With the beginning of cooler weather, the Valley's food scene has started to heat up. August went out with a bang. September came in with one of the year's biggest openings on its very first day. The world of eateries and drinkeries that we call home is primed for a huge fall. But before all of that gets started, you'll need to catch up on all that's gone down with our food scene in the past few weeks. Here, we share the latest food news.
A Promising New Festival Will Celebrate Booze Made in Arizona
For those of you who want a crash course in Arizona libations – or simply want an afternoon of good drinking – consider the new AZ Barrels, Bottles, & Brews festival. The event claims that "all participants will produce exclusive beers, wines, and spirits just for the events that use Arizona grown hops, yeast, grapes, plus Arizona water." This noble goal is what puts this event in its own category relative to others. AZ Barrels, Bottles, & Brews will be held on Saturday, November 3, from 2 to 5 p.m. Drinks will flow on the concourse at Salt River Fields. Familiar names headline the lineup of participating breweries, names like Huss, McFate, and Helton. There will be first-rate breweries that fly more under the radar, like 8-Bit Aleworks (Avondale), as well as breweries from other parts of Arizona, like Dragoon (Tucson). Tickets cost $50 and get you 12 samples.
DeSoto Market Has Closed
DeSoto Central Market, the Phoenix food hall on Central Avenue, has closed. The whole thing. This is a blow to the Phoenix food scene. Housed in a former car dealership, the space was home to a number of eating and drinking establishments. The Root & Soul recently opened in the space, serving promising fried chicken and southern eats. Izzy's Pantry opened recently, dishing out street food. At the bar, Bloody Marys out of Narnia teetered with add-ons like sliders. Perhaps most notably, DeSoto incubated Stephen Jones' concept The Larder + the Delta, which outgrew its digs and recently opened in a bigger space. The note in the window hints at the space's future, which is apparently already in development.
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Legendary Slider Joint White Castle Is Expanding to Metro Phoenix
White Castle, the burger chain that is almost 100 years old and serves one of the country's original sliders, will be expanding to metro Phoenix. This is big news for people who love burgers and Americana. Time magazine named the White Castle slider the most influential burger of all time. Among the chain's acolytes are college kids, stoners, people who dig old-school greasy American eating, burger buffs, and Harold, Kumar, and Neil Patrick Harris. In 2019, a White Castle will open in Scottsdale. This location will be the first White Castle in Arizona and the first family-owned White Castle west of the Mississippi River. White Castles are open 24-7.
The Churchill, a Bold New Food Vendor Hub, Is Now Open
The shipping container trend reaches its apex with The Churchill, a strange, promising food project that opened this month at First and Garfield streets. Vendors taking up residence in the project are all based in Arizona. Each, as part of monthly rent, will have to perform community service. Between the towering containers is a courtyard with seating for some 300 people. Furnishings are handcrafted. Art and murals coloring the site are by local artists. All 19 shipping containers have been repurposed. A bottle shop called Sauvage will focus on affordable wines. The Brill Line will be offering craft brews. Pobrecito, the newest cocktail bar from Barter & Shake (Counter Intuitive, UnderTow), will likely draw thirsty masses. Food choices include Breadwinner (by the EVO crew), Freak Brothers Pizza (a pizza food truck getting its first brick-and-mortar location), Provecho (setting sights on the food of central Mexico), and Foxy Fruit (smoothies and acai bowls). The Churchill looks to be a new kind of food destination for Phoenix.