52 new bars and restaurants to try around the Phoenix metro

Audria Easterly

PHOENIX — From deep-fried churros and corn dogs to pizza, upscale steakhouses, vegan and vegetarian tacos, and seafood, at least 40 bars, restaurants — ghost kitchens, included — and dessert spots have opened around the Valley in recent months. Last October, we put together a list of more than 100 […]

PHOENIX — From deep-fried churros and corn dogs to pizza, upscale steakhouses, vegan and vegetarian tacos, and seafood, at least 40 bars, restaurants — ghost kitchens, included — and dessert spots have opened around the Valley in recent months.

Last October, we put together a list of more than 100 new bars and restaurants in the Valley that opened amid the pandemic. With this list, we’re bridging the gap and looking at all the different eateries that have opened between then and now. Know of a spot we missed? Send me an email and let me know.

Due to COVID-19, restaurants are operating at 50% capacity, but dining rooms are open. Takeout, pickup, and delivery are also available. Make sure to check each restaurant’s website for the latest hours and updates.

If you’re looking for a new spot to check out around town, check out the list below.

The Kolache Cafe: A new cafe in Ahwatukee that serves kolaches, a popular pastry in the Czech Republic. They have traditional kolaches that are served open-faced and filled with fruit fillings and Texas-style kolaches, which are filled with meats, vegetables, and cheeses.

Where to find them: 4302 E Ray Rd, Phoenix, AZ 85044; thekolachecafe.com

Cold Beers & Pizza: A new restaurant in Old Town Scottsdale and a sister concept to Cold Beers & Cheeseburgers. Cold Beers & Pizza specializes in Midwestern thin-crust pizza and Neapolitan-style pizza. It opened in the former Famous 48 and Crab & Mermaid space.

Where to find them: 4222 N Scottsdale Rd., Scottsdale, AZ 85251; www.coldbeers.com/pizza

STK Steakhouse: Self-described as “not your daddy’s steakhouse,” STK Scottsdale is the latest high-end, trendy steakhouse to open in Scottsdale. It took over the former “Herb Box” restaurant space. The menu features a variety of specialty steaks, seafood, chicken dishes, and raw bar.

Where to find them: 7134 E Stetson Dr, Scottsdale, AZ 85251; stksteakhouse.com

The Porch (Gilbert): The upscale, neighborhood restaurant opened its third location in the Valley in downtown Gilbert, next to Snooze A.M. Eatery. You’ll find tacos, bowls, sandwiches, burgers, and salads on the menu. There are two other locations in Arcadia and Tempe.

Where to find them: 312 N Gilbert Rd., Gilbert AZ 85234; www.porchrestaurants.com

Gus’s World Famous Fried Chicken: The fried chicken chain opened its first restaurant in Arizona in downtown Mesa. Gus’s specializes in Memphis-style fried chicken. They also have a variety of sides, including fried pickle spears, fried okra, Mac and cheese, coleslaw, and baked beans.

Where to find them: 212 W Main St Mesa, AZ 85201; gusfriedchicken.com/mesa-arizona-location

Hot Daisy Pizza: A fast-casual pizza concept from Tammie Coe, a well-known Arizona pastry who specializes in cupcakes, cookies, and other desserts. She recently transformed her bakery in downtown Phoenix into a pizzeria. Yes, those desserts are still on the menu (phew!).

Where to find them: 610 E. Roosevelt #145 Phoenix, AZ 85004; www.hotdaisypizza.com

Valentine PHX: A new chef-driven, neighborhood coffee shop, bar, and restaurant located in the Modern Manor building with Phoenix’s Melrose District. Diners will find a variety of breakfast sandwiches, waffles, sandwiches, bowls, tacos, and heartier dinner options on the menu.

Where to find them: 4130 N 7th Ave, Phoenix, AZ 85013; www.valentinephx.com

Sotol Modern Cocktail Kitchen: The first rooftop cocktail bar and lounge in downtown Gilbert. It is the second concept from Erika Rode, who owns Bitters Cocktail Bar & Food in South Scottsdale. Sotol’s menu was designed to highlight ingredients from Arizona and the Sonoran Desert. It was previously named Ilegal Modern Cocktail Kitchen.

