New Restaurants

Build-your-own-bowl concept The Bodhi opens next to ASU in Tempe

BY Jess Harter Thursday, January 18, 2018

TheBodhi011817The Bodhi, a fast-casual concept focused on nutritious and vitamin-rich foods, has opened on the northeast corner of Fifth Street and College Avenue in Tempe.

Build-your-own bowls – using a variety of proteins, vegetables, grains, and seeds – are the signature menu item at the 1,000-square-foot eatery. They start at $5.95.

Other options include salads, sweets, breakfast items and fresh-pressed juices.

We believe that the food we feed ourselves is more than just fuel. It has the power to heal, strengthen and improve our bodies,” owner Fares Tarabichi says. “Our meals are not only wholesome but also flavorful and fresh.”

The Bodhi is open 9 a.m.-8 p.m. Monday-Friday.

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HopCentralInterior011018Hop Central Brewing, Chandler’s newest craft brewery and taproom, will hold its official grand opening at 2 p.m. Friday, Jan. 12.

The brewery recently had a soft opening in the strip-mall space formerly occupied by Del Sol Tanning behind Rubio’s on the southwest corner of Rural and Ray.

The taproom boasts 36 taps, which eventually will offer four or five Hop Central beers and the rest guest beers.

So far, Hop Central has just one of its own beers – the House IPA (6.1% ABV) – on tap, and another in the fermenter that’ll be tapped soon.

Although Hop Central emphasizes hoppy beers, its tap list features many styles, including a mango-flavored mead from Mesa’s Cider Corps. You can see the current tap list here.

All draft beers are available in three sizes: 5 ounces (typically $2 or $3), 10 ounces, or 16 ounces.

HopCentralBrewing011017There also are some wines on draft, and the bar sells both beer and wine by the bottle to go, as well as growlers.

No food is served, but Hop Central allows customers to bring in food. There are a dozen or so restaurants surrounding the intersection of Rural and Ray alone.

Hop Central’s initial hours are 2-10 p.m. Tuesday-Thursday, 2 p.m.-midnight Friday, noon-midnight Saturday, and noon-7 p.m. Sunday.

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TempePublicMarketExt010918The long-awaited Tempe Public Market Cafe, a casual neighborhood hangout offering breakfast, lunch, and dinner items featuring locally sourced ingredients, will open to the public at 7 a.m. this Friday, Jan. 12.

The project is the third from chef Aaron Chamberlain and his brother, Dave, who launched St. Francis in Phoenix in 2009 and the Phoenix Public Market Cafe in 2013.

The fast-casual eatery is located in a long-vacant – and extensively remodeled – Circle K on the northeast corner of Rural and Warner in south Tempe. The interior seats 75 people, while a covered front patio with a fireplace accommodates another 65.

The Tempe menu is similar to its Phoenix sibling’s – breakfast dishes, sandwiches, salads, and a few house specialties, such as pork chile verde pot pie. It also will include pizzas, something the Phoenix Public Market Cafe does not offer.


There also will be a retail section, a case of bagels and pastries, and another of to-go items.

Besides coffee drinks and juices, a full bar will have six beers on tap and more in cans and bottles, 11 wines by the glass or bottle, and half-dozen specialty cocktails.

Tempe Public Market Cafe will be open 7 a.m.-10 p.m. daily.

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Shamy Market & Bakery, specializing in Middle Eastern fare, opens in Mesa

BY Jess Harter Thursday, December 21, 2017

Shamy122117Shamy Market & Bakery, a Middle Eastern restaurant and store, has opened in the Fiesta Commons Shopping Center on the northeast corner of Alma School and Southern in Mesa.

It joins the center’s ever-growing lineup of eateries, which also includes Boulders on Southern, Green Corner Mediterranean, Lava Café, Salad & Go, and Stufrageous Stuffed Burgers.

Shamy specializes in a Middle Eastern flatbread called za’atar, which is baked in a special oven and served with cheese, honey, meats or vegetables.

The menu also offers pizzas, baked and regular sandwiches, a ‘‘cheese boat,’’ and other baked goods.

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Now open (at least sometimes): West Alley BBQ in downtown Chandler

BY Jess Harter Wednesday, December 20, 2017

WestAlleyBBQ122017The East Valley’s newest barbecue joint – West Alley BBQ – has opened on a limited basis in downtown Chandler.

I say ‘‘limited’’ because West Alley has been closed on my two visits this week – most recently Tuesday afternoon, when a sign on the door indicated it would open later that day.

I’ve left several messages for the owners, but haven’t learned much yet.

The original West Alley BBQ is located in Jackson, Tenn. The Chandler location – on Boston a block-plus west of Arizona Avenue – is its first spinoff.

According to its website, West Alley’s smoked meats include pork, brisket, chicken, turkey, sausage, and ribs. There also are seasoned fish fillets.

