Arizona restaurants may resume dine-in service May 11, but many won't be. Some owners aren't ready to reopen into a coronavirus world, and some are doing well enough with curbside and takeout.
And others won't be opening back up because they've closed permanently during the COVID-19 shutdown.
We’re in no way out of the woods yet. But looking at the timespan from March 17, when all restaurants and bars in the city of Phoenix (and other cities in the metro area) were closed to the public, to May 11, a group of eateries did not make it through. Here are eight.
Barrio Café Gran Reserva
On Saturday, April 18, Chef Silvana Salcido Esparza’s second restaurant, the art-filled, vegan-focused, Mexican-wine-serving mole palace Barrio Café Gran Reserva closed for good. “With a broken heart I am sorry to inform you that due to zero funding and coronavirus, we are closing,” Esparza announced via social media. “In order to save the Barrio Cafe, we have to shut down Gran Reserva,” she stated in another post. Barrio Café will reopen, though.
Who knew that most recent plate of honey butter-drizzled potato chips we had would be our last? The small-plates restaurant Bri, located along Seventh Street in the Coronado District, announced its closure via social media on March 19. Chef Vince Mellody opened Bri — the phonetic spelling of its namesake, the braai, a South African-style grill at which the food was prepared — in spring 2018. The restaurant offered unforgettable cocktails like the Bri Paloma, the Disco Lemonade, That Thing You Do, and many others in a hip, homestyle setting.
This build-your-own burger shop in north central Phoenix closed on April 23. Set on the northwest corner of Seventh Street and Bell Road, Caveman Burgers was opened in 2016 by owner Jeff Bobby. It was known for Arizona-raised, grass-fed beef, locally baked bread, wild toppings like fried duck eggs, and local beer including offerings from SanTan Brewing Co.
Delux Grill + Sushi
So long, shopping cart fries — Delux has closed after more than 15 years. “Since the Delux lease has expired, we regret to inform you the decision was made not to renew the restaurant lease. Therefore, Delux will not reopen and is closed permanently,” reads a statement on the Delux website. In addition to the “A La Cart” fries, Delux was known for its Niman Ranch-sourced meat, demi-baguette buns, Arizona craft beer offerings, and some beloved dipping sauces.
El Zocalo Mexican Grille
Located in downtown Chandler, El Zocalo Mexican Grille made the announcement to close on May 5 via social media. Silver lining: Owners Obed and Pam de la Cruz also have hinted at finding a new home for El Zocalo, so news of a reopening could be on the horizon. The de la Cruz family operated the Mexican restaurant for more than 20 years, and they continue to own and oversee El Sol Mexican Cafe & Bakery, Mangos Mexican Cafe in downtown Mesa, and the PHX Burrito House in the Melrose District.
The Arcadia-area pastry and coffee shop Lilac Bakery closed in late April. Opened in February 2017, the place was overseen by pastry chef and founder Lauren Paulsen and co-founder Peter Paulsen. “With a heavy heart we have come to the hard decision that due to the current economic climate we will not be re-opening Lilac Bakery and are now closed permanently,” the Lilac Bakery announced on its Facebook page.
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After more than 16 years that included frequent downs in business and ups in community support, Mark’s Café permanently closed in south Tempe on March 24. The family-owned cafe, located at Rural and Guadalupe roads, was overseen by Karen Vojtek and Executive Chef Mark Vojtek. “We hope that our presence in Tempe made a difference, and we will forever hold those memories near and dear to our hearts,” reads a statement on the Mark’s Café website. The morning eatery offered breakfast and lunch items, and even had a BYOB policy for a spell.
Teakwoods Tavern and Grill
There’s one less place to get soft pretzel sticks in the Valley. Though one location in Gilbert still remains, Teakwoods Tavern and Grill in Chandler closed in late April. The sports bar and eatery was shuttered by the plaza’s landlord after 25 years because of a failure to pay rent for the space.