Where to find them: 313 N Gilbert Rd #301, Gilbert, AZ 85234; sotolmck.com

Herb ’N’ Smoke: The owners behind the BBQ food truck have opened their first physical restaurant in downtown Mesa. The menu features pulled pork and brisket sandwiches, BBQ Mac and cheese, burgers, nachos, tacos, and combination plates.

Where to find them: 123 W. Main St. Mesa, AZ 85201; www.herbnsmokeaz.com

Tap That! Downtown: A self-serve beer bar and restaurant in downtown Phoenix, near Roosevelt Street. The restaurant has 35 self-pour beer and wine taps. The menu features flatbreads, nachos, and sandwiches. They have a breakfast menu on the weekends.

Where to find them: 909 N 5th St, Phoenix, AZ 85004; www.tapthatbeer.com

Il Bosco Pizza: The wood-fired pizza restaurant recently opened a second restaurant in downtown Mesa near the Roosevelt Row district. They have more than 20 signature pizzas that are cooked in a 900-degree oven. The original restaurant is in Scottsdale. Two others are being planned in the East Valley.

Where to find them: 918 N. 5th St., Phoenix, AZ 85004; www.ilboscopizza.com

Josh Frigerio, ABC15

The Pemberton in downtown Phoenix.

The Pemberton: An outdoor collective of food trucks and mobile trailers serving food and drinks in downtown Phoenix. The Pemberton is currently home to Breakfast Bitch, Saint Pasta, Dino’s Napoletana Pizza, Abnormal Beer Co., and FilmBar. Other concepts are in the works.

Where to find them: 1121 N 2nd Street, Phoenix AZ 85004; www.pembertonphx.com

Silver Key Lounge: A board game lounge in Mesa that specializes in new, modern board games, card games, and table games. They have more than 600 board games in their library. At the bar, they have 30 craft beers, some wine, and craft soda, coffee, and energy drinks.

Where to find them: 1837 W Guadalupe Rd., Ste 105/106, Mesa, Arizona 85202; thesilverkeylounge.com

GuacStar Kitchen & Cantina: A Mexican-inspired plant-based restaurant in Tempe with a “rock star attitude.” The restaurant features shareable appetizers, including guacamole, fruit guacamole, and sheet pan nachos. They also have a few tacos, a burrito, and an enchilada on the menu. They were supposed to open in spring 2020, but the pandemic delayed the opening to the fall.

Where to find them: 920 E University Dr. #204 Tempe, AZ 85281; guacstar.com

Early Bird Vegan: The owner behind the Trash Panda Vegan Food Truck has opened her own restaurant in South Phoenix, Early Bird Vegan. Early Bird serves healthy grab-and-go items, such as coffee, smoothies, juices, sandwiches, toasts, and pastries.

Where to find them: 1712 E. Broadway Rd #3 Phoenix, AZ 85040; www.earlybirdvegan.com

Desi Fusion Indian Cuisine: A new restaurant in Mesa that serves authentic Indian cuisine. Their menu showcases a variety of soups, appetizers, such as Masala fries, spring rolls, and masala chicken wings, shawarma, street-style fried rice, curries, and biryani dishes.

Where to find them: 1130 W. Grove Avenue, Mesa AZ 85210; desifusionmesa.com

Tru Tacos (pop-up): The owners of Jewel’s Bakery & Cafe recently opened an evening pop-up taco shop at the restaurant on the weekend. They have six signature tacos, plus loaded street fries, elote, and pozole:

Where to find them: Jewel’s Bakery & Cafe, 4041 E Thomas Rd, Phoenix, AZ 85018 (Thursday – Sunday nights); www.trutacos.fun

UnderTow (pop-up): While UnderTow’s construction at its new home inside the Century Grand building continues, a pop-up version has opened at the Sands building at the Hotel Valley Ho in Scottsdale. They’ve added plants and decorations to give it a tiki vibe. The menu features cocktails from UnderTow’s current and previous menus.

