Blog Archives

CenPhoTV for the week of 10/02/2009

CenPhoTV goes on a week’s hiatus, but still has time to showcase the new Downtown Phoenix Public Market store and their wackiest bloopers to date.

It all ‘adds’ up: Christoph Kaiser and his Garfield neighborhood

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Christoph Kaiser at one of his Garfield properties.

[Source: Yuri Artibise, Downtown Phoenix Journal] — Christoph Kaiser is helping to rebuild Garfield one house at a time.  Once an epicenter of gang activity and urban blight in downtown Phoenix, Kaiser’s houses are now at the heart of Garfield’s resurgence, and among the coolest in downtown Phoenix.

Kaiser is part owner of the architectural firm Plus Minus Studio, founded by him and his business partner Hayes McNeil in the fall of 2005. Since its founding, they have added Anson Chen to their team as Project Manager.  The studio has been responsible for some of the most striking projects in and around Phoenix, including transforming Katz’s Deli into Postino Central and the complete remodel of Kitchen Sink Studios in downtown Phoenix.  In addition, Christoph has recently joined Hayes as partner in the new Royal at the Market coffee shop at the soon-to-be-opened Phoenix Public Market Urban Grocery and Wine Bar.

While this portfolio is indeed impressive for a young architect, it is his personal projects in the Garfield neighborhood that captured the attention of DPJ.  Garfield is the oldest historical district in Phoenix.  First established in 1883, it became part of the city of Phoenix in 1899.  Houses in the neighborhood date from the 1890s to the 1940s, with a large percentage built in the early 1900s.  Unlike the grand dames of Phoenix’s historic districts, Willo and Encanto-Palmcroft, which have mostly remained intact and have dramatically appreciated in value, the historical homes in Garfield fell on hard times over the past three decades.  [Note: To read the full article, visit It all ‘adds’ up: Christoph Kaiser and his Garfield neighborhood.]

More (food, coffee, wine) coming to Downtown Phoenix Public Market Urban Grocery

[Source: Jonathan McNamara, Phoenix New Times] — ​The folks behind the the Downtown Phoenix Public Market Urban Grocery & Wine Bar set their sights pretty high, and they plan on being more than a grocery store.  It will be a permanent home to the farmers market (721 N. Central Avenue), as well as a coffee shop, wine bar, and community kitchen.

Royal Coffee Bar will open an outpost at the new market.  The building has a separate side entrance for the coffee bar, which will keep separate hours from the rest of the market (7 a.m. to 8 p.m., Monday through Saturday).  There’s a spot laid out for seating and relaxing, in case folks don’t want to get their coffee and run.  Expect cool, reclaimed material here like wooden floors from an old Arizona farmhouse, and Edison-era light bulbs.  [Note: Read the full article at More (food, coffee, wine) coming to Downtown Phoenix Public Market Urban Grocery.]

A growing appetite for downtown Phoenix dining

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Sens, Downtown Phoenix (photo source: Cam Riley)

[Source: Howard Seftel and Megan Finnerty, Arizona Republic] — Looking past the current economic downturn, optimistic restaurateurs believe downtown Phoenix is poised to compete in the next few years with Scottsdale as a dining destination.  The momentum has been jump-started by a group of independent chefs and entrepreneurs who believe in the area’s potential.  They, in turn, have inspired a fresh wave of high-profile names with big plans to rush in and stake a downtown claim.

New arrivals say downtown Phoenix has reached a tipping point, energized in part by light rail and the Arizona State University campus.  But some warn that the Valley has seen this sort of hopeful restaurant hype fail to live up to its promise before, pointing to troubles on Mill Avenue in Tempe and developments such as downtown Phoenix’s Arizona Center and the Mercado that never flourished.  Others think downtown’s residential core is still not strong enough to support a restaurant community.

Meanwhile, CityScape is accelerating the downtown dining buzz.  Fifteen restaurants are planned for the sprawling residential, commercial and retail complex set to open in 2010.  Developers are targeting local chefs in hopes of complementing the fledgling dining scene, not squashing it.  Although downtown had seen scattered individual successes in the past, like the wood-fired pizza at Pizzeria Bianco and classy comfort food of Matt’s Big Breakfast, their popularity didn’t create a movement.  Winning national acclaim meant they became just as much tourist destinations as local joints.  Now, however, chefs and restaurant owners are relocating from other parts of the Valley or opening additional locations.

