PHOENIX — Are you hungry, Phoenix?
From Nashville-style hot chicken to duck-fat fries and craft beer, plant-based fine-dining, and decadent make-it-yourself desserts, a whopping 50 restaurants, cocktails bars and brewpubs have opened around the Valley within the last several months.
Take a look below to find your next date-night eatery, place to grab after-work drinks, brunch spot, or picturesque dessert to post on Instagram!
We rounded up as many openings that we knew of for this list. Know of a place I missed? Send an email to Josh.Frigerio@abc15.com and let me know.
Tocaya Organica is a California-based, health-conscious Mexican chain that serves salads, burritos, bowls, and tacos. All their dishes start vegan, though diners can add proteins, such as grass-fed meat and free-range chicken, and cheeses to them. The concept was founded in 2016 in Venice, California. In November 2018, they opened an eatery at the Kierland Commons outdoor shopping center in Phoenix, the chain’s first out-of-state location. A second restaurant is under construction outside Scottsdale Fashion Square’s luxury wing. That location is slated to open sometime this year.
If you go: 7012 E. Greenway Parkway, Scottsdale AZ 85254. https://www.tocayaorganica.com/
Ocean 44 is one of the newest seafood restaurants in the Valley and the newest fine-dining concept from brothers Mike and Jeff Mastro, the founders of Steak 44 and Dominick’s Steakhouse. Located outside Scottsdale Fashion Square’s newly-constructed luxury wing, the restaurant has two bars, an open-glass kitchen, and a variety of dining room settings. The menu features a raw bar of oysters, Maine lobster, and poke; as well as wood-roasted shellfish, clams, mussels, and fresh fish. Not a seafood lover? No worries. They have a dozen steak options on the menu.
If you go: 4748 N. Goldwater Blvd., Scottsdale AZ 85251. https://www.ocean44.com
Elbows Mac N’ Cheese
More cheese, please! Elbows Mac N’ Cheese opened its first Arizona restaurant in Gilbert earlier this year. The menu is all things cheese in a restaurant that is “quick, comforting and delicious,” as its website states. The menu has 23 mac-and-cheese options, including the “Elote Mac,” which is Mexican corn, grilled onions, Manchego and Parmesan; and “When Pigs Fly,” which is Swiss cheese, Gruyere cheese and smoked Applewood bacon. They also have a dozen grilled cheese sandwiches, three pizza flavors, and sides and salads (for the healthy, of course).
If you go: 3757 S. Gilbert Road, Gilbert AZ 85297. https://www.elbowsmacncheese.com
Modern Oysterbar Chophouse
Oysters, jumbo shrimp, clams, grilled lobster and king crab legs are on the menu at Modern Osterbar Chophouse. So are filets, New York strips, ribeyes and a rack of lamb. The 6,000-square-foot upscale seafood restaurant and chophouse opened in Scottsdale in January. The venue’s centerpiece is the 12-seat raw bar. They also have high tops and booths, a bar, and a private dining room.
If you go: 10050 N. Scottsdale Road, Scottsdale AZ 85253
Gadzooks Enchiladas & Soups
Gadzooks specializes in make-it-yourself enchiladas and tacos. The fast-casual restaurant recently opened a third location in Tempe near Mill Avenue and University Drive. Diners choose their meat, sauces and toppings that are then heated quickly in an oven. The concept was founded in 2013 by brothers Aaron Pool, an Arizona State University alum, and his brother, Jared. They have two other locations in Arcadia and Central Phoenix.
If you go: 505 W. University Drive, Tempe, AZ 85281. https://www.gadzooksaz.com/
Pei Wei, the fast-casual Asian restaurant chain, opened its first restaurant in Queen Creek -- and its 21st location in Arizona -- in April. It is one of a handful of locations in Arizona to have the concept’s new design with digital menu boards and reclaimed wood walls, a news release said. It will also be one of the first restaurants to have Bento Boxes.
If you go: 21051 S Ellsworth Loop, Queen Creek, AZ 85142. https://www.peiwei.com/
Dough Licious Desserts
Dough Licious Desserts is a Valley-based food truck that sells safe-to-eat cookie dough. In April, the owners opened a physical shop in Queen Creek. They serve at least nine flavors of cookie dough, including chocolate chip, sugar, and Snickerdoodle. They also have a seasonal flavor and a dairy-free and gluten-free flavor. People can then top their dough with sauces and candies. It can be served in a cup or a Puffle cone.
