PHOENIX — In 2013, brothers Aaron and Jared Pool opened the first Gadzooks Enchiladas and Soup restaurant in Phoenix. Over the next eight years, they have expanded and opened three more in Arcadia, Chandler, and Tempe.
As the pandemic forced businesses to continuously pivot their operations, it also sparked some creativity leading the two brothers to develop two more concepts -- one a neighborhood taproom, and the other a taco shop -- that they hope to open within the next year.
Both will be located at Park Central in the Midtown neighborhood district, near Central and Third avenues.
"I know Midtown I feel like and I am passionate about Midtown," Aaron Pool said in a recent interview with ABC15. "I know downtown's getting all the hype and everything in the growth, but there's so many people in Midtown and there's just not enough supply of restaurants and drinking holes and that type of stuff."
The first, called Green Woodpecker, will be a neighborhood taproom with a "Mexican twist" on traditional bar snacks, said Pool. It will open in the former Starbucks space; Starbucks is relocating to a new building in the same area that is currently being built.
Named after a flower and gift shop that was at Park Central decades ago, Pool said they will pay homage with flowers and plants inside and more trees on the patio.
He said the taproom is projected to open before the end of the year.
The second concept, called Poolboy, will be a small Mexican eatery focused on tacos, burritos, and dips. It will be part of another new building that is being constructed near the new Starbucks.
Pool said he has wanted to open up a taco shop for a while, especially after Gadzooks' "Festival Tacos" won awards at the Arizona Taco Festival. Those tacos are currently sold at Gadzooks, but Pool said Gadzooks is mostly known for its enchiladas and cornbread.
"This space is cool. It's this small little, I mean, you saw the rendering, it's kind of got like a Miami Vice feeling to it," he said.
It will not have dine-in seating, but will have a large outdoor patio with seating out there.
Poolboy is slated to open in spring 2022.
Park Central was built in the 1950s and was considered to be the first shopping center in Phoenix. Plaza Companies and Holualoa Companies purchased most of the property in 2017 and have begun renovating it.
Zipps Sports Grill opened a restaurant at the complex.
Construction is underway on Creighton University's Health Sciences Campus, the 200-room Home2 Suites by Hilton/Tru by Hilton hotel, and a new conference center in the Goldwater Building, according to an online news release.