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The Phoenix restaurant scene is on fire this spring.EXPAND
The Phoenix restaurant scene is on fire this spring.
Courtesy of Culinary Dropout

April Openings and Closings: So Long Osteria. Drinks at Thunderbird?

April saw a number of restaurant openings in greater Phoenix, and to swing the pendulum in the other direction, there were a couple of closings as well. Thunderbird Lounge and Dino’s Napoletana are breathing new life into the one-of-a-kind Melrose District, and area chains like Culinary Dropout are opening additional locations. But Osteria, one of the better Italian restaurants in the Valley, did have to sign off. Here’s the list of restaurant openings and closings across Phoenix in April.

Asian City


8490 South Power Road, #105, Gilbert


Chinese, Japanese, and Thai food waits on the menu at Asian City — a new fast-casual restaurant in southeast Chandler. There are family-style servings of kung pao chicken and beef with broccoli, combo platter of beef lo mein and Szechuan pork, and lunch and dinner specials.

Basilic Vietnamese Kitchen


101 East McDowell Road


Three Vu brothers from southern Vietnam opened this 132-seat restaurant in central Phoenix across from the Phoenix Art Museum in early April. The expansive menu covers bowls of pho, banh mi sandwiches, banh xeo, bun, raw and fried spring rolls, mussel bowls, and wok-fried calamari. And at Basilic Vietnamese Kitchen, drink options range from Vietnamese coffee to Asian beer with a mixologist on the way.

Biryani & Bites


955 West Chandler Heights Road, #1, Chandler


Curry Bowl has rebranded itself as Biryani & Bites, but they still serve curry. And, of course, biryani and bites like chicken masakkali. End of blurb.

Broken Yolk Café


2970 East Germann Road, Chandler


Breakfast joint Broken Yolk Café has opened a second location in the east Valley in Chandler, and it has everything you expect: fluffy eggs, colorful omelets, pancake stacks, French toast, and coffee refills. There are also inventive Bloody Mary drinks, mimosas, and lunch options like salads, sandwiches, and burgers.

April Openings and Closings: So Long Osteria. Drinks at Thunderbird?EXPAND
Courtesy of Culinary Dropout

Culinary Dropout


383 North Gilbert Road, Gilbert


Set at the start (or the end) of the Heritage District in Gilbert, Culinary Dropout sits as Sam Fox’s sixth location. The 25,000-square-foot space has indoor and outdoor seating, two private dining rooms, and yes, the Yard area with ping pong, cornhole, and more. Expect inventive cocktails, American menu items, and those famous pretzel balls.

Dino’s Napoletana


710 West Montecito Avenue


Part of the Restaurant Progress culinary family, Dino’s Napoletana is a late-night food trailer located behind Restaurant Progress and the (we’ll get to it) Thunderbird Lounge in the 1930s Wagon Wheel Building. And it means late night, as operating hours are often till 2 a.m. — but they're always listed on the Instagram page. This Melrose District pizza trailer offers three kinds of wood-fired pizzas to pair with your libations inside Thunderbird.

Gadzooks Enchiladas & Soups


505 West University Drive, Tempe


Brothers and owners Aaron and Jared Pool opened a Tempe location of Gadzooks Enchiladas & Soup in mid-April. The third location of the fast-casual Mexican eatery occupies a 1,972-square-foot space, plus an additional 370-square-foot patio. The menu keeps the expected tacos, enchiladas, and soups as well as Modelo-braised bison, sweet-and-spicy cornbread, house-made Osborn Oro margaritas, and Wren House beers.

Now open: Merkin Vineyards — a wine bar owned by head winemaker Maynard James Keenan.EXPAND
Now open: Merkin Vineyards — a wine bar owned by head winemaker Maynard James Keenan.
Alex Landeen

Merkin Vineyards Old Town Scottsdale


7133 East Stetson Drive, #4, Scottsdale


No more scenic road trips to the adorable city of Jerome or Cottonwood (but we still kind of encourage that). Old Town Scottsdale has welcomed into its fold Merkin Vineyards — a wine bar owned by head winemaker Maynard James Keenan. The best part? Everything you see on the wine and vegetable-driven menu has been grown in state.

