Restaurant News

October Restaurant Openings and Closings: White Castle Is Here, Bye Quartiere

Flint by Baltaire has come to the Esplanade.
Flint by Baltaire has come to the Esplanade. Flint by Baltaire
October was popping off with more than Halloween parties and impromptu costume stores. It also welcomed dozens of new restaurants to the entire Valley — everything from gelato and Greek yogurt shops to upscale cocktail bars, Chicago-style chicken shops, and vegetarian restaurants. Oh yeah, and Arizona’s first White Castle also opened.

Read on for the complete rundown.


Board & Brew

1015 South Rural Road, #105, Tempe

The former Even Stevens spot is now Board & Brew — a San Diego-based sandwich chain known for that orangey dipping sauce. Guests can pair their hot or cold sandwich selections with one of 12 beers on tap.

Café de Bangkok

1111 North Gilbert Road, #101, Gilbert

Set in the former Thai Mint Café spot, Café de Bangkok offers a modern interpretation on classic Thai dishes. Probably the most intriguing thing on the menu is the special Thai street noodle bowls, including the bamee kiew moodang.

Century Grand

3626 East Indian School Road

Barter & Shake Creative Hospitality recently opened Century Grand — an art deco-inspired concept aiming to immerse guests in the experience of sipping modern cocktails in an early 20th-century train station. Century Grand offers an extensive whiskey list, an array of interesting wines, and, of course, meticulously fashioned cocktails. Chef Sacha Levine, formerly named Best of Phoenix's vegetable wizard, has prepared a menu of mostly sharable items, harking back to comfort dishes made in humble American homes of the 1920s and '30s.

click to enlarge Chompie’s Takeout has arrived at the new Fry's downtown. - LAUREN CUSIMANO
Chompie’s Takeout has arrived at the new Fry's downtown.
Lauren Cusimano

Chompie’s Takeout

100 East Jefferson Street

Chompie’s Takeout is now open at Fry’s Downtown, and offers grab-and-go items, as well as breakfast options, sandwiches, sliders, and hot items like the Reuben sandwiches and the Chomp-a-dilla. Chompie’s Takeout is open daily from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. in the beautiful new Fry’s.

Clay Dawgs

546 North Gilbert Road, Gilbert

The people behind Waldo’s BBQ and Caldwell County BBQ have now opened Clay Dawgs — a mesquite-fired hot dog restaurant near downtown Gilbert. So far, the Mac ’n’ Cheese Dawg is looking pretty good.

Cold Beer and Cheeseburgers

8624 E. Shea Boulevard Scottsdale

The growing local sports bar chain Cold Beer and Cheeseburgers has opened its 11th Valley location — this time  at Pima Crossing. It’s also the fourth location in Scottsdale, and the largest CB&C to date with more than 400 seats and 60 flat screens.

click to enlarge A burger, chicken sandwich, and potatoes two ways at Commander Hamburger. - CHRIS MALLOY
A burger, chicken sandwich, and potatoes two ways at Commander Hamburger.
Chris Malloy

Commander Hamburger

901 North First Street

The Churchill gained a new tenant in October: Commander Hamburger. This a patty-slinging, chicken-frying, elevated fast food counter is overseen by Bernie Kantak, known for his role as executive chef at The Gladly and Citizen Public House, Commander has a tight menu lasered in on simple American classics: A burger, a chicken sandwich, soft serve, fries, tater tots, and the locally famous chopped salad.

Culture Clash

1661 South Val Vista Drive, #102, Gilbert

This family-owned shop offers 16 flavors of handcrafted Greek yogurt with fruits and toppings, as well as Cartel Coffee. Culture Clash is located at Val Vista Drive and Ray Road in Gilbert.

Flint by Baltaire

2425 East Camelback Road

Flint by Baltaire opened at the Esplanade at 24th Street and Camelback Road — the plaza across the street from Biltmore Fashion Park. As the name implies, the same team behind Baltaire in Los Angeles oversees the new eatery with a menu listing mostly wood-fired seasonal cuisine and drinks. Flint serves lunch and dinner.

From the Roots Up

1130 West Grove Avenue, #111, Mesa

Soul food meets vegetarian options at From the Roots Up in west Mesa. Think pulled barbecue jackfruit, deep-fried chipotle cauliflower, boba tea, and more. Plus, there’s usually live music and always local art.

click to enlarge And it offers organic, gluten-free, vegetarian food. - GIVING TREE CAFÉ
And it offers organic, gluten-free, vegetarian food.
Giving Tree Café

Giving Tree Café

2024 North Seventh Street

Set on Seventh Street in the Coronado District, Giving Tree Café offers organic, gluten-free, vegetarian food. Think lentil pancakes, avocado sandwiches, and veggies bowls. The large, airy restaurant also has a large, shady patio.

