[Source: Michael Tulipan, New York Times] — BOARDED-UP buildings and empty lots in the shadow of office towers hardly seemed a promising foundation for an arts district in rapidly growing Phoenix. But once-neglected and dangerous Roosevelt Row, on the north side of downtown, turned out to be an irresistible lure for artists looking for cheap spaces in which to live and work. Galleries, restaurants and a farmers’ market soon followed.
Today, Roosevelt Row is the city’s cutting-edge art destination, full of galleries like Perihelion Arts (610 East Roosevelt Street, No. 137; 602-334-6299) and Eye Lounge (419 East Roosevelt Street; 602-430-1490), which showcase contemporary, often challenging art and performances. The area is also a popular draw during Phoenix’s monthly First Fridays art walk (artlinkphoenix.com).
Just as vital to the area’s resurgence is the Downtown Phoenix Public Market (721 North Central Avenue; foodconnect.org/phoenixmarket), founded five years ago by Community Food Connections, a local nonprofit with an ambitious agenda. “The goals of the market were to increase access to healthy food and create a vibrant gathering space in the heart of the city,” said Cindy Gentry, the organization’s executive director. Today, the market (open 4 to 8 p.m. Wednesdays and 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturdays) has over 65 vendors offering local produce, jewelry, herbal remedies and treats like delicious lemon strawberry basil sorbet ($2) from Crave Artisan Ice Cream, a local purveyor.
Last October, the market expanded to include Urban Grocery and Wine Bar (14 East Pierce Street; 602-254-1799), downtown Phoenix’s first grocery store in nearly three decades. The grocery sells products from many market vendors and features an outpost of Royal Coffee Bar, as well as a wine bar serving Arizona labels (starting at $7 a glass).
For the fashion-minded, Spoken Boutique (610 East Roosevelt Street, No. 148) stocks trendy denim labels like William Rast and Bishop of Seventh, Wet Cement T-shirts and flirty dresses. Local artists and residents drop into two-year-old Conspire (901 North Fifth Street; 602-237-5446), a laid-back boutique and coffee shop with offerings as diverse as handmade paper, quirky clothing and vegan doughnuts.
The area’s transformation was perhaps best encapsulated by Michael Carbajal, a former boxing champion and local celebrity who grew up on the hardscrabble streets of Roosevelt Row and is now a member of the International Boxing Hall of Fame. On a recent night’s visit to the bar at the year-old Asian tapas hot spot Sens (705 North First Street, No. 120; 602-340-9777; sensake.com) Mr. Carbajal spoke about the changes in the neighborhood. “It was rough,” he said, before dropping a shot of sake into his beer and gesturing to the sleek surroundings. “I like it better now. I can come here.”
[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.]
[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.
Rick Simonetta, CEO of Valley Metro Rail, will join Phoenix Mayor Phil Gordon to provide a passenger’s perspective of riding the new light rail system, and share practical information about riding the rail.
- Date: Tuesday, August 5, 2008
- Time: 8-9 a.m.
- Place: Royal Coffee Bar & Sweet Pea Bakery, 209 West Jackson Street
Coffee will be provided. Parking is available curbside. But make sure you bring change for the meters. Click here to RSVP.
On July 29, find out what’s happening in south downtown Phoenix, otherwise known as SoDo. Sponsored by SKY Marketing & Urban Affair, the informal discussion will be led by Lyle Plocher featuring several SoDo businesses such as Brickhouse, Royal Coffee Bar, Sweet Pea Bakery, Coach & Willie’s, Cooperstown, The Ruby Room, and El Portal. And food is involved: burger, fries, and beverage special for $5.
- Date: Tuesday, July 29
- Time: 5:30-7:30 p.m.
- Place: The Brickhouse, 1 E. Jackson St., Phoenix AZ
- Click here to RSVP
Ignite Phoenix was formed in 2007 to activate spirited and stimulating dialogue around Phoenix’s emerging creative culture. To meet others who are making things happen…to connect the dots. There are no presidents, treasurers, committees, or dues. The only cost are the drinks and/or food you consume.