to flash freeze frozen desserts created by the customers -- and the offerings go beyond just ice cream; you'll also find sorbet, yogurt, and even rice pudding."
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"In addition to serving a selection of Short Leash signature creations, the small counter service spot is also offering doughnuts from Short Leash's Rollover Doughnuts."
- The Lodge, Scottsdale
- The Cove Grill, Chandler
- Monti's La Casa Vieja, Tempe
"The silver lining to the loss is that May and his Lodge co-owners have purchased another nearby bar. Owner Quinn Goldsberry says they won't be changing the new spot into The Lodge, but that they will be re-opening the bar elsewhere."
"The steakhouse been open since 1956 but soon, after nearly 60 years of business, Monti's La Casa Vieja will close its doors for good."