Mrs. Chicken


4011 North 32nd Street


George Frasher of Frasher’s Smokehouse has opened Mrs. Chicken — a Nashville hot chicken restaurant in Arcadia. Aside from the great name, Mrs. Chicken offers typical chicken joint entrees (two-piece breast with a side, for example). But if you like that Nashville hot chicken just that — hot — you may elect the XXXHot option.

Philly’s Sports Grill


1805 East Elliot Road, Tempe


The east side has gained another Philly’s Sports Grill location, this time in southern Tempe. Expect pub fare like wings, mozzarella sticks, and outrageous fries, as well as pizza, soups, salads, burgers, sandwiches, tacos, and yep, Philly cheesesteaks. Daily specials like rib night will bring you in, and the seemingly endless menu will have you stick around for a while.

Shu Sushi Grill & Ramen


4929 West Chandler Boulevard, #3, Chandler


If it’s bento boxes you want, it’s bento boxes you’ll find at Shu Sushi in Chandler. But you can also order California rolls, ramen and other noodle dishes, katsu, donburi, curry, and more.

The bar being built by Public House Creative at the new Thunderbird Lounge.EXPAND
The bar being built by Public House Creative at the new Thunderbird Lounge.
Courtesy of Public House Creative

Thunderbird Lounge


710 West Montecito Avenue


The aforementioned Dino’s serves pizza to the weekend patrons of Thunderbird Lounge — a 1970s era-inspired bar also located in the Wagon Wheel Building. It was opened by Jeremiah Gratza of Stateside Presents and President Gator with business partner Jake Wiedmann. There’s a spacious outdoor patio, jukebox, and a full bar — the backdrop of which was made by our friends at Public House Creative and looks like the title card from Boogie Nights.

Tikka Shack


21001 North Tatum Boulevard, #48-1520


This fast-casual Indian restaurant opened its first store outside of Texas at Desert Ridge Marketplace in April. And note, Tikka Shack also has a beer wall.

Viet Shack


7510 South Priest Drive, #104, Tempe


This new, family-owned Vietnamese eatery features spring rolls, eggs rolls, fried noodles, and rice places. Viet Shack offers daily specials like Banh Mi Mondays, cream cheese wontons, and some really beautiful plating.

This plate of classic pasta Bolognese from Osteria now only exists in your memory.
This plate of classic pasta Bolognese from Osteria now only exists in your memory.
Jacob Tyler Dunn

Closings

Don & Charlies

We once called Don & Charlie's a reliable Old Town chophouse with a bit of a sports obsession. But as of April 10, the Chicago-style restaurant and ribshack closed its doors to so a new hotel could move in after being in operation since 1981.

Gourmet Deli Chandler

The Chandler deli and European café is no longer serving sandwiches, salads, and pastries to east Valley resident. After five years of business, the café shuttered over the last weekend in April.

Grubstak

Gilbert’s Grubstak has now closed, meaning those looking for toppings doing their things over a bed of starch will have to visit the Chandler location. The downtown Gilbert spot was the original location.

Guedo’s Taco Shop

Gilbert’s Guedo’s Taco Shop closed after two years of business, inevitably following the original location’s closure in 2015. No more bar-style tacos, subs, and quesadillas, no more margaritas.

Kona Grill

Last month, the Kona Grill location in northeast Phoenix closed after 11 years of business. Now, this casual restaurant and bar has shut down in 12-year-old Chandler Fashion Center.

High Dive is now closed.EXPAND
High Dive is now closed.
Chris Malloy

High Dive

Sometimes a faux dive takes a real dive. High Dive was a project between Square One Concepts and Blue Print Hospitality Group, and had been open for less than a year. However, Square One Concepts plans to open a restaurant in its space.

Noodle Bar


Downtown’s Noodle Bar closed, or went on a permanent hiatus, in early April after three years of serving Japanese noodle and Italian pasta dishes.

Osteria

When open, Osteria is one of the better Italian restaurants in town. However, the eatery Mesa has seemingly shuttered for good, so fans of wood-fired pizzas, pastas, wine, and small plates will have to go elsewhere — like one of these 10 Italian restaurants in the Valley.

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

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