If you go: 20784 E Victoria Ln., Queen Creek, AZ 85142. https://www.doughliciousdessert.com
You’ve likely seen Churroholic’s treats on Instagram. Large balloon-shaped churros topped with sugar or cereal. Or churros on top of ice cream. The California-based design-it-yourself churro concept recently opened in the northwest Valley, one of three locations planned. Diners can order loop churros, churro ice cream sandwiches, churro bites, and churros paired with scoops of ice cream. Another location is under construction at Tempe Marketplace. A third is planned for Glendale.
If you go: 9340 W. Northern Ave, Peoria, AZ 85305. https://www.facebook.com/pages/category/Dessert-Shop/Churroholic-Hiccups-Peoria-222547232027102/
Drunk Munk Tiki Bar & Restaurant
The tiki bar and restaurant opened in March and took over the former Cowboy Ciao space in Old Town Scottsdale. It promises tiki-themed cocktails, flaming pupu platters, tomahawk rib eye steak, sushi rolls, Asian-inspired small plates, salads and sandwiches.
If you go: 7133 E Stetson Dr., Scottsdale, AZ 85251. http://thedrunkmunk.com/
Culinary Dropout at The Yard
Culinary Dropout opened its fourth Valley location -- and largest -- in April in the heart of downtown Gilbert. The 25,000-square-foot restaurant has a large indoor dining room and outdoor patio with community tables, booths, and backyard game, such as cornhole and ping-pong. It has two private dining areas, called “The Coop” and “Heritage Room.”
If you go: 383 N. Gilbert Road, Gilbert AZ 85234. https://www.culinarydropout.com/
The Sicilian Baker
The Sicilian Baker is a make-it-yourself cannoli bar, and the newest concept from chef Joey Maggiore, the founder of Hash Kitchen. At Sicilian Baker, people design their own cannolis. They have four sizes of shells -- from mini to the foot-long “Sicilian” shell -- and a dozen creams, including original, chocolate, strawberry, cookies and cream, and peanut butter. A second location is expected to open this summer in Chandler near Chandler Fashion Center mall.
If you go: 15530 N. Tatum Blvd. Suite 140, Phoenix, AZ 85032. https://www.thesicilianbaker.com/
Taco Bell Cantina
How does a Crunchwrap Supreme and an alcoholic slushie sound? Taco Bell opened one of its “cantinas” at the Collier Center in downtown Phoenix. The restaurant features Taco Bell’s regular menu, but also has Twisted Freezes (alcoholic slushies) and appetizers.
If you go: 201 E. Washington St Suite 105, Phoenix, AZ 85004. https://www.tacobell.com/
Meat the Ball
Meat the Ball is a funky-themed, casual Italian restaurant from Pomo Restaurant Group, the team behind Pomo Pizzeria, Luna Gelateria and Mora Italian. It took over the former “Wink 24” space at Biltmore Fashion Park. The menu features a variety of meatball dishes, including beef, short rib, pork, chicken and veal. For those who are pescatarian or vegetarian, they also have a salmon, eggplant parmigiana, and quinoa meatballs. The menu rounds out with a few pasta dishes, salads and sandwiches.
If you go: Biltmore Fashion Park, 2502 E. Camelback Road, Phoenix AZ 85016. http://www.meattheball.com/
Sandbar Mexican Grill
The East Valley has another option for tacos, burritos and margaritas. Sandbar Mexican Grill expanded to Gilbert with an opening at SanTan Village shopping center. It is the concept’s second location in the East Valley and third in the Valley. The other locations are in Chandler and in Phoenix at Desert Ridge Marketplace.
If you go: 1975 E. Williams Field Road, Gilbert, AZ 85295. https://www.sandbaraz.com/
The Phoenician Tavern
The Phoenician Tavern has undergone a huge renovation over the last few years. In 2017, they opened Mowry and Cotton. Last year, The Phoenician Golf Club reopened with its newly-designed 18-hole course. This year, The Phoenician Tavern opened as a relaxed bar and restaurant that overlooks the golf course. It replaced Relish Burger Bistro. The menu features six craft burgers, elevated appetizers, and a selection of salads, sandwiches and comfort food.