Hours are … well, your guess is as good as mine. Until they get fully up and running, your best bet is to call West Alley at 480-248-8819 before heading there.

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Arizona Wilderness to open downtown Phoenix location

BY Jess Harter Friday, December 15, 2017

AZWildernessPhx121517Arizona Wilderness Brewing, one of Arizona’s most acclaimed craft breweries, is opening a second location in downtown Phoenix.

But don’t plan to visit anytime soon – the location (artist’s rendering shown above) isn’t expected to open until 2019, according to Wilderness co-founder Jon Buford’s announcement on the brewery’s blog.

The new location – on the southeast corner of Second Street and Roosevelt – is described as ‘‘a counter service style burger restaurant serving our own Wilderness beers, Arizona wines and cocktails on draft with a large-scale patio bier garden.’’

It also will sell Wilderness beers in bottles and cans to go.

As for an opening date, Buford writes, ‘‘Spring of 2019 is the objective.’’

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The Kind Bean coffee shop opens in Chandler

BY Jess Harter Friday, December 15, 2017

KindBean121517The Kind Bean, an independent, community-focused coffee and sweets shop, has opened on the northeast corner of McQueen and Pecos in Chandler.

The full-service coffee house features organic coffee drinks, as well as teas, botanical infusions, hot chocolate, and frozen blended drinks.

The food menu offers quick-service breakfast and lunch items, baked goods, gourmet chocolates, and soft-serve ice gelato. See menu.

The Kind Bean is open 6 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday-Friday and 8 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday.

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Coming to downtown Chandler: Las Palmas Cantina

BY Jess Harter Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Vintage 95 Chandler AZAfter eight idle months, work finally has begun on a new restaurant and bar taking over the former Vintage 95 building on Boston Street, west of Arizona Avenue, in downtown Chandler.

East Valley restaurateur Julian Wright bought and closed 5-year-old Vintage 95 in April, planning to partner with the owners of Mesa artisan sandwich shop Worth Takeaway on a new northern Italian concept called Equal Parts.

The partnership, however, quickly dissolved, and the space sat empty all summer and fall.

Now, Wright has finalized plans for a replacement concept – a “tropical Mexican’’ bar and restaurant called Las Palmas Cantina.

‘‘We’ll have a combination of tequila and rum drinks made with fresh juices and coastal Mexican fare cooked over a wood grill,’’ he says. ‘‘We’ll also incorporate some South American favorites like ceviche and pisco sours.’’

The interior is being completely gutted to give the space an entirely new look. It will have a front patio, a dining room,  a large bar and bar area, an outdoor dining area, and a raised deck area with a patio bar.

Wright, who also owns Pedal Haus Brewery in downtown Tempe, has launched numerous successful concepts, including The LibraryLa Bocca Urban PizzeriaModern Margarita, and The Handlebar.

Look for Las Palmas Cantina to open in April.

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Hop Social Tavern opens next to Chandler Fashion Center

BY Jess Harter Friday, December 8, 2017

HopSocialExterior120817After what seemed like one of the longest build-outs in East Valley history, Oregon-based Hop Social Tavern finally has opened in front of Chandler Fashion Center.

It takes over the former Elephant Bar building southwest of the Loop 101 and Chandler Boulevard.

(All photos by Micha Cardenas / Micha Marie Photography)


Hop Social describes its fare as ‘‘locally sourced, Americana scratch-made food paired with a locally driven drink menu highlighting 52 beers on tap.’’

That means salads ($5.95-$14.95), burgers and sandwiches ($11.95-$14.95), pizzas ($14.95-$15.95), wok-inspired dishes ($15.95-$16.95), and other entrees ($12.95-$21.95). See the full menu.

HopSocialInterior120817The early-1900s-inspired interior features a main dining area that seats 204 people, an eight-person chef’s table, and a 62-seat bar. A custom chandelier hangs from the 20-foot ceiling.

Roll-up doors lead to a pair of patios – a 98-seat one and a more intimate 28-seat one with a fireplace.


Hop Social’s owners are David and Christie Burnett and Bud and Kathy Gabriel. The couples also own three similar restaurants with different names in Oregon.

Hop Social’s hours are 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Sunday-Thursday and 11 a.m.-midnight Friday-Saturday.

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Halal Guys opening another E.V. location in Ahwatukee

BY Jess Harter Thursday, November 30, 2017

HalalGuys012717New York City-based The Halal Guys, which made its Arizona debut in Tempe in January, will close out the year by opening a second Arizona location in Ahwatukee.

According to the restaurant’s Facebook page, the new location will open next to Target at 48th Street and Ray on Dec. 9.

The Halal Guys debuted as a street cart in 1990 and has turned into one of the hottest restaurant franchises in the country.

A local investment group plans to open 15 Halal Guys in Arizona over the next five years.

The Middle Eastern eatery serves a simplified menu of gyro meat, falafel, or chicken, either on a platter (pictured) or wrapped in pita bread.

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