Metro light rail, ASU’s downtown campus, the Downtown Phoenix Public Market and new residents are creating buzz for the area, they say.  “It’s the spot to be,” said Linda Nguyen, whose bustling, 4-month-old Moira Sushi Bar & Kitchen offers Japanese fare.  She considered Tempe and Scottsdale before opening in a space on East McKinley Street.  [Note: Read the full article at A growing appetite for downtown Phoenix dining]

Food businesses face increased federal regulation

[Source: Mike Sunnucks and Jolie McCullough, Phoenix Business Journal] — Owners of small food-related businesses in the Valley are concerned about a federal plan to expand the government’s power to police food-related businesses and production.  That includes the ability to issue recalls, quarantine food supplies in contamination cases, and impose larger penalties on companies that violate food safety rules.

One bill making its way through Congress, the Food Safety Enhancement Act, would create a $500 annual federal licensing fee for food sellers and producers to fund a wider food-policing role for the U.S. Food & Drug Administration.  The federal fee would piggyback any local licensing requirements.

Local independent and small-business owners say new federal fees and regulations likely would squeeze their already tight operating margins.  They are concerned such rules will pressure smaller operators and micro-businesses, even though recent food contamination incidents have occurred at larger corporate farms and production plants…

Adding more federal fees and regulatory layers will add to their costs and eat away at their viability, said Joe Vanderhart, owner of Farmer Joe’s Veggies and a vendor at the Downtown Phoenix Public Market.   “A lot of them aren’t really that big, and they aren’t making a lot of money anyway, so any extra expense isn’t going to be good for them,” Vanderhart said…  [Note: To read the full article, click here.]

Store tied to popular downtown Phoenix public market expected to open in August

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Interior work underway at downtown Phoenix Public Market (photo: Jack Kurtz, Arizona Republic)

[Source: Jahna Berry, Arizona Republic] — Attention shoppers! The first grocery store to open in downtown Phoenix in nearly 30 years is taking shape. On a recent afternoon, a crew worked on plumbing and electrical systems for the 2,000-square-foot store, which is expected to open sometime in August. Soon they will bring in refrigerated cases, ovens and other kitchen equipment, said Alan McLaughlin, the store’s general manager.  “We will source everything local,” he said, including meat, milk and cheese.  “This will be a hangout place in the neighborhood.”

The $475,000 project is an offshoot of the popular, biweekly Phoenix Public Market, which is run by the non-profit Community Food Connections.  Downtown Phoenix residents hungered for a grocery store for decades.  The last supermarket in the neighborhood south of Interstate 10 closed in 1981.  Community Food Connections, which raised $375,000 to open the store, is in the process of raising the remaining $100,000, spokeswoman Catrina Knoebl said.

The 4-year-old farmers market and the grocery store are part of the Phoenix Public Market. The shop will be known as the Phoenix Public Market Urban Grocery & Wine Bar, Knoebl added.  The store will be open from Tuesday to Saturday and will carry prepared food and wine, and it will have a cafe.  Royal Coffee Bar, the trendy coffeehouse near the Maricopa County court complex, will serve java there.  Local food will be the focus, McLaughlin said.

Downtown Phoenix Public Market touts its success

According to this promotional video, the Downtown Phoenix Public Market is growing in a whole new direction, with plans for a six-day-a-week market shop in a vintage downtown building.

After nearly 30 years, downtown Phoenix gets a grocery

[Source: Jahna Berry, Arizona Republic] — After nearly 30 years without a grocery store, downtown Phoenix will get one as early as June.  The non-profit that runs a popular weekend farmers market has secured $305,000 to open a 4,000-square-foot shop at 14 E. Pierce St., the group will announce today.  The store will be open five days a week and will sell produce, dairy, eggs, prepared foods, wine and beer, said Cindy Gentry, executive director of Community Food Connections.  The biweekly Downtown Phoenix Pubic Market will remain open.

A key loan came from the non-profit Phoenix Industrial Development Authority.  The farmers market group needs an additional $170,000 for startup expenses, but the authority’s $250,000 will allow renovations to start. “In these difficult times, the efforts of the Public Market and the outlet it creates for small business is needed more than ever,” Don Keuth, the Phoenix authority’s president.  The last grocery store to serve Phoenix’s downtown core, the area south of Interstate 10, closed in 1981.  [Note: To read the full article, click here.]

On Dec. 27 in downtown Phoenix, visit Light Rail Stop #11

Downtown groups invite public to Public Market holiday festivities, Dec. 10

Chef Elizabeth[Source: Phoenix Chamber of Commerce] — In the spirit of the season, join the Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce, Downtown Phoenix Partnership, and City of Phoenix Mayor’s Office at the Downtown Phoenix Public Market, a program of Community Food Connections.  Come enjoy some music, art, food, local boutiques, live performances, and best of all, the Downtown Phoenix Public Market.

  • Date: December 10, 2008
  • Time: 5 to 7 p.m.
  • Place: Downtown Phoenix Market
  • Cost: Free
  • Register: Click here