If you go: 6000 E. Camelback Road, Scottsdale AZ 85251. https://www.thephoenician.com/phoenician-tavern/
For those hungry and on the go, Del Taco, the Mexican fast-food chain, opened a location in Goodyear.
If you go: 1901 N Pebble Creek Pkwy., Goodyear, AZ 85395. https://www.deltaco.com/
Scramble, a breakfast and lunch joint, opened a restaurant at The Collective, a development near Baseline and Rural roads, in Tempe. It is the fourth location for the fast-casual concept, which started in 2013. The menu covers a lot of ground. Diners will find egg dishes, omelettes, pancakes, French toast, eggs Benedict, sandwiches, salads and wraps. Guests order at the counter, get a number, and find their seat, before someone brings the order to you.
If you go: 1120 E. Baseline Rd., Tempe, AZ 85283. https://www.azscramble.com/
JOJO’s is part coffee shop, beer and wine bar, cafe and late-night community hangout. Owner Mike Melton quietly opened the place in December. There is a small bar with coffee, beer and wine taps, large windows, a small stage, couches and relaxing chairs. The menu features Bruschetta, salads, sandwiches, omelettes and egg dishes. Large open-air windows look out to Scottsdale Road.
If you go: 3712 N. Scottsdale Rd., Scottsdale, Arizona 85251. https://jojocoffeehouse.com/
Copper Blues Live, or CB Live, is a new restaurant, bar and entertainment space at Desert Ridge Marketplace. It is owned by the same group behind Stand Up Live and Copper Blues in downtown Phoenix. The venue has two sides: one features the restaurant, dining room, bar, and a stage for nightly concerts and DJs; the other looks more traditional of a late-night comedy bar.
If you go: 21001 N. Tatum Blvd, Phoenix, AZ 85050. https://www.cblive.com/
Illegal Pete’s is a Colorado-based Mexican restaurant chain focused on design-it-yourself burritos, bowls, tacos, salads and nachos. Diners create their meals choosing the meats, sauces, and toppings they want. In 2015, the chain opened a restaurant in Tucson. Four years later, it expanded to the Valley, opening a restaurant on Tempe’s Mill Avenue. It has indoor and outdoor seating, a full bar with beer, cocktails and margaritas, and a space for local music acts.
If you go: 525 S. Mill Avenue, Tempe, AZ 85281. https://www.illegalpetes.com
The Scottsdale-based Mediterranean restaurant chain opened a counter-style, quick-service location at Grand Canyon University. It features a condensed breakfast, lunch and dinner menu focused on the chain’s most popular items. This location is not open to the public. It is open to GCU students and staff only.
If you go: 3300 W. Camelback Rd. Phoenix, AZ 85017. http://www.pitajungle.com/locations/grand-canyon-university/
Halal Guys, the New York-based food cart-turned-chain restaurant, opened another location in Avondale, its fifth in the Phoenix-metro. The fast-casual concept specializes in Middle Eastern cuisine, chicken and beef gyro platters and wraps. They also have falafel and Baklava.
If you go: 10277 W. McDowell Rd #100, Avondale, AZ 85392. https://thehalalguys.com/
Scoopwell’s Dough Bar
How many cookies actually make it out of the bowl and into the oven? Probably not as many as you intended. We get it. You have to taste test. Scooperwell’s Dough Bar is a whimsical dessert shop at Uptown Plaza in Phoenix that serves cookie dough that is safe to eat. It is made with pasteurized dough and heat-treated flour. They have a dozen flavors, including chocolate chip, peanut butter, brownie batter, cake batter, s'mores and sugar cookie. They also offer rotating gluten-free and vegan flavors.
If you go: 40 E. Camelback Rd, Phoenix, AZ 85012. https://www.scoopwells.com
Those looking for craft beer and modern American fare have another place to try in the “North 32” neighborhood. TapHouse Kitchen, which first opened in 2013 in Scottsdale, expanded to Phoenix with a second location earlier this year. The restaurant’s menu offers a bit of everything -- burgers, sliders, pizzas, short rib, shrimp mac and cheese, and salads -- in an industrial environment.
