Pizzeria Bianco and Bar Bianco

It’s amazing how sometimes the most out-of-date, inaccurate information is what endures in popular opinion. Visit some online food and travel discussion sites, and you’ll see persistent hand-wringing about how to avoid three-hour waits for a table at Pizzeria Bianco. The problem is that even if Bianco is worth a wait of several hours, it has been several years since that kind of endurance test has been part of a meal there. The Pizzeria Bianco of today is a more accessible and less intimidating place than it was just a few years ago, without any loss of food quality. Continue reading

Cornish Pasty Company

Higher education, especially at the graduate level, often relies on case studies, detailed accounts of specific events, phenomena, or organizations. If anyone were to write a case study about the Cornish Pasty Company (CPC), it might be pretty interesting. From its humble beginnings a decade ago, CPC has become a mini-chain throughout the region, and two of its latest locations are urban ones. A brand new location on Monroe Street in Phoenix has just opened after years of delays, and last year a much smaller location on Mill Avenue in Tempe quietly debuted. Continue reading

Jobot

There’s been a lot of change on Roosevelt Row lately, and not everyone is happy about it. Although a new wave of construction has realized dreams of residential density near transit, there has been a resistance of sorts, based on perceptions of gentrification and a desire to preserve old buildings scattered amid vacant lots. A frequent gathering place for this resistance was Jobot, the coffee house and cafe formerly on Fifth Street. When a rent dispute caused Jobot to vacate its home at the end of 2016, there was even more outcry over the rapid transformation of the area. Continue reading

The Dressing Room

Have we reached peak food truck? That’s a question various culinary pundits have been asking for the past few years. Locally, the popular Food Truck Friday event at the Phoenix Public Market was quietly discontinued last year. If food trucks don’t seem quite the craze they were a few years ago, maybe it’s because some aspects of their approach have found their way indoors with small-scale restaurants now serving the type of fare normally associated with mobile operations. The Dressing Room, a self-proclaimed “micro-restaurant” on Roosevelt Row, fits this description. Continue reading

Bitter & Twisted Cocktail Parlour

A saying attributed to the activist and author Jane Jacobs is that “new ideas need old buildings.” If that’s true, then the 1924 Luhrs Building seems like an ideal incubator for innovation. Among the Luhrs office tenants, that means various start-up firms. On the culinary front, the main attraction on the ground floor of the Luhrs Building is Bitter & Twisted Cocktail Parlour. Cocktails are of course an old concept, but their revival is a contemporary trend, especially when the beverages are paired with Asian-inspired bar food of equivalent quality. Continue reading

be Coffee + Food + Stuff

Restaurant names follow all sorts of trends, and one of the current ones is the use of a conjunction to link two concepts — sometimes with the full word “and,” often with an ampersand, and increasingly with a plus sign. Places with names fitting this format have opened all over in recent years. Now, a coffeehouse on Roosevelt Row takes the trend a few steps beyond with not one, but two plus signs, not to mention irregular capitalization. The shop is called “be Coffee + Food + Stuff,” but for the sake of simplicity, it’s most often referred to as just “be Coffee.” Continue reading

Lenny’s Burger

Long before light rail traveled up and down Central Avenue through the high-rise business district now known as Midtown, that stretch of the city’s spine was known for its cruising culture. Of course, cruising meant not only showing off cars and socializing, but also stopping for sustenance. The foods historically associated with cruising have been burgers, fries, and shakes. While cruising now occurs only as part of occasional special events, some semblance of the old cruising culture endures at Lenny’s Burger, a retro-themed hamburger restaurant in the heart of Midtown. Continue reading