Where to find them: UnderTow (pop-up), 6850 East Main Street Scottsdale, AZ 85251; undertowphx.com.

Bourbon & Bones Chophouse: The Scottsdale steakhouse opened a second restaurant at SanTan Village in Gilbert. The steakhouse specializes in bone-in and boneless aged steaks, seafood, meats, and hearty sides.

Where to find them: 2150 E. Williams Field Road, Gilbert AZ 85295; www.bourbonandbonesaz.com.

Ofrenda: A Latin-inspired restaurant in Cave Creek that opened in the former Cartwright’s space. The menu features regional Mexican dishes and South American dishes using traditional and modern techniques.

Where to find them: 7100 E Cave Creek Rd #151, Cave Creek, AZ 85331; www.theofrenda.com

Lucky’s Indoor Outdoor: Restauranteur Julian Wright, who founded Pedal Haus Brewery, recently opened Lucky’s Indoor Outdoor in downtown Phoenix. It’s described as a neighborhood bar with a “vintage vibe.” The inside has billiards and Skee-ball. The outside has a 1970s trailer, picnic tables, and bocce ball. For food, they have rotating food trucks.

Where to find them: 817 N. 2nd Street, Phoenix, AZ 85004; www.luckysphx.com.

Cooper’s Hawk Winery & Restaurants: The Illinois-based winery and restaurant chain opened its first Arizona location in Scottsdale. A second one is planned for Chandler. In addition to its wine and cocktails, the menu features a variety of meat and seafood dishes, salads, flatbreads, pastas, burgers, and sandwiches.

Where to find them: 16495 N Scottsdale Rd., Scottsdale, AZ 85254; chwinery.com

Cream of the Crop: A small, locally-owned homemade ice cream shop in Gilbert. It is the latest business to join Barnone. Flavors include “Cream of the Crop Vanilla,” lime and vanilla bean, “Legacy,” Medjool dates infused with smoked hay, and orange blossoms, and Strawberry Champagne, strawberry sorbet, champagne, and strawberry bits.

Where to find them: Inside Barnone, 3000 E Ray Rd Building 6, suite 103, Gilbert, AZ 85296; www.creamofthecrop-az.com

Photo courtesy Chin Up Donuts in Scottsdale

Chin Up Donuts: No surprises here, doughnuts are the specialty at Chin Up Donuts. Chief Donut Officer Alex McEntire opened her doughnut shop in Scottsdale. She likes to feature specialty doughnuts and unique toppings and glazes mixed in with the classics. Flavors include Birthday Suit, butter vanilla glaze topped with sprinkles or the Sriracha-cha, a sweet and spicy Sriracha glaze, cinnamon sugar, and red pepper flakes.

Where to find them: 7325 E Frank Lloyd Wright Suite 103 Scottsdale, AZ 85260; www.chinupdonuts.com

Churro Gonutz: The doughnut food truck recently opened a physical restaurant in Phoenix. Like its name suggests, they specialize in churro doughnuts. They have ice cream-topped churros, churro bites, churro fries, and a handful of signature churro creations.

Where to find them: 4229 W. Bell Road, Phoenix AZ 85083; www.churrogonutz.com.

Bosa Donuts: The Phoenix-based doughnut shop has opened at least two more locations in the last few months. One opened in San Tan Valley and a second opened in Phoenix. Another five locations are expected to open this year in north Phoenix, Peoria, Surprise, Avondale, and Tolleson, according to a recent Facebook post.

Where to find them: 37591 N Gantzel Rd, Ste 100, San Tan Valley, AZ 85140; 125 N. 44th Street, Suite 100, Phoenix, AZ 85034; bosadonutsaz.com

Two Hands Corn Dogs: A new business selling South Korean-style corn dogs. The menu features six signature combinations, including a sweet and savory corn dog, a corn dog topped with potato cubes, and another coated in crispy rice.

