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Uptown Phoenix’s Pane Bianco Opens for Dinner Service

[Source: The New Times Chow Bella]

Pane Bianco, the Italian sandwich take-out shop owned by James Beard Award-winning pizzaiolo Chris Bianco, now serves a full dinner menu from 4 to 8 p.m., Tuesday through Saturday.

“We wanted to expand the experience at Pane, with iconic dishes from my childhood,” Bianco says.

The restaurant quietly started dishing up dinner last week, offering such rustic fare as Schreiner’s sausage with Anson Mills polenta, ricotta and spinach-filled crespelle (crepes) with tomato sauce, pasta e fagioli with controne beans, vegetables roasted in the wood-fired oven, fresh focaccia, soups, and salads. Snacks include Creminelli sopressata, pecorino, and mixed olives.

“It’s going to change all the time,” says Bianco. “We’re going to use it like an experimental kitchen.”

How does Bianco do it, along with running his successful pizzeria? He’s got extra help now, in the form of chef Claudio Urciuoli, who left Prado last November to join the Bianco team.

Service is still counter-only at Pane Bianco, and seating is on the front patio.

Evening Menu

Formaggio and Soppressata (Serves 2)
13′

  • Pecorino ol Fosso- 90 day cave aged sheep milk cheese
  • Creminelli Soppressata -(Utah)
  • Tomato Jam with cinnamon
  • Castlevetrano, Nicoise and Picholine Olives marinated in citrus, wild fennel and spicy chile
  • California Almonds from Miller Farms

Market Salad P/A

Controne Bean and Escarole Soup 6′

Crespelle filled with Gioia Ricotta, Spinach,
In ‘Lucera’ Tomato Sauce
12′

Pasta e Fagioli di Controne with Pennette ‘Senatore Cappelli’
8′

Schreiners Sausage
Anson Mills Polenta, Garbanzo Beans
10′

ALL BEVERAGES 2′

Details

Tues.-Sat. 4-8
4404 N. Central Ave. Phoenix AZ 85012
(602) 234-2100

How a historic downtown Phoenix shop became a famed pizzeria

Pizza Bianco, downtown Phoenix

[Source: Richard Ruelas, Arizona Republic] — In a downtown Phoenix block full of historic buildings, the Baird Machine Shop might be the richest one.  And it is a story that continues to be written.  The 1928 square, brick building was one of several buildings from Phoenix’s original townsite days that was spared demolition by a Phoenix mayor.  Another man, who would become Phoenix mayor, had the vision that the building could become an iconic restaurant that would draw tourists from around the nation.

That second mayor, Phil Gordon, might have been ahead of his time by proposing the restaurant in the late 1980s.  But his vision came true, as the Baird Machine Shop houses the nationally renowned Pizzeria Bianco.  “I just always knew there would be that attraction to the physical uniqueness of the building,” Gordon said of his 1987 proposal to remodel and revitalize the Baird building.  “We saw the potential of (Heritage Square) being so unique,” he said.

So did then-Phoenix Mayor John Driggs.  When he took office in 1970, he decided to save the buildings that still remained from Block 14, one of the first created in the city that still had original buildings on it.  The Rosson House, which Driggs remembered seeing as a child, had been subdivided into apartments and had air-conditioning units hanging from its windows, said Darla Harmon, executive director at the Rosson House Museum.

The Baird Machine Shop, whose previous tenant was Milt Ponder’s Sign Shop, was one of the buildings bought by the city.  It was just luck that a deal didn’t go through that would have leveled the old structures, Harmon said.  “We’re a great place to put a parking garage, don’t you think?” she said. “(Developers) were looking around licking their lips.”  [Note: To read the full article, click here.]

Viewpoint: New growth, new promise for downtown Phoenix

[Source: Andrew Conlin, Special for The Republic] — For nearly two decades, we’ve heard confident predictions that downtown Phoenix was on the brink of a crucial “tipping point,” when public investment would no longer be needed to generate new development that was both vigorous and self-sustaining.  A term like “tipping point” is a kind of mental shorthand, useful in summarizing complex ideas but sometimes misleading when it comes to making decisions or drawing conclusions.

In reality, we won’t see the beginning of a significant shift from public to private investment until downtown achieves the requisite critical mass.  This will be the moment when the collective energy generated by the diverse collection of downtown businesses, retailers, residences, entertainment venues, and academic and cultural institutions fuses into the nucleus of an energetic and growing community.  Private investors will be drawn to this energy, creating new businesses and helping to further enrich the downtown scene.  This will inspire more people to live and work here, generating new opportunities that will draw new investors.  This development “chain reaction” will, we hope, be self-sustaining and transformational.  [Note: To read the full opinion piece and comments, click here.]