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First look: California group to open restaurant, Condesa, in former Tom's Tavern space

Posted: 12:25 PM, Oct 04, 2019
Updated: 2019-10-04 15:25:50-04
Condesa artist rendering 1
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Condesa artist rendering 5

PHOENIX — Two years after Tom's Tavern closed in downtown Phoenix, the space -- steps away from CityScape and within walking distance from Talking Stick Resort Arena -- has seemingly remained vacant.

Until now.

That is because Legal Restaurants, a San Diego, California-based hospitality group, is actively working to open their first concept, called Condesa, inside the former restaurant space at Renaissance Square, which sits on the northeast corner of First Avenue and Washington Street. It also took over the spaces that housed a yogurt shop and a bank

Here is what we know about it, and we're getting our first look at the artist renderings.

"We wanted to do something different," said Keoni Barcarse, one of the partners at Legal Restaurants.

Inspired by and named after the neighborhood in Mexico City, Mexico, Condesa is described as a neighborhood restaurant, cafe, and cocktail bar. It will offer breakfast, lunch, and dinner and a mix of Mediterranean, Israeli-inspired, and American dishes in a 12,000-square-foot space.

It will have industrial elements, including black iron and concrete countertops, community tables, along with Mexican-inspired photos and murals on the walls and columns. In total, it will have seating for 300 people.

The kitchen will have a large window where diners will be able to watch chefs prepping and cooking the food. It will also be home to the "chef's table," -- also called Table 1 -- in the kitchen where small groups and large groups will be able to eat.

"The great thing about it is you don't know what you're going to order. You don't know what you're going to get. Cause basically that's why they call it chef's table. That food will come hot off the cook line directly to you," said Barcarse. "Aside from that happening, I think the best experience about it is you are surrounded by staff members circumventing around you. They're moving all over the place."

The Condesa Takeaway Cafe will serve coffee in the mornings and grab-and-go sandwiches, salads, and wraps for under $10.

During lunch and dinner, Candesa's menu will offer "edgy yet clean, honest cuisine with a focus on small plates to share, vegetables and high-quality proteins...," a news release said. Dishes expected to be on the menu include tableside hummus and "masa' ball soup.

Executive chef Ricardo Heredia, who once worked at China Poblano inside The Cosmopolitan in Las Vegas, and helms the kitchen of Legal Restaurants' other concept in San Diego, will lead the kitchen in Phoenix.

Dishes will range between $12-$26.

It is expected to open in December -- Dec. 2, 2019 to be specific.