Where to find them: 1933 W. Main St. Ste. 6 Mesa, AZ 85201; www.twohandsus.com

Por Vida Bakery: Owner Eileen Payan recently opened her bakery inside Las Palabras, a bilingual bookstore that relocated to Phoenix’s Roosevelt Row. She serves a variety of pastries, cakes, muffins, and coffee.

Where to find them: At Las Palabras, 906 W Roosevelt St. Phoenix, AZ 85007; www.instagram.com/porvidabakery

Monroe’s Hot Chicken: Larry White’s popular chicken concept known for its hot chicken sandwiches recently opened a second location at The Watermark in Tempe. The original location opened in Phoenix.

Where to find them: 430 N Scottsdale Rd. Suite 108 Tempe, AZ 85281; monroeshotchicken.com

Knuckle Sandwiches: Roscoe Smith first opened his sandwich shop, Knuckle Sandwiches, in Mesa. Months later, he opened a second location in Tempe. His bread is made daily and his meats are made in-house.

Where to find them: 325 W. Elliott Road #103 Tempe AZ 85284; knucklesandwichesaz.com

Pita Jungle: The Scottsdale-based Mediterranean restaurant chain opened its latest restaurant (actually, it’s 24th in Arizona) in Chandler. Pita Jungle also launched a food truck in February. The restaurant is known for its hummus, pitas, and salads.

Where to find them: 5025 S Gilbert Rd #8 Chandler, AZ 85249; www.pitajungle.com

Salad & Go: The healthy drive-thru concept has continued its rapid expansion in the Valley with the openings of its 26th and 27th locations in Chandler and Tempe. More are on the way. Salad & Go offers breakfast burritos, customized salads, and drinks in a fast-food, drive-thru atmosphere.

Where to find them: 2020 W. Chandler Blvd., Chandler, AZ 85224; 3229 S. 48th St., Tempe, AZ 85282; saladandgo.com

California Fish Grill: The California-based seafood restaurant opened its first Arizona location in Mesa. Diners will find a variety of seafood dishes, including bowls, tacos, grilled or fried fish, and salads.

Where to find them: 1855 S Stapley Dr Suite 101 Mesa, AZ 85204; www.cafishgrill.com

Lure Fish House: Based in California, the restaurant chain opened its first restaurant in Arizona in Scottsdale. It also features a variety of seafood dishes, including soups, bowls, ceviches, seafood burgers and burritos, and grilled or fried favorites.

Where to find them: 8877 N Scottsdale Rd Scottsdale, AZ 85258; www.lurefishhouse.com

Barrio Queen: The Phoenix-based Mexican chain opened its first of two restaurants in the West Valley. Its location in Glendale opened at the beginning of the year. A second restaurant is under construction in Avondale and expected to open sometime in the spring. Barrio Queen has restaurants in Glendale, North Phoenix, Scottsdale, Tempe, and Queen Creek.

Where to find them: 7640 W. Bell Rd. Glendale, AZ 85308; barrioqueen.com

Belle’s Nashville Kitchen: A Nashville-inspired honky-tonk that recently opened in Old Town Scottsdale. The menu features Southern fried favorites, such as Nashville hot chicken tenders and Nashville hot chicken sandwiches, as well as Mac and cheese, tacos, sandwiches, and salads.

Where to find them: 7212 E Main St., Scottsdale, AZ 85251; www.bellesnashvillekitchen.com

Wicked Brews, Bites & Spirits: Wicked Brews opened last fall in the former Uncle Bear’s Grill and Tap space in Ahwatukee. The neighborhood bar and restaurant features locally-brewed beer and ciders, wine and cocktails. The menu features shareable appetizers, burgers, sandwiches, nachos, and salads.

Where to find them: 4921 E Ray Rd #103, Phoenix, AZ 85044; wicked-bbs.com

Twin Peaks: The sports bar and restaurant chain opened its fourth Arizona restaurant at Tempe Marketplace. It is located near the U.S. Bank.

Where to find them: 2050 E Rio Salado Pkwy, Tempe, AZ 85281; twinpeaksrestaurant.com

Pasta78: A fast-casual DIY pasta restaurant in Chandler. The pasta and sauces are made fresh. They have seven pasta choices and six sauces. Diners can also choose to add-in proteins, such as chicken, or vegetables.

