Name: Kiesha Locklear
Occupation: ASU Graduate student in architecture
Her neighborhood: Roosevelt
How often do you bike? I’m from New York and when I moved here, I purposely moved near the light rail, so I’m car-free.
How do you get involved Downtown? I haven’t had a lot of time lately, but I’ve been involved with the Hance Park Conservancy and the Downtown Voices Coalition.
Biking fashion tip? When I bike in a skirt, I attach a binder clip to the hem to weigh it down and keep it from blowing up.
What she’s wearing:
- Shirt from Old Navy
- Vest purchased in Berlin
- Steve Madden shoes
- Glasses by Vue dc
- Men’s Electra Townie (She’s tall)
- Coffee cup holder
- Huge bike basket (Which she sometimes uses to transport her dog Momo)
Here at DPJ, it’s our goal to help you “go where the locals go.” And now ,with social check-in app Foursquare’s new “Best of Phoenix” lists, we can tell you exactly where locals love to be in downtown Phoenix and beyond.
Phoenix is one of 30 cities in the U.S. included in Foursquare’s “Best of” guides. The rankings are based on a 1-10 scoring system that factors in things like check-ins, tips, likes, dislikes, popularity and loyalty.
The lists include restaurants, bars, coffee shops and cool things to do and of course greater downtown(*) is well represented! Here are just a few of the “best of’s” you should check out for yourself:
1. Jobot Coffee*
2. Lux Central*
3. Giant Coffee*
4. Urban Beans*
5. Copper Star Coffee*
6. Fair Trade Cafe*
7. Lola Coffee*
8. Cartel Coffee Lab*
9. Royal Coffee Bar
2. Maizie’s Café & Bistro*
3. Hillstone Restaurant
4. Armadillo Grill
5. The Arrogant Butcher*
6. District American Kitchen & Wine Bar*
7. Seasons 52
8. BJ’s Restaurant & Brewhouse
9. The Garage Restaurant & Bar*
10. Beckett’s Table
1. Gallo Blanco Café*
2. Carolina’s Mexican Food*
4. Los Taquitos
5. Dick’s Hideaway*
6. Valle Luna
7. Barrio Café*
8. La Condesa Gourmet Tacos*
9. Los Reyes de la Torta
10. Rito’s Market & Mexican Take Out*
1. The Vig Uptown*
2. Carly’s Bistro*
3. The Lost Leaf*
4. The Duce*
5. The Roosevelt* (now closed)
6. Sandbar Mexican Grill
7. Angels Trumpet Ale House*
8. Half Moon Sports Grill
9. Rips Ales & Cocktails*
10. Brigett’s Last Laugh
1. Postino Winecafe*
3. Duck & Decanter
4. Portland’s Restaurant & Winebar*
5. Sportsman’s Fine Wines & Spirits
6. Cheuvront Restaurant & Winebar*
7. My Wine Cellar
1. Phoenix Zoo
2. Civic Space Park*
3. Echo Canyon Park/Camelback Trailhead
4. Arizona Science Center*
5. Piestewa Peak
6. Steele Indian School Park*
7. North Mountain Park Trail 44
8. Hubbard Family Swim School
10. Shaw Butte Hiking Trails
1. Herberger Theatre Center*
2. The Torch Theatre*
3. Space 55*
4. Conspire Arts Cooperative*
5. Phoenix Theatre*
6. “CYPHERS” The Center for Urban Arts
Want to go where the locals go? Read DPJ’s new E&D Beat and visit some favorite Eats & Drinks destinations.
(New) Local Fave: Vovomeena
District: Historic Roosevelt
Identity: Like Carly’s, this local favorite’s identity is reflected in a painted mural on the entry wall. “Vovo” is grandmother in Portuguese, and “Meena” is the name of owner DJ Ferandes grandmother. This breakfast spot is bistro style with a nautical twist. DJ and his family grew up on the shores of New England and even menu items like the Wilcox Avenue reflect the theme. A wall of ropes suspended from the ceiling to floor helps guide you to the open kitchen and counter where you “order in!” and take a seat with your number.
Have A Seat: The bistro tables inside are simple with mid-century modern chairs. The seating along the wood-planked wall provides a great view for people watching and feeling a part of the morning hustle. Toward the back is a quiet sitting nook complete with home style furnishings, and opposite is a secluded area perfect for thumbing through the daily paper (or favorite online journal?). Cooler weather finally has reached the valley and a modest patio, blocked from busy 7th Ave, allows for soaking up some sunshine while the java warms your hands.
