With more than 20 new restaurants open in metro Phoenix, it’s been a great April for the local food scene. With five dedicated to pizza, a giant in the fast-casual market. The new spots include new locations of independents like The Herb Box and Nook Kitchen. Three restaurants closed, including Yacht Club in Arcadia.
Blaze Fast Fire’d Pizza
Now open in Tempe on University Drive and Maple Avenue, this is the first Arizona branch of California-based Blaze Pizza. Like other pizza-centered, fast-casual chains, Blaze puts the power of creation into the hands of diners. Customers build pizzas choosing their crust, sauce, cheese and toppings. Unlike the others, Blaze has some big-name backers. Counted among its investors are LeBron James and Maria Shriver.
Details: 105 W. University Drive, Tempe. 480-829-3775, blazepizza.com.
This is the sophomore offering from Danielle Leoni and Dwayne Allen, owners of the Breadfruit and Rum Bar in downtown Phoenix. The menu here is Italian-inspired, with sandwiches made with wood-fired focaccia bread and from-scratch cannoli. The small, lunchtime-only spot opened off Scottsdale Road, north of Shea Boulevard, in Scottsdale.
Details: 7116 E. Mercer Lane, Scottsdale. 480-607-2888, leonisfocaccia.com.
The Herb Box
This farmhouse-chic restaurant with two Scottsdale locations opened at The Colony, a new retail and dining complex in central Phoenix. The menu includes grilled Kobe burger, rosemary buttermilk fried chicken and Avocado Love. That’s a whole-grain toast topped in avocado-lime spread, arugula, fennel, Serrano glaze and lemon-honey vinaigrette.
Details: 5538 N. Seventh St., Phoenix. 480-393-0432. Other locations at theherbbox.com.
Spiral-cut hot dogs, cheeseburgers, corn dogs, french fries and ice cream shakes are sold at this shop at Queen Creek and Higley roads in Gilbert. The signature hot dogs include the pizza dog, the mac and cheese dog and the BLT dog.
Details: 3160 E. Queen Creek Road, Gilbert. 480-719-6088, mugsydogs.com.
Build your own salad by choosing among five leafy green bases like kale or romaine. Then add such toppings as chickpeas, jicama, pita chips, Parmesan cheese and bacon. The healthful fast-casual opened in downtown Chandler next to the Perch Pub and Brewery.
Details: 250 S. Arizona Ave., Chandler. 480-625-4366, eatcrispgreens.com.
Chompie’s opened its fifth Valley restaurant, the first in Glendale, at Arrowhead Towne Center. Perhaps best known for its boiled-and-then-baked bagels, Chompie’s serves hot pastrami on Jewish rye sandwich, chicken with matzo ball soup and Jewish sliders. Breakfast is served all day.
Details: Arrowhead Towne Center, 75th Avenue and Bell Road, Glendale. 623-344-3104. Other locations at chompies.com.
Your Pie Pizza
Build your own pizza, panini or salad at this fast-casual restaurant based out of Georgia. Or choose from such signature items as The Nat, a pizza topped with basil pesto, mozzarella, feta, sun-dried tomatoes, spinach and chicken.
Details: 2015 S. Alma School Road, Mesa. 480-217-8349, yourpie.com.
Boss Pizza Bar
Tony Alfonso, who also operates Neo Pizzeria in the Windy City, opened this pizza joint on Second Street near Marshall Way in downtown Scottsdale. The Chicago Combo is a pizza with no sauce that’s topped with cheese, Italian beef, Italian sausage and giardiniera relish. Besides pizza, the menu features appetizers, cheeseburgers, tacos, salads and desserts.
Details: 7125 E. Second St., Scottsdale. 480-777-2677, bosspizzabar.com.
This popular Arcadia eatery now has a second location, inside the Hilton Garden Inn Phoenix Downtown. Overseen by chef and co-owner Nick LaRosa, the menu features such dishes as diavolo pizza topped with hand-pulled mozzarella, short rib poutine, hoisin-glazed salmon and honey- and maple-glazed pork chop. The drink menu features cocktails and boutique wine.
Mod Pizza lets customers create their own pizzas, choosing from among more than two dozen toppings. Draft beers, wine, garlic bread, cinnamon bread and milkshakes are served. The Seattle-based pizza shop continues to expand in the Valley. The latest to open is in Chandler, near Queen Creek Road and Arizona Avenue. That brings the count up to eight, with additional stores scheduled to open in Queen Creek, Ahwatukee and Gilbert.
Details: 3977 S. Arizona Ave., Chandler. 602-283-2819. Other locations atmodpizza.com.
This fine-dining room in downtown Scottsdale was one of the year’s most anticipated restaurants. Chef Branden Levine, formerly of Cafe Monarch in Scottsdale and a contestant on Food Network shows like “Beat Bobby Flay,” opened Sel on Main Street near Goldwater Boulevard. The intimate dining experience is a four-course, prix fixe menu served with wine, craft beer and cocktails. Dishes also are available a la carte.
