[Source: Howard Seftel, Arizona Republic] — A new cluster of restaurants looks poised to bring some energy to yet another part of downtown Phoenix. This time the location is the stretch along Roosevelt Street between Second and Third Avenues.
There’s Bambino Bistro, formerly Vinery 214. Chef/owner Leonard Jay threw in the towel on Vinery’s small-plate concept — the neighborhood didn’t get it, he says with a sigh. Now, armed with a new name and concept, the restaurant features sandwiches built around three kinds of homemade flatbread; from-scratch pasta; wood-fired, brick-oven pizza; burgers; mussels; and several off-beat specials… Bambino Bistro is a cute spot that could turn out to be a neighborhood sleeper. Jay, meanwhile, is determined: “We’ve made a commitment to the community,” he says. “No matter what it takes, we’re going to be here.”
A few feet down the block is Lola Coffee, the second branch of Daniel Wayne’s hip coffeehouse. (The original is at 4700 N. Central Avenue, just south of Camelback Road.) It opened Dec. 18 in the remodeled circa 1925 Gold Spot Market building. Why here? “Downtown is finally ready,” Wayne says, pointing to the growing number of neighborhood residents. He’s roasting his coffee beans and baking pastries on the premises.
Finally, the 10th Valley branch of Pita Jungle is coming to the same building as Lola Coffee. It’s scheduled to open by the end of March.
By my count, the area bounded by Fourth Avenue on the west and Fourth Street on the east, and Roosevelt and Fillmore Streets on the north and south, is now home to 10 new places in the past year. Along with Bambino Bistro, Lola Coffee and Pita Jungle, the list includes Nine 05, Local Breeze, Pasta Bar, Sens, Turf Restaurant & Pub, Moira Sushi and Phoenix Public Market Urban Grocery and Wine Bar. And several more restaurants are on the way. [Note: To read the full article, visit New restaurant cluster emerging along downtown Phoenix’s Roosevelt St.]