Harold’s Chicken Shack

1635 East Baseline Road, #105

Chicago-style fried chicken is picking up in Phoenix, this time in the form of Harold’s Chicken Shack. The 1950-established Chicago chain offers wing dinners, chicken buckets, tenders, livers, and gizzards — plus sides like fries, bread, and cole slaw.

Heaven on a Spoon Italian Gelato

1950 East University Drive, #102, Mesa

From the family behind Lombardo’s comes Heaven on a Spoon at Gilbert Road and University Drive in Mesa. The family-owned gelato shop has everything from fresh-made mango gelato to dairy and sugar-free options.

Kaleidoscope Juice

8977 North Scottsdale Road, Scottsdale

A fifth location of Kaleidoscope has recently opened, providing juice, smoothies, and protein cookies to The Shops in Gainey Village. The 1,000-square-foot space has a countertop fresh-press juice machine, and a 100 percent organic menu. The shop is open weekdays from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., and 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. on weekends.

click to enlarge Little Cay meaning little island. - DEBBY WOLVOS
Little Cay meaning little island.
Debby Wolvos

Little Cay Latin Caribbean Kitchen

4912 East Shea Boulevard

Little Cay Latin Caribbean Kitchen — Little Cay meaning little island — offers a diverse menu of Caribbean, Central American, and South American fare. That diverse menu lists an original Cuban sandwich, a Jamaican jerk chicken entree, and a boricua salad — slow-roasted pulled pork with pink beans and yellow rice.

Mama Thai Kitchen

4995 South Alma School Road, #1, Chandler

The former Silk Thai spot at Alma School and Chandler Heights roads is now Mama Thai Kitchen. The lengthy menu lists stir-fried entrees, salads, curry, noodles, and a whole page of specials.

Master Taco

1537 West Broadway Road, #105, Tempe

The fast-casual Mexican restaurant originated in Surprise in 2018. Now Master Taco has opened a second location in Tempe west of Priest Drive and Broadway Road.

Meat the Ball

16211 North Scottsdale Road, Suite A5, Scottsdale

Pomo Restaurant Group’s own restauranteur Stefano Fabbri has opened another location of Meat the Ball, this time in the Scottsdale Promenade. This meatball-focused, Italian restaurant also offers vegan, gluten-free, and vegetarian options.

Ojos Locos Sports Cantina

1656 South Alma School Road, Mesa

Step right aside, Bikini Beans. Ojos Locos Sports Cantina opened an Arizona location at Alma School Road off Route 60. Think appetizers, happy-hour specials, Mexican dishes, and tiny tank top in southwest Mesa.

Original ChopShop

8738 South Emerald Drive, Tempe
The Original ChopShop has opened a second Tempe location, also offering protein bowls, beloved chopped salads, sandwiches, juice, protein shakes, acai bowls, and more.

click to enlarge Pizza and wine at Sauce Pizza & Wine. - SAUCE
Pizza and wine at Sauce Pizza & Wine.

Sauce Pizza & Wine

705 South Myrtle Avenue, #101

The fast-casual pizza, salad, and wine joint has opened its first Tempe location, and you know it’s near Arizona State University. Sauce offers quick-service lunch and dinner options, including signature pizzas like the chicken pesto, panini like the meatballs and mozzarella, and the pizza cookies.


21001 North Tatum Boulevard

Desert Ridge Marketplace has welcomed a new tenant, Sharetea — a Taiwan-based boba tea concept packed with options.

Sizzle Mongolian Grill

1050 West Chandler Boulevard, #3, Chandler

The northwest corner of Alma School Road and Chandler Boulevard is the new home of Sizzle Mongolian Grill, a build-your-own-bowl eatery and fast-casual concept. Your ingredients are then cooked on the spot in a stir-fry wok.

So Far, So Good

901 North First Street

The cocktail bar in back of The Churchill, the 14,000-square-foot food court in downtown Phoenix, has closed. However, the Pobrecito space has been relaunched as So Far, So Good — another cocktail bar overseen by Pobrecito's general manager, Sam Olguin.

click to enlarge The exterior of Sunbar in downtown Tempe. - SUNBAR'S FACEBOOK PAGE
The exterior of Sunbar in downtown Tempe.
Sunbar's Facebook page


24 West Fifth Street, Tempe

The mostly patio Sunbar in downtown Tempe’ nightlife district. The Mill Avenue-adjacent spot has 45 draft brews on tap (plus cans and bottles) and an organic kitchen with healthy-leaning options — including items for vegans and vegetarians.

Taco Culture

3233 East Chandler Boulevard, Suite 6-A

The former Francisco’s Mexican Food spot is now Taco Culture, offering tacos, burritos, quesadillas, nachos, and more. The Mexican fast food joint opened at 32nd Street and Chandler Boulevard in the Ahwatukee area.

