6 New Restaurant Openings
It’s been a rough year for the restaurant business since the COVID-19 pandemic began. Forced to adapt to shutdowns, dine-in restrictions, new safety regulations and more, many have simply had to close up shop. Still, there’s been a bit of a silver lining in the form of some new eateries popping up around the Valley. Here’s a brief introduction to a few recent restaurant openings to keep your eye on.
GuacStar opened up in Tempe’s Cornerstone Mall in November. It’s a Mexican eatery with plant-based versions of comfort food classics like Pork Al Pastor Tacos made with jackfruit; Enchiladas de Calabacitas; Sheet Pan Nachos with cashew crema and house made cheese sauce; and Oaxacan Pizza. There’s a variety of cocktails and margaritas and dessert options — Chocolate Pots de Creme and Tres Leches Cake. It’s also a hip and fun place to hang out with a contemporary environment and a fusion of customized raw materials and stylish décor. GuacStar Kitchen and Cantina is located at 920 E. University Drive, #204, Tempe; 480.219.9272; www.guacstar.com
From the husband-and-wife team behind Jewel's Cafe comes Tru Tacos — a late-night, pop-up, traditional Al Pastor Taco and margarita stand on the restaurant's patio. Besides the al pastor, there are other options like Carne Asada on house-made Flamin' Hot Cheetos corn tortillas and Nopal Tacos served on prickly pear corn tortillas. Don’t forget the House Made Craft Margaritas and Agua Fresca. The stand is open weekly on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays. Tru Tacos is located at 4041 E. Thomas Road, #101, Phoenix; 602.714.5243; www.trutacos.fun
Have you heard of a kolache? It’s a Czech pastry made of a light and fluffy yeast dough that can be sweet or savory. There are ones filled with fruit and Texas-inspired ones filled with ham and cheese; Italian sausage and gravy; and more. The Kolache Cafe is opening up officially on Jan. 8 specializes in these fun treats and serves them up for breakfast, lunch and dinner. The Kolache Cafe is located at 4302 E. Ray Road; Phoenix; 602.510.4116; www.thekolachecafe.com
If you’re seeking a place to hang with friends with a vintage vibe inside and a big outdoor patio with rotating food trucks, picnic tables and bocce outside, Luckys Indoor Outdoor is for you. Making its official debut in January on Roosevelt Row in downtown Phoenix, the venue is doing a soft opening through the end of the year featuring food truck visitors like Cousins Maine Lobster and The Wildfire Co. In addition to the bocce, there’s pool tables and skee ball inside and garden lighting and fire pits outside to keep you warm. Signature cocktails will include a French Canadian, a twist on an Old Fashioned, and an Irish Bird, rum-finished Irish Whiskey with Carpano Bitters, fresh pineapple, peach and lemon juice. Luckys Indoor Outdoor is located at 817 N. Second Street, Phoenix; 602.975.8156; www.luckysphx.com
Go figure that Fox Restaurant Concepts’ has a new concept. It’s called Fly Bye To Go and is a to-go only spot at the Yard in Phoenix (Little Cleo’s old spot). The menu truly sounds delicious and has crispy chicken wings and tenders, salad and Detroit-style square-pan pizza. There’s even Culinary Dropout’s Famous Cheese Fondue for dipping (definitely good on everything). Beverages are soda, lemonade and bottled water. Fly Bye is located at 5632 N. Seventh Street, Phoenix; 480.866-8201; www.flybyetogo.com
Breakfast Bitch comes from San Diego and is now open at the Cambria Hotel on Roosevelt Row in downtown Phoenix. The staff is all about making sure customers have a good time in a comfortable, fun setting with some tasty brunch dishes like the Feisty Bitch Quesadilla, Bitchin Chicken On A Biscuit and Boujee Bitch, lobster cakes served with a basted egg over a bed of fresh spinach on a flaky croissant. Sundays are for the soul food like Shrimp and Grits, and there’s dinner from 5 to 10 p.m. with dishes like Chicken Milanese and Steak Sliders. Don’t forget to get your drink on with a Mimosa Flight or Bloody Mary. Breakfast Bitch is located at 222 E. Portland Street, Phoenix; 602.544.7323; www.eatbreakfastbitch.com