The Valley dining scene saw a lot of action this September. New locations of local chains popped up at rapid rates, while established members of the Phoenix food world have been opening spots like Ghost Street Asian Taqueria, Pachamama, and Pomodoro Italian Grill & Seafood. Certain metro Phoenix restauranteurs — Chris Bianco and Aaron Chamberlin — have certainly been shaking things up too.
Let’s recap this busy month.
Aioli Gourmet Burgers430 East Bell Road, #103
Aioli Gourmet Burgers has opened its third location, taking over the spot recently occupied by Caveman Burgers in north Phoenix. All the signature burgers are there, including the White Truffle Swiss, as well as salads, mac-n-cheese bites, beer-battered onion rings, and milkshakes and floats. The new location also offers a small gallery of artwork from Latinx cartoonist John Carvajal.
B Gastrobar1422 West Warner Road, Gilbert
The Buschtetz family — the team behind Cuisine and Wine Bistro in Chandler and Copper & Logs in Gilbert — have opened B Gastrobar, a redesign of their second Cuisine & Wine Bistro location. The new Gilbert eatery will offer a New American menu of burgers, sandwiches, and salads, as well as cocktails and wine.
Backyard Taco2400 South Gilbert Road, Chandler
Backyard Taco has opened its first Chandler location, its fourth overall. The local fast-casual taco chain is known for tacos al carbon, quesadillas, and tostados.
Ghost Street Asian Taqueria9397 East Shea Boulevard, #125, Scottsdale
The folks behind Ling & Louie's Asian Bar and Grill have opened Ghost Street Asian Taqueria as a virtual eatery — delivery or pickup only. The new Scottsdale restaurant offers Asian-inspired street tacos like Wokin' Hot carne asada, blackened ahi, or duck carnitas, as well as fun sides and desserts like the banana churro bites.
GoGo Greens1900 East Fifth Street, Tempe
Another virtual restaurant, GoGo Greens offers to-go salads for delivery from DoorDash, Grubhub, and Postmates. The Tempe eatery’s menu lists five salads with grilled chicken (unless otherwise specified) and choice of dressing. Think garden, Caesar, chop, Cobb, and Sedona — a signature salad heavy with Southwestern ingredients.
Hash Kitchen9780 West Northern Avenue, #1110, Peoria
Park West in Peoria is blowing up with local restaurants, including the fifth location (and first in the west Valley) of Hash Kitchen. The famous build-your-own-bloody bar-hosting brunch restaurant will be in effect from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m., Monday through Friday, and 7 a.m. to 3 p.m., Saturday and Sunday.
Mr. Mesquite Taqueria1222 South Crismon Road, Mesa
Mr. Mesquite’s newest location is its first in Mesa. The local taqueria chain specializes in mesquite-grilled tacos, burritos, protein bowls and quesadilla
Nurdberger235 East Warner Road, #107, Gilbert
Nurdberger, the geek-themed burger joint originally from Globe, has opened a second location closer to metro Phoenix residents. This one's in Gilbert, but still offers “Next Level” burgers, steak and chicken sandwiches, and wild desserts.
Pachamama4115 North 19th Avenue
Chef Kevin (a veteran Valley chef) and “Cheffette” Maria Lebron have opened a brick-and-mortar restaurant under the same name as their pop-up. Pachamama is a plant-based restaurant that doesn’t use mock meats or soy-based product. Instead, expect specialties like Chipotle Cashew Crema Mac, Turmeric Farro Salad, Avocado Tostado, and, the most popular dish, Tacos de Papa.
Pomodoro Italian Grill & Seafood6710 East Cave Creek Road, Cave Creek
The adobe-style building along Cave Creek Road in downtown Cave Creek’s culinary strip, and former home of Cartwright’s Modern Cuisine, is now a new Italian restaurant. Pomodoro Italian Grill & Seafood is run by Federico Venturini, Philip Igneri, and Executive Chef Viola Tagliaferri. Venturini and Tagliaferri also operate Pizzicata in neighboring Carefree. The new spot offers upscale Italian fare, as well as wine and craft cocktails.