Tacos N More Mexican Grill 3

1085 West Queen Creek Road, #6, Chandler

The local Tex-Mex eatery has opened its third location, this time at Alma School and Queen Creek roads in Chandler. The family-owned Tacos N More is known for its salsa bar and of course, its tacos.

Thai Chili 2 Go

2010 East Elliot Road, #104, Tempe

The fast-casual Thai Chili 2 Go announced yet another location, this time in Tempe. Patrons may expect the same dishes like dumplings, Thai hot and sour soup, and drunken noodles that they offer at the other eight Valley locations.

click to enlarge Two unrolled and three rolled beef tacos from The Drowning Taco. - CHRIS MALLOY
Two unrolled and three rolled beef tacos from The Drowning Taco.
Chris Malloy

The Drowning Taco

264 East Broadway Road, Mesa

Once found under a tricolored canopy in a Mesa parking, a family-owned truck specializing in drowned tacos has opened a physical location. We recommend going straight for owner Alma Kerby's signature dish, “taquitos ahogada,” when visiting The Drowning Taco.

The Nook – A Daytime Eatery

3321 East Queen Creek Road, #101, Gilbert

Formerly The Egg & I, The Nook is a new breakfast and lunch joint in the same spot, overseen by the same people. The menu has everything from avo toast and a breakfast burrito to the Hiker’s Benedict and chicken spinach salad.

The Screamery

140 North Arizona Avenue, #106, Chandler

Downtown Chandler has recently welcomed The Screamery at Arizona Avenue and Chandler Boulevard. It’s the second Valley location for the Tucson-based company and is known as Arizona’s first ice cream pasteurizer.

click to enlarge It's on at The Theodore. - JUSTIN EVANS
It's on at The Theodore.
Justin Evans

The Theodore

110 East Roosevelt Street

An anticipated downtown beer shop, The Theodore was recently brought to Roosevelt Row by the same people behind The Sleepy Whale in Chandler (including Justin Evans of The Wandering Tortoise). The beer and wine bar is also a bottle shop, and offers mead, cider, and coffee to boot. The best seats in the house may be outside, though, on the tight sidewalk patio beneath the cartoonishly good mural of the bar's namesake, Teddy Roosevelt.

Toca Madera

4736 North Goldwater Boulevard, Scottsdale

Scottsdale Fashion Square welcomed Toca Madera — the first location of the fine-dining, organic Mexican concept. It’s also the type of place that has a mixology program. The 8,000-square-foot restaurant was installed by the same people who opened Tocaya Organica nearby in the food court.

White Castle

9310 East Via de Ventura, Scottsdale

Arizona’s first White Castle opened to great hoopla last month, adjacent to Scottsdale in the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community’s Talking Stick Entertainment District. The 1921-established, 24-hour slider joint is known for tiny hamburgers, tiny cheeseburgers, and big lines.

click to enlarge Donut Bar is gone, guys. - JACOB TYLER DUNN
Donut Bar is gone, guys.
Jacob Tyler Dunn

Donut Bar

The San Diego-based Donut Bar, the gourmet doughnuts shop meets drinking spot, closed its lone Arizona location in Scottsdale.

La Casa de Juana

The Mesa location of La Casa de Juana has closed. The original Tempe space, however, remains open as the sole location.

Menchie’s Frozen Yogurt

The California-based Menchie’s Frozen Yogurt has closed its location on Gilbert Road off Loop 202. However, its other five locations in the east Valley remain in operation.

NYPD Pizza

The Mill Avenue location of NYPD Pizza has closed after more than five years of operation in downtown Tempe.


The Italian restaurant located at the southwest corner of Mill Avenue and Alameda Drive in Tempe is now closed. Quartiere, Italian for “district” or “neighborhood,” served traditional Italian food, and was overseen by Erick and Rochelle Geryol. The eatery was part of the restaurant family behind Boulders on Broadway, Boulders on Southern, and Spokes on Southern — which all remain open.

click to enlarge The Root and Soul has closed in Scottsdale. - JACKIE MERCANDETTI PHOTO
The Root and Soul has closed in Scottsdale.
Jackie Mercandetti Photo

Root and Soul

The Root and Soul, a 2018-established north Scottsdale restaurant that specialized in “gourmet” soul food, has closed. The soul food eatery at Frank Lloyd Wright Boulevard and 100th Street was operated by Christian Buze — whose grandmother is Elizabeth White, founder of the iconic Mrs. White’s Golden Rule Cafe in downtown Phoenix.

Village Inn

The national breakfast diner Village Inn closed two of its Mesa locations — one at Stapley Drive and Baseline Road and the other at Power Road and Main Street.

Editor's note: This article has been updated from its original version.
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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.