The Upton Opens Today in Former Petite Maison Space in Scottsdale -- Here's the Menu

Categories: Now Open

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Lauren Saria
The new restaurant will feature an expanded back patio.
In the blink of an eye -- ok, more like two weeks -- the little house that was once Petite Maison has been transformed into a sleek, vibrant new restaurant. Called The Upton, the new dining destination features the talents of former Petite Maison sous chef Chris Schlattman, who's teamed up with co-owners Sean Zimmerman, Bran Oberg, and Pouria Malihi on the new concept.

As of today the restaurant is open for dinner with plans to add Sunday brunch and supper by the beginning of next month.

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iCream Café Is Now Open in Mesa: Ice Cream, Sorbet, and Gelato Made with Liquid Nitrogen

Categories: Now Open

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iCream Cafe
Chicago-based frozen dessert chain iCream Cafe opened their newest location on Saturday, November 22 at Mesa's Riverview Shopping Center.

Unlike your typical ice cream shop, this eatery specializes in using liquid nitrogen to flash freeze frozen desserts created by the customers -- and the offerings go beyond just ice cream; you'll also find sorbet, yogurt, and even rice pudding.

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Blasted Barley Beer Co. and Restaurant Is Now Open on Mill Avenue in Tempe

Categories: Now Open

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Courtesy of Blasted Barley
Heads up, Tempe! You've got a new dining destination that also will serve its own house-brewed beers -- eventually.

For now, the new Blasted Barley Beer Co. pours 30 craft beer varieties and a menu of elevated bar fare courtesy of executive chef Jason Shaw. The restaurant and brewery has taken over the former Tavern on Mill, a longstanding Tempe bar that closed its doors over the summer.

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Barrio Avion: Chef Silvana Salcido Esparza Has Opened a Restaurant at Sky Harbor Terminal 2

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Lauren Saria
Chef Silvana Salcido Esparza and crew at Barrio Avion.
Just weeks after announcing her plans to open a second restaurant at The Yard in Phoenix, chef Silvana Salcido Esparza has unveiled a new fast-casual concept in Terminal 2 at Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport. Called Barrio Avion, the restaurant takes a cue from Tinta Mexicana, a concept Esparza designed for the food court at Arizona Mills mall in Tempe.

At Barrio Avion, diners can build their own burritos, tacos, and bowls -- a la Chipotle -- as well as choose from a few quesadilla and salad options. The restaurant also serves beers, wine, tequila, and margaritas.

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The Cultured Pearl (Formerly Pearl Sushi Lounge) Is Now Open in Scottsdale

Categories: Now Open

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Courtesy of Cultured Pearl
Even if you never went there yourself, chances are good that you've at least heard of Pearl Sushi Lounge. The defunct restaurant generally was well-known among Scottsdale-ites as "that place with happy hour all day, every day" . . . which is probably the only reason people might miss the scene-over-cuisine dining spot.

Well, for better or worse, it's back. Sorta. Owners Tammy and James Carlin have reopened a new sushi concept, The Cultured Pearl Restaurant and Social Club, in the same locations and are billing the restaurant as a "completely new dining, nightlife, and entertainment destination."

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Short Leash Hog Dogs Is Now Open at Union at Biltmore -- and It Has Doughnuts

Categories: Now Open

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Lauren Saria
The permanent location is now open at Union.
Short Leash Hot Dogs second brick-and-mortar restaurant is now open inside Union at the Biltmore Fashion Park. Unlike Short Leash Short Lease, the restaurant's semi-permanent pop-up restaurant that opened in a different spot at Union earlier this year, the new restaurant is going to be a permanent fixture inside the shopping center.

In addition to serving a selection of Short Leash signature creations, the small counter service spot is also offering doughnuts from Short Leash's Rollover Doughnuts.

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October Restaurant Openings and Closings in Metro Phoenix

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Lauren Saria
Orange Glazed doughnut from Rollover Doughnuts
October was a dramatic month for the Valley dining scene. We said good-bye to the short-lived but well-received downtown restaurant, The Local, and learned that we'd never see Eliot Wexler's Noca open again. This week will be your last chance to dine at chef James Porter's Petite Maison in Scottsdale; he and his wife Wendy announced last month that they sold their cozy spot to new owners.

But despite some big losses, there's still plenty to look forward to as we head into the busy season. We counted dozens of new restaurant and bar openings around town with more coming just around the corner.

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Zinburger Wine & Burger Bar in Gilbert Is Now Open; Here's the Menu

Categories: Now Open

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Zinburger Wine & Burger Bar/Facebook
Hey, Gilbert! You got your own Zinburger now.
If we had to pick a favorite Fox Restaurant Concept, it might very well be Zinburger that takes the prize. The five-restaurant chain hits the nail on the head with reliably friendly service and a menu of modern burger creations always made with certified Angus Beef -- or better.

So that's why we're saying congrats, Gilbert! You're the latest 'burb to get your very own Zinburger. As of earlier this week the restaurant's location at Heritage Marketplace in downtown Gilbert is open for business.

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The Mission @ Minder Binder Brings Tempe History to Life -- But the Food's Not So Good

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Lauren Saria
The classic cheeseburger from The Mission @ Minder Binder
When a new spot opens in town, we can't wait to check it out -- and let you know our initial impressions, share a few photos, and dish about some menu items. First Taste, as the name implies, is not a full-blown review, but instead a peek inside restaurants that have just opened, sampling a few items, and satisfying curiosities (yours and ours).

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Lauren Saria
The Mission @ Minder Binder
Restaurant: The Mission @ Minder Binder
Location: 715 S. McClintock Drive, Tempe
Open: Less than a week
Eats: Burgers, pizza
Price: $15+ a person

Since closing in the mid-2000s, the big red barn on the northeast corner of University and McClintock Drive in Tempe has sat empty. But for 30 years before that, the red barn housed one of Tempe's most loved bars and music venues, Minder Binders. It originally opened in 1972, bringing the raucous college crowd five bars, an outdoor volleyball pit, and plenty of booze.

As of last week, Minder Binders is back in a new form. Thanks to a new group of owners the barn has been remodeled -- extensively -- and is now home to a restaurant and drinking establishment dubbed The Mission @ Minder Binder.

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GRAZ Kitchen Fresh Is Now Open in Chandler; Here's the Menu

Categories: Now Open

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GRAZ Kitchen Fresh/Facebook
Chandler-ites looking for a breakfast and lunch destination can add a new restaurant and juice bar to their list of options. GRAZ Kitchen Fresh, located at 1005 S. Arizona Avenue in the San Tan Gateway Center, opened earlier this month and is serving a menu of salads, sandwiches, and juices.

Breakfast options include steel cut oatmeal and sandwiches such as the Fly Me to The Moon, made with turkey sausage, eggs, and Vermont white cheddar. For lunch you can head to the new spot for options such as The Flying Pig, which features turkey breast, bacon, lettuce, herb spread, and harvarti cheese.

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