The Eats: Vovomeena takes pride in serving specialties made with mostly organic, local ingredients. Peddler’s Son, Schreiner’s Sausage, The Roastery of Cave Creek, and Boxed Greens are all local contributors to the scrumptious Portuguese inspired menu. One try-not-to-lick-the-plate dish is the B.M.O.C.: a Schreiner’s pork chop, waffle, apple-maple syrup, two eggs, AND a Portuguese donut tower takes you beyond chicken and waffles and into salty/sweet bliss. The pork chop is tender and smoky, while the waffle is fresh and sweet. The special of the day is posted on their social media networks and in the restaurant. You’ll find plates like a Schreiner’s BLT with organic spinach, vine ripened tomatoes, and a house made chipotle mayonnaise.
The Coffee: Visit resident barista Ryan Avery, well known in the community for serving up artfully crafted coffee drinks with a friendly smile. The star beverage is the cold brewed coffee. Traditionalists may stick to their hot drinks, but any caffeine junky will be satisfied after trying this brewing method. Manager Kaj Macussen explains the process takes 12-14 hours but the result is worth the wait. With no heat, zero caffeine is burned off, so the coffee is stronger without being overpowering in taste. Also, no heat means that the subtle flavors of the beans are sustained with no bitterness and a smooth finish. “I think we are one of only a few places in the valley that brew this way and we are proud to serve such a good product,” says Macussen.
What They Say: After being open only a couple months, they are already seeing repeat guests. Some, like Makenna Mercer and Claudia Balderrama, were big fans of Astor House and Tuck Shop, which originally brought them in. After trying the new “mom and pop yummies” they were hooked. Mercer says, “Everything is original and the ambiance is bright and welcoming. We love the flight of cold brews!” Balderrama agrees with her friend, saying, “We like to support good food at a local place. This is fresh, home comfort food with a creative twist.”
Report: This adorable bistro will make you feel welcome with the warmth of a home style cooked breakfast or brunch. The value of your meal is top notch, and the moderate prices won’t drain your wallet. Downtowners are constantly thanking the employees for a neighborhood breakfast spot that is easy to get to with good parking and a friendly staff proudly serving some great food and beverages. Macussen hopes that “…people leave after the best breakfast they’ve had and think it was a fun place to visit…somewhere they can come over and over again.”
Want to go where the locals go? Read DPJ’s new E&D Beat and visit some favorite Eats & Drinks destinations.
Local Fave: Lux Central
District: Midtown Phoenix
Owner: Jeff Fischer
Identity: “It’s your third space,” says bartender Ben Linsenmeyer of Lux Central. “It’s a place that’s not home or work but that third space you spend the rest of your time. The place you feel comfortable enough to grab your cup of coffee before work and then return to for a late night cocktail with friends.” Ben explains that owner Jeff Fischer had a vision of creating this third space for his guests after attending a business conference about such things. What you won’t get here is a map telling you where to order, pick up, or someone telling you where to sit. “It’s meant to be that way,” Ben says. “People who don’t like our concept usually leave frustrated but then return with their friends, usually the very next day, explaining how it all works with a sense that now they’re ‘the cool ones’.”
Find Your Way: The space offers an urban feel with brick walls and rigid textures complimented by sleek, mid-century furnishings. On every surface sits another unique piece of art or a trinket that is waiting to tell you its story. You’d hardly expect this place to be considered a bar. In fact, the puzzling layout forces you to walk the entire space, discovering different corners that reveal elements of the conceptual bar/restaurant/roastery. Menus seem to be misplaced and employees aren’t outright identifiable. Any newcomer might initially be turned off, but a little exploration will have them delighted with this unconventional watering hole.
Have A Seat: With numerous seating areas, including a few different types of bars to sit at, you get a variety of experiences. Belly up to the low-sitting, polished-stone bar counter and watch your favorite bartender mix up a cocktail from fresh ingredients that are literally at your finger tips. Take your cocktail to one of the many community tables where you can chat with a business CEO and a local artist, finding an unexpected common ground. For the foodies, a comfy seating arrangement of tufted sofas or rough cut wood picnic style bench faces the open stainless steel kitchen.
The Eats: Find everything from organic steel cut oats to vegetarian egg bakes, seasonal pies and cookies, weekend breakfast NY strip steaks, and mac n’ cheese. This is a true local, seasonal menu offering the best in comfort food. The real fun is coming in to see the lunch and dinner offerings that change daily.
The Drinks: You’ll find the cocktail menu carefully handwritten on note cards, taped to a clear divider at the end of the bar. The bartenders are also happy to whip up something special, just for you. With high-end spirits and fresh herbs and produce, these mixologists will find a way to your inner buzz. As for beer and wine, Lux has a menu of over 50 domestic, local, craft, and imported brews, along with beautiful, recognizable wines and some approachable exotics – all fairly priced.
What They Say: “Lux is that place that everyone is leaving, going to, or is already at,” says Lux Central regular Emily Caldwell, owner of Gallery Parallax. She explains that you can arrive by yourself and by the end of your visit have made five new friends. Alternatively, you can find yourself a quiet nook and enjoy a house-roasted coffee or daily inspired cocktail while studying or