If you go: 3131 E. Shea Blvd., Phoenix, AZ 85028. https://www.taphousekitchen.com/
Kazimierz Wine and Whiskey Bar
When Kazimierz Wine Bar announced its closure abruptly in a Facebook message last year, marking the end of 15 years in business, the post was flooded with comments from people reacting to the news. In January, Tommy Plato, who owns Second Story Liquor Bar in Old Town Scottsdale, announced he bought the space and was reopening the bar under the same name, but with more of a whiskey element. He added new paint, decorations, and furniture, as well as revamped the food and drink menu. The goal, according to a news release, is to have more than 100 wines and 500 whiskeys.
If you go: 7137 E Stetson Dr., Scottsdale, AZ 85251. http://kazbarscottsdale.com/
Across The Pond
Across The Pond is an intimate 30-seat Asian-inspired cocktail bar in central Phoenix. It is one of the latest concepts from the owners of Clever Koi, an Asian-inspired restaurant, and Fellow Osteria (see below). Across The Pond has a rotating menu of eight cocktails, plus Japanese whiskeys, beers and wines. For food, it has an omakase menu, or chef’s choice, of sushi and hand rolls.
If you go: 4236 N Central Ave #101, Phoenix, AZ 85012. https://www.acrossthepondphx.com.
Born & Raised Hospitality, the group behind Clever Koi and Across The Pond, opened Fellow Osteria at Arizona State University’s SkySong complex in Scottsdale. The menu features a variety of pastas, pizzas, sandwiches, antipasti, and salads.
If you go: 1455 N Scottsdale Rd., Scottsdale, AZ 85257. https://www.fellowosteria.com/
Chula Seafood, the popular Scottsdale fish market and San Diego, California-based fishery, expanded to central Phoenix with a full-service kitchen, restaurant and market at Uptown Plaza. At the new location, people can still order fish by-the-pound and raw items, like sashimi and poke, but the menu has been expanded to include cooked fish, such as fish and chips and sandwiches.
If you go: 100 E Camelback Rd #172 Phoenix, AZ 85012. http://www.chulaseafood.com
Cherish Farm Fresh Eatery
The menu at Cherish Farm Fresh Eatery was curated so anyone on a particular diet, such as Keto, gluten-free, or vegan, would be able to eat together. Owner Steven Fowler opened the eatery in Downtown Ocotillo in south Chandler. Menu items include eggs Benedict, Keto Benedict, superfood bowls, sandwiches, and salads.
If you go: 2551 W Queen Creek Rd., Suite 4, Chandler, AZ 85248. https://cherishrestaurant.com
Creme & Chocolats
Creme & Chocolats is a French-inspired dessert shop. It started in Mesa and opened a second in the village outside Chandler Fashion Center mall. The staples are sweet and savory crepes, and ice cream, which can be dipped in different chocolates.
If you go: 3155 W. Chandler Blvd., Chandler AZ 85226. https://www.cremechocolats.com
After 30 years in a Tempe business park, Spinato’s moved less than a mile down the street into the “Rio 2100” complex. The new location is three times the size of the original and can seat up to 190 people. It will also serve alcohol, something the previous location was unable to do, and will add pastas, jumbo chicken wings and house-made desserts to its menu. It has an elevated outdoor patio that overlooks Rio Salado.
If you go: 96 S. Rockford Dr. Ste. #108, Tempe, AZ 85281. https://spinatospizzeria.com/menus/tempe/
Casa Terra is a plant-forward fine-dining restaurant in downtown Glendale, dubbed the first vegan restaurant of its kind in the state. It is helmed by chef and New York Times best-selling author, Jason Wyrick. The dinner-only restaurant’s menu changes seasonally, but features a mix of small plates, wood-fired pizzas, and shareable entrees. One look at its online reviews shows a lot of people are impressed. “Just amazing. I’ve sat here trying to think of a more creative way to say it but that is the best word. Amazing!” one Facebook review read.
