Union Wine Bar & Grill pours its final glass . . .

Yeah, yeah, I've blogged plenty about stuff that's in the works for the local dining scene, but unfortunately I can't always be the bearer of good news. Today's latest tidbit is a total downer: Union Wine Bar & Grill, one of 2007's most-anticipated new restaurants, has closed its doors for good. Saturday was its last night in business.

According to owner Tom Kaufman, who opened Union last fall with Rancho Pinot chef Chrysa Robertson, the economy is partially to blame.

"Whenever there's an economic downturn like this, people narrow down their list of restaurants. They want familiarity," he said.

Now that the Super Bowl's behind us, I wouldn't be surprised if we start hearing about more local restaurant closings.

While Union's mellow vibe was a refreshing alternative to the pervading scenestery-ness of Old Town Scottsdale, for some reason, the restaurant "just didn't resonate with people," Kaufman added. "It's a different culture down there."

For now, Kaufman is focusing on his bustling new pizzeria, Humble Pie, located at the Hilton Village.

"People have really responded to it," he said.

As for the cool old building that housed Union, Kaufman wouldn't rule out putting another restaurant of his own there in the future. But what would be even better would be if an ambitious creative type wanted to take over the space.

"I would love to find a young chef to work out a deal," he said. "Like, if a young Chrysa Robertson came along . . ."

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