Where to find them: 2780 W Chandler Blvd, Ste 6, Chandler, AZ 85224; https://www.pasta78.com

Blanco Cocina + Cantina: A Mexican-inspired concept from Sam Fox, founder of Fox Restaurant Concepts. Its newest location has officially opened at the Block 23 development in downtown Phoenix.

Where to find them: 123 E. Washington St. Phoenix, AZ 85004; www.blancococinacantina.com

Belly Kitchen & Bar: A South Asian restaurant and cocktail bar in Phoenix. Currently, they are open for takeout only. The menu features a few spring and veggie rolls, braised clay pot dishes, Pan Mi, and a handful of specialties and noodle dishes. The owners also recently announced that a second location would be opening at Epicenter in Agritopia in Gilbert.

Where to find them: 4971 N. 7th Ave. Phoenix, AZ 85013; www.bellyphx.com

Cracker Barrel: The national chain restaurant opened its 14th restaurant in Arizona — and its first in Gilbert.

Where to find them: 1799 N. Higley Road, Gilbert AZ 85234; locations.crackerbarrel.com/az

GHOST KITCHENS

Fly Bye To Go: A takeout-only concept from Sam Fox’s Fox Restaurant Concepts that specializes in Detroit-style pan pizza. It’s located at FRC’s Culinary Dropout at The Yard at 7th Street.

Where to find them: Inside Culinary Dropout: 5632 N 7th St, Phoenix, AZ 85014; flybyetogo.com

The Absolute Brands: A new group of to-go-only virtual restaurant concepts from Dog Haus. Currently, these are being served out of Dog Haus’ restaurants in Downtown Phoenix, SanTan Village, and Scottsdale Quarter.

  • Bad Mutha Clucka: chicken sandwiches, wings, and sides like fries, tots and onion rings.
  • Plant B To Go: Vegetarian burgers, a Dog Haus sandwich, and fried sides, like fries, tots, and onion rings.
  • Bad-Ass Breakfast Burritos: Signature breakfast burritos and fried sides, such as fries, tots, and onion rings.

Central Kitchen Food Online: A group of virtual kitchen concepts from the owners of Thirsty Lion. All four are housed at Thirsty Lion’s Chandler restaurant.

  • Soy Joy: An Asian-inspired concept with sushi rolls, ramen, a poke bowl, rice bowls, and chicken and tofu dishes.
  • Southern Jewel: A Southern menu with cheese curds, fried pickles, cornbreads, chicken sandwiches, BBQ sandwiches, and fried chicken plates.
  • Killer Wings: Bone-in or boneless wings, fried sides, and a couple of salads
  • Pizza & Spice: 10-inch personal pizzas

Where to find them: Operating out of Thirsty Lion in Chandler, 3077 W Frye Rd, Chandler, AZ 85226; centralkitchenfoodonline.com

Ghost Street Asian Taqueria: A virtual restaurant from the owners of Ling and Louie’s Asian Bar and Grill offering Asian-inspired street tacos.

Where to find them: Operating out of Ling and Louie’s in Scottsdale; www.ghoststreettacos.com

Carnitas Way: A virtual restaurant from owners of Los Sombreros offering Mexican bowls and burritos.

Where to find them: Operating out of all Los Sombreros locations; www.carnitasway.com.

NOBANA: An Asian-inspired virtual restaurant from Wildflower offering noodle bowls, salads, and wraps.

Where to find them: Operating out of Wildflower’s Sonora Village location in north Scottsdale; eatnobana.com.

Guy Fieri’s Flavortown Kitchen: The chef and TV host has partnered with restaurants across the country to open his ghost kitchen concept. In Arizona, diners can try his menu at Buca Di Beppo locations in Chandler, Peoria, and Scottsdale.

Where to find them: Delivery only from Buca Di Beppo in Chandler, Peoria, and Scottsdale; guysflavortownkitchen.com.

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