If you go: 6835 N. 58th Drive, Glendale, Ariz., 85301. https://www.casaterra.com
Arizona Wilderness Brewing Company
Those craving Arizona Wilderness Brewing Company’s duck fat fries (and beer, of course) have another place to get them. The Gilbert-based brewery opened its 20,000-square-foot beer garden in downtown Phoenix. It is located in the Roosevelt Row arts district. The counter-style garden has several taps, indoor and outdoor community tables, and fire pits. For food, they have a handful of burgers, sandwiches, salads, and its shareable items, like fries, drumsticks and pretzel sticks.
If you go: 201 E. Roosevelt St., Phoenix, AZ 85004. https://azwbeer.com
Monroe’s Hot Chicken
Those hungry for spice may be interested in Monroe’s Hot Chicken. The eatery specializes in Nashville-style fried chicken. It recently opened in the historic Luhr’s Building in downtown Phoenix. The menu is concise: fried chicken sandwich, hot chicken Belgian waffle sandwich, chicken tenders, and a salad (for those looking to be healthy). They have six sides (“fixins”) and six heat levels, from southern (no heat) to “What da cluck,” which requires a signed waiver.
If you go: Historic Luhr’s Building, 45 W. Jefferson St., suite K, Phoenix, AZ 85003. http://www.monroeshotchicken.com/
Ross Simon, the founder of Phoenix’s award-winning cocktail bar, Bitter and Twisted, teamed up with Aaron DeFeo, the former mixologist at Tucson Casino del Sol, to open Little Rituals, an intimate bar on the fourth floor of the Residence Inn/Courtyard by Marriott hotel in downtown Phoenix. The duo sought to better the typical hotel bar. Little Rituals has 30 custom cocktails, including low-alcohol and non-alcoholic drinks. They also have a “bar bites” menu featuring “Pho” French dip, caramel claypot wings, and a poblano grilled cheese. It is a 21+ bar.
If you go: 132 S Central Ave., Phoenix, AZ 85004. https://littleritualsbar.com/
Cold Beers & Cheeseburgers
Cold Beers & Cheeseburgers, a neighborhood restaurant chain, has continued its rapid expansion in the Valley with four openings in 2017, one in 2018 and 2019, and two more on the way (read more, here). Diners will find 20 half-pound burgers on the menu, a lengthy beer list, 50+ flat-screen TVs, and indoor and outdoor dining.
If you go: Paradise Valley, 4731 E. Cactus Rd., Phoenix, AZ 85032; Park West, 9828 W. Northern Ave., Peoria AZ 85345. https://www.coldbeers.com
Pigtails Cocktail Bar
Pigtails is a speakeasy-style cocktail bar at Desert Ridge Marketplace in north Phoenix. It opened next to its sister concept, The Whining Pig. Pigtails has barrel-aged whiskeys, organic vodka, tequilas, and botanically-infused gin. It also has a raw oyster bar.
If you go: Desert Ridge Marketplace, 21001 N. Tatum Blvd., suite 46-1405, Phoenix, AZ 85054. https://www.facebook.com/pigtailsdesertridge
State 48 Barrel & Lager House
State 48 Barrel & Lager House opened at YAM Circle in Scottsdale. It is a two-story brewpub and barrelhouse focused on light and dark lagers. The Surprise-based brewery has quickly expanded in the last two years opening brewpubs in downtown Phoenix, Glendale and Scottsdale. Each brewpub tends to focus on different styles of beer.
If you go: 5600 North Hayden Road., Scottsdale, AZ 85250. https://www.state48brewery.com
PDQ, which stands for “People Dedicated to Quality,” is a Florida-based restaurant chain. They opened a second location in Tempe. The menu features chicken nuggets, tenders, salads, salads, and hand-spun shakes.
If you go: 8905 South Harl Avenue, Tempe, AZ 85284. https://www.eatpdq.com
Thai Chili 2 Go
Thai Chili 2 Go, a fast-casual Thai restaurant chain, opened its seventh Valley restaurant in north Phoenix. The menu features a variety of dishes, including dumplings, hot and sour soup, curry, rice dishes, and noodle dishes. Two more restaurants are slated to open in Phoenix and Tempe later this year.
