Restaurateur Julian Wright to Open La Bocca Wine Bar in North Valley

La Bocca, the stylish pizzeria and wine bar in Tempe opened in 2008 courtesy of restaurateur and Arizona State University alumnus Julian Wright, is expanding to the North Valley.

Wright, whose company, Fork & Dagger Restaurant Group, also owns Modern Margarita in Phoenix as well as The Handlebar, Canteen Modern Tequila Bar, and Gringo Star Street Bar in Tempe, is planning to open a second location of La Bocca in January on High Street at CityNorth, the 628,000 square-foot mixed-used development in Northeast Phoenix.

What will the new 3,000-square-foot La Bocca have in store for diners? For starters, how about a certified wine sommelier previously with the Boulders Resort & Spa.

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Across the street from sister restaurant Modern Margarita, the new La Bocca will feature an expanded selection of food and wine pairings and small plates as well as more than 150 wines chosen by managing partner and certified wine sommelier Mark Pope, previously lead sommelier of the Boulders Resort & Spa.

The space will undergo both an interior and exterior remodel that includes connecting the patio to the dining room and adding a wood-burning fireplace outside.

La Bocca Wine Bar & Urban Kitchen will initially be open from 3 to 10 p.m. each day and until midnight on the weekends. In February, Wright plans to open for lunch.

"Modern Margarita received such a warm welcome from the North Valley, that we were eager to help fill another restaurant void for the surrounding community," says Wright. "Our goal is to create a comfortable, yet unforgettable dining experience with excellent food, perfectly paired wines, welcoming interiors, and knowledgeable yet approachable staff."

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