Details: 7044 E. Main St., Scottsdale. 480-949-6296, selrestaurant.com.
This fast-casual eatery is inspired by the Hawaiian dish poki (pronounced poh-keh).Diners build their own bowls with rice or greens; proteins like spicy tuna or scallops; and toppings such as cucumber and roasted seaweed. Jason Jantzen of Phoenix Marketing Associates and Michael Zimmerman of Republic West Home operate the Scottsdale location.
Details: 2805 N. Scottsdale Road, Scottsdale. 480-219-9310, ahipokibowl.com.
Black Mountain Tavern and Distillery
Poutine and private-label whiskey are among the offerings at this new restaurant and spirit house in the Tuscany Village Center on Cave Creek Road south of Lone Mountain Road. Happy hour, from 4-7 p.m. weekdays, features such specials as $2 off appetizers and glasses of wine, $3.50 domestic drafts and $5 craft drafts.
Details: 30855 N. Cave Creek Road, Cave Creek. blackmountaindistillery.com.
Salad and Go
This locally owned healthful drive-through chain opened its first Phoenix location, but sixth overall. The menu includes 10 kinds of salads such as Greek, cobb, barbecue ranch and Southwestern Caesar. All salads can be ordered as wraps. Also look for kids meals such as peanut-butter and jelly sandwiches and turkey-and-cheese wraps.
Details: 2006 W. Pinnacle Peak Road, Phoenix. 480-304-5662. Other locations atsaladandgo.com.
Joe’s Midnight Run
Wood-fired Korean short ribs, Schreiner’s sausage gravy poutine and grilled Spanish octopus are among the dishes from executive chef Michael Goldsmith (Lon’s, Joyride Taco House). The music-centric restaurant opened in a former drive-through liquor store on Seventh Street north of Bethany Home Road in Phoenix.
Details: 6101 N. Seventh St., Phoenix. 480-459-4467, joesmidnightrun.com.
Ono Hawaiian BBQ
Hawaiian barbecue beef, chicken katsu, spam musubi and crispy shrimp are among the island-inspired offerings at Ono Hawaiian BBQ. The new Peoria branch has a drive-through that’s open from 11 a.m. to midnight daily.
Details: 6830 W. Peoria Ave., Peoria. 623-773-2288. Other locations at onobbq.com.
This Portland-based breakfast and lunch shop opened near Bell Road and Grand Avenue in Surprise. Menu offerings include cinnamon roll, French toast, turkey and vegetable egg scramble, smoked brisket dip sandwich and barbecue Western bacon burger.
Details: 13752 W. Bell Road, Surprise. Other locations at biscuitscafe.com.
The team behind the Perch Pub and Brewery debuted this restaurant and bar in downtown Chandler, open from 3 p.m. to 2 a.m. daily. The Chicago-style menu includes the hot Italian beef sandwich, pappardelle lasagna and deep-dish pizza. Craft beer, including suds from Perch brewmaster Andrew Bauman, are on tap.
Details: 55 W. Chicago St., Chandler. Search “55 Chicago” on Facebook.
The Original Italian sandwich, made with provolone, ham, prosciuttini, cappacuolo, salami and pepperoni, is one of the most popular subs at Jersey Mike’s. Alicia Rosenfield and Duane Layton operate the latest location, near Gilbert Road and Loop 202 in Gilbert. It’s their 10th store in the Valley, with more in Phoenix, Laveen, Scottsdale, Tempe and Maricopa.
Details: 75 E. Rivulon Blvd., Gilbert. 480-855-6866. Other locations at jerseymikes.com.
Customers take out pizza from this national chain and then bake it at home. The newest branch, in Laveen, is owned by Linda and Ed Holmes and James Lovelace. They also own more than a dozen locations in Arizona.
Details: 5185 W. Baseline Road, Laveen. 602-237-3679. Other locations atpapamurphys.com.
Lucidi Distilling Company
Take a tour and sip some spirits at this distillery, inside a historic fire station in Old Town Peoria. Spirits and cocktails are served; wine and beer are not.
Details: 8307 W. Washington St., Peoria. 623-299-8779, lucididistilling.com.
Port of Subs
Sub sandwiches, such as the best-selling turkey, bacon and avocado, are on the menu along with flatbreads, wraps, salads, breakfast items and desserts. The newest store in Mesa brings the number of Arizona locations to 14.
Details: 344 S. Power Road, Mesa. 480-924-0233, portofsubs.com.
Hogs n Hops BBQ, Maggiore Culinary Concepts’ barbecue restaurant at Shops at Gainey Village in Scottsdale. The family-owned group is focusing on the expansion of Hash Kitchen in the Valley.
Yacht Club, chef Aaron May’s seafood restaurant at Indian School Road and 42nd Street in Phoenix, after a little over a year.
Bobby’s Restaurant and Lounge, at Kierland Commons in northeast Phoenix. Bobby’s will relocate to downtown Phoenix under a new name, Mancuso’s Restaurant. Taking over the Kierland space is The Mission, a Latin-inspired restaurant from chef Matt Carter and partners.