If you go: North Phoenix, 2750 W. Dove Valley Rd.,Phoenix, AZ 85085. https://tc2go.com/
Topo is the newest food concept from Joe Johnston, the founder of Joe’s Farm Grill, Joe’s Real BBQ, and co-founder of Liberty Market, in downtown Gilbert. And it is hard to miss. There is a prominent hat-wearing toothy gopher on top of it (it lights up at night). The concept was inspired by roadside attractions along Route 66. The food stand serves soft-serve ice cream, burritos, and elote.
If you go: 301 N. Gilbert Rd, Gilbert, AZ 85234. https://www.topoarizona.com
After closing in 2016, ShinBay, a high-end Japanese restaurant, has reopened in Old Town Scottsdale. It is a multi-course omakase dinner (chef’s choice), primarily focused on nigiri, according to Dominic Armato, dining critic at the Arizona Republic. There are two seatings each night and the meal lasts two hours. The cost is $185, plus an automatic $15% gratuity.
If you go: 3720 N. Scottsdale Road, #201, Scottsdale AZ 85251. http://www.shin-bay.com
Grubstak, the make-your-own fries restaurant in downtown Gilbert, opened a second location in south Chandler. Diners create their own “staks” (meals) and choose a base (waffle fries, sweet potato fries, root vegetables) and different toppings. They have ten signature “staks.” For those looking to eat healthy, they have salads. On weekends, they serve brunch.
If you go: 384 North Gilbert Road, Suite 106, Gilbert, AZ 85234. https://grubstak.com
The dine-in movie theater and brewery opened in downtown Chandler at the end of 2018. It is part of Overstreet, the 77,000-square-foot development at the corner of Chandler Blvd. and Arizona Avenue. The nine-screen cinema has an in-house brewery, an outdoor patio, and a full-service kitchen. The menu features burgers, wraps, tacos, and homestyle mac and cheese.
If you go: 1 W. Chandler Blvd, Chandler, AZ 85225. https://www.flixbrewhouse.com/chandler
The California-based Hawaiian poke concept opened its first Arizona location in Scottsdale. Like other poke concepts, people choose whether they want a rice bowl, salad or noodles; the raw fish they want on it; and then top it off with crab salad, seaweed salad, masago, or other toppings. If you do not like raw fish, they have some cooked items and sides, such as chicken, coconut shrimp, and Alaskan Cod.
If you go: 7325 E. Frank Lloyd Wright Blvd., Scottsdale, AZ 85254. https://lemonsharkpoke.com
The Sazerac, named after the famed New Orleans cocktail, is a newly-opened cocktail bar in downtown Phoenix. It opened at the end of 2018 in the Roosevelt Row arts district. An online menu features nine signature cocktails.
If you go: 821 North 2nd Street, Phoenix, Arizona 85004. https://sazeracphoenix.com
Square One Concepts, the restaurant group behind Cold Beers & Cheeseburgers, has revived and reopened Famous 48 at The Shops Gainey Village. The restaurant first opened in 2017 in Old Town Scottsdale, but closed less than a year later. The menu features American and Arizona dishes “with an artisanal approach,” according to a news release. Think BBQ baby back ribs, tacos, nachos, fish and chips, and salads.
If you go: The Shops Gainey Village, 8989 N. Scottsdale Rd #608, Scottsdale, AZ 85253. https://www.famous48.com/
Tikka Shack is a Texas-based fast-casual Indian food concept. It recently opened its first Arizona location at Desert Ridge Marketplace. The menu features a mix of traditional items and build-your-own options. They have different masalas, currys, and bowls.
If you go: 21001 N. Tatum Blvd., suite 48-1520, Phoenix AZ 85050. https://tikkashack.com
Walter Station Brewery
Walter Station Brewery is one of the newest craft breweries in the Valley. It is housed inside an old fire station along Washington Street, near Sky Harbor International Airport. They have a dozen brews, according to an online menu. For food, the taproom has flat-bread pizzas, sandwiches, nachos and pretzels.
If you go: 4056 E. Washington Street, Phoenix AZ 85034. http://walterstation.beer/
The Monroe is described as a "classy yet approachable" cocktail bar. It opened on the ground floor of the U.S. Bank building in downtown Phoenix. It offers different spirits, domestic and international beers, and small bites, such as meat and cheese boards and paninis.
If you go: US Bank Building, 101 N. 1st Avenue, Phoenix, Arizona. https://www.facebook.com/themonroeaz/