Spanning craveable doughnuts, gaming bars, distilleries and speakeasies, these establishments are creating a local-first synergy by joining existing popular independents such as Cider Corps, Worth Takeaway and Espiritu Cocktails + Comida.
“We’ve been eyeing Mesa for a while and when we pulled the trigger, we knew we would be in such great company,” says Crust Simply Italian owner Michael Merendino, who will open an Italian eatery, speakeasy and European cafe later this year. “It’s so awesome when you get to do it with other restaurants.”
Here's a look at the new restaurants, bars and food businesses opening in Mesa.
104 W. Main St., #105, Mesa
Now Open The promise of drool-inducing layered doughnuts had customers lined up in droves outside of this new shop’s grand opening on June 10. Outcast Doughnuts uses a base of buttery croissant dough for its treats which is the key to their crispy exterior and pillowy soft interior. Fun flavor combinations include the Nafta’s maple glaze, jalapeno bacon crumbles, bourbon maple drizzle and the Drop-kick’s infused Irish cream topped with a dusting of espresso powder and a chocolate-covered espresso bean. But, it doesn’t stop there. The signature Doughcones, ice cream cones made out of the house doughnut dough, are filled with soft serve and toppings that promise to break the strongest of willpowers, as do sandwiches that use plain doughnuts as the bread. Coffees, beers and simple cocktails round out the creative menu.
Level 1 Arcade Bar
48 W. Main St., Mesa
Estimated opening date: Early July The popular downtown Gilbert hotspot is bringing the fun to Mesa in a two-story 6,000-square-foot building packed with a bevy of pinball machines and arcade games. Both floors at this location of Level 1 Arcade Bar will have their own bar offering 30 beers on tap. A dance floor will allow guests to work off any excess energy after earning a high score.
New brewery by Chupacabra Taproom
150 W. Main St., Mesa
Estimated opening date: Late July or early August Chupacabra Taproom owners Eric Cady and Trent Smith took over the old Desert Eagle Brewing Co., a space just around the corner from their popular drinking destination. Contrary to the taproom, which features brews from all over the country, the renovated venue will serve beers made onsite thanks to a new brewing system. The team behind Goat and Ram, a pizza truck that's a staple outside of Chupacabra, will take over the brewery’s kitchen to serve its famous pies and small bites. Cady and Smith had planned to call their new venture Urban Legend Beer Co., but received a cease and desist letter from a winery in California with a similar name. A new name is in the works and will be made official soon, Smith says.
Arizona Distilling Co.
155 W. Main St., Mesa
Estimated opening date: End of summer The award-winning Tempe distillery that legally distilled the first spirit in the state following Prohibition is set to open a new location in the building that housed the first Coors Brewing Co. distributorship outside of Colorado after Prohibition ended in 1933. This Arizona Distilling Co. location is double the size of its current space and will feature two custom, 21-foot tall German copper stills serving as a non-traditional back bar and creating a flow from the drinking area to the distilling space. Look for a new cocktail menu by beverage director Micah Olson to go along with the dark, sleek lounge vibe.
216 W. Main St., Mesa
Estimated opening date: Mid-September Beloved fast-casual burrito shop Burritoholics left Cave Creek fans longing after its closure in 2018. But customers will soon be able to find their favorite burritos in downtown Mesa. Construction has been slow yet deliberate in the 1940s building that will house the new location. This will be the sixth Mexican cuisine concept by members of the De la Cruz family, who also own Mangos Mexican Cafe just down the street in downtown Mesa. Burritoholics owner Obed de la Cruz describes this new space as "very hipster with a great vibe." Expect a daily happy hour and breakfast burritos served all day.
Crust Simply Italian
240 E. Main St., Mesa
Estimated opening date: End of the year This family-run East Coast Italian eatery will add to its pizza-and-pasta empire with its upcoming fourth Valley location. Owner Michael Merendino promises a slight menu change from the offerings at his Scottsdale, Chandler and Gilbert restaurants. The focus will remain on the staple pies and pastas as well as salads and bruschetta, but look for a few twists. “We’re looking to drop one or two trendy new dishes by the time it opens,” Merendino says. “Maybe even a new pizza.” A designated area for pickup orders will accommodate to-go orders at Crust as well as Merendino's two other new concepts — a speakeasy and doughnut shop — in the same spot.
The Nightingale Cocktail Lounge
240 E. Main St., Mesa
Estimated opening date: End of the year Merendino promises The Nightingale Cocktail Lounge, a speakeasy attached to Crust, will be “one of the prettiest rooms in Mesa” with a San Juan meets New York City feel that exudes opulence while being airy and welcoming. In addition to a food and late-night menu, the cocktail program will reflect the seasonality of Merendino's other speakeasies — The Ostrich and The Blue Heron — with a focus on local specialty whiskeys and agaves. Look for unique drinks that can’t be found anywhere else, including the sister establishments. A private back patio will host events.
240 E. Main St., Mesa
Estimated opening date: End of the year In true speakeasy style, the entrance to The Nightingale Cocktail Lounge will be hidden, this time in a doughnut shop. Bombolino, named after a round, solid Italian doughnut, it will resemble a European coffee, doughnut and gelato shop with a menu composed of sweet and savory items along with perennial favorites like affogato.
Pedal Haus Brewery
201 W. Main St., Mesa
Estimated opening date: September 2024 Pedal Haus Brewery has been a long time coming to downtown Mesa. Rising costs and unexpected issues with the building, which previously housed the former Pit Stop auto body shop, have paused construction, pushing the much-anticipated opening date into the latter part of next year. When the seven-year-old company's newest location does open, expect Pedal Haus Brewery's award-winning craft beer lineup poured at its Phoenix, Chandler and original downtown Tempe locations along with popular pub bites such as a Bavarian pretzel, pizzas, burgers and cauliflower wings. A 5,000-square-foot dog-friendly patio, live music stage, an array of flatscreens for game watching, fire pit cabanas and yard games like cornhole and ping pong will be among the amenities.