2014 proved that the Phoenix dining scene can giveth, but it surely can taketh away too. Some of The Valley’s longstanding culinary institutions closed, and even some of the best new restaurants couldn’t make it through the tough summer season. Here’re the spots we’re not looking forward to spending 2015 without.
Downtown Phoenix Sometimes you have to say goodbye to restaurants you love, but bidding The Local farewell after just six months was downright painful. Gone are the kimchi fried rice and bone marrow luges of Jameson. However, we expect big things from Chef Chris McKinley and bartender Adam Hargett in the future -- just make sure you give them your money when they get a new spot.
West Phoenix Sure, the duo behind Tacos Atoyac split up and opened two separate taco spots in Phoenix, but we preferred it when they were a team. The Oaxacan spot served some of the most tasty, traditional, and cheap tacos in town. In a city full of pricey street tacos with snobby ingredients, Tacos Atoyac will be missed.
The House at Secret Garden
South Phoenix A little magic left the Phoenix dining scene when The House at Secret Garden closed. The beautiful, serene patio atmosphere was complemented by the homey, yet refined fare.
The Brooklyn Cafe
Central Scottsdale Despite being well-loved by the food scene in town, this Frenchified Scottsdale restaurant shuttered. Looks like you’ll have to go elsewhere for your escargot, oysters, and mussels, mes amis.
Old Town Scottsdale Another of The Valley’s best French spots closed a couple months after The Brooklyn Café. Although James Porter’s little cottage restaurant has new owners, we’ll always miss his duck gravy poutine.
Midtown Phoenix Phoenix has its fair share of artisan ice cream, but Mary Coyle was a no-frills, old-fashioned ice cream parlor that made you feel like a giddy kid every time you stepped into the girly pink parlor. 63 years certainly is nothing to sneer at, though.
Old Town Scottsdale Chef Payton Curry’s second Old Town restaurant didn’t make it to the year mark, but never fear, Curry fans. You can always go to Brat Haus to get a taste of this Phoenix chef’s fare.
Arcadia This upscale Italian spot went through some changes with new chefs and new menus over the years. It’s going to be tough to live without the homemade pasta and Kurobuta pork chops, but Nocawich -- the lunchtime, casual sandwich shop version of Noca -- should be opening in Tempe soon enough.
Midtown Phoenix When Karsh’s closed, many in town were left with a rye bread loaf-sized hole in their hearts. The over-30-year-old bakery made terrific challah and rugalach and had huge lines its final day. The reason? That rye bread really was something special and very Phoenix.
Old Town Scottsdale Even though Citizen Public House is known for having great cocktails, seeing what the mixology team was cooking up and experimenting with at the upstairs speakeasy lounge was a lot of fun. Flaming streams of cocktails passed between cups and tableside distilled gin were just some of the unique things going down at R+D. Hopefully something equally inventive will take its place.
Sign up here for our daily Phoenix email and be the first to get all the food/drink/fun in town.