Postino South Tempe8749 South Rural Road, Tempe
Postino South Tempe is the eighth location of the Arizona-based wine café. It takes over the former spot of Tempe Public Market Café. The new spot is a Midcentury modern space with tributes to Phoenix's past and present music venues. The hostess stand is an out-of-commission, 1960s-era cigarette machine used in Mad Men, while a 300-square-foot wall and restrooms are papered with old Tempe and Phoenix show fliers. They also offer contactless mobile payment, right-in-front curbside pickup parking, and plenty of signage to direct patrons to the takeout area. Delivery is also available, as is dine-in at reduced capacity.
Rusty Taco9290 East Vía de Ventura, Scottsdale
Found inside the Pima Center in central Scottsdale, a second Rusty Taco location has been opened by local restauranteurs Daniel Fanelli and Jake Storms. The eatery offers more than 20 styles of street tacos, as well as breakfast tacos, chips and queso, seven types of craft cocktails, and more.
Snooze, an A.M. Eatery8612 East Shea Boulevard, #105 and #110, Scottsdale
The breakfast and brunch joint Snooze has opened its seventh location in great Phoenix, and its eighth in Arizona. Now brunchers can snag a bloody mary and huevos rancheros at the Pima Crossing shopping area in north Scottsdale.
Snowtime1919 West Main Street, #103, Mesa
The new H Mart in west Mesa has welcomed a new eatery: the second location of Snowtime. The spot specializes in Korean desserts called “snows” — cupped ice cream with wild fruit or candy toppings. It also serves ice cream in fish-shaped mochi waffle cones, as well as a variety of flavored drinks.
Thai Chili 2 Go5029 East Chandler Boulevard, #306
Thai Chili 2 Go is now in the double digits. The 10th location of the local quick-service Thai chain is now open in Ahwatukee from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Pane Bianco Van Buren
The second location of Chris Bianco’s beloved sandwich shop has closed. But the location itself — the former Roland’s Cafe Market Bar, at 1505 East Van Buren Street — will stay within the Bianco family of restaurants. The space will soon be home to Tratto, which is relocating from the Town and Country Shopping Center in east Phoenix. Get all the details here.
Desert Cider House
Chandler’s Desert Cider House had been open since 2016, making it the oldest craft cidery in Arizona. Flavors include Desert Dragon Hard Cider and DCH Pear. “With a great deal of consideration and deliberation, and in light of the economic realities brought on by Covid 19, we have made the difficult decision to wind down our business, and close our doors,” the cidery announced via Facebook.
CaskWerks Distilling Co.
CaskWerks Distilling Co., in operation for more than five years and known as Tempe’s first craft distillery, has closed. A lease dispute was cited as the cause. However, the distillery may be opening in future at a new location.
Phoenix Public Market Cafe
Open since 2013, Phoenix Public Market Cafe has closed in downtown Phoenix. The cafe was owned by chef and restauranteur Aaron Chamberlin, who says the space didn't have much longer on its lease, and COVID has affected its main business draws — downtown ASU students and convention and business travelers. See more details here.
Coconut’s Fish Café
The Chandler location of the fast-casual Hawaiian eatery Coconut’s Fish Café — open since 2016 — had been temporarily closed since March. Now, it is permanently closed.
La Calabria Ristorante
Open since 2008 at a previous location, La Calabria Ristorante in Gilbert has permanently closed. “Due to Covid19 we are forced to close the door,” the Italian eatery announced on Facebook. “This is a hard decision to make but unfortunately right now we have no other choice.”
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The High Street location of Growler USA, which served more than 100 beers on tap and a menu of pub fare, has closed after four years.
Editor’s note: This article was updated from its original version. See what Valley restaurants are offering takeout, delivery, and dine-in services with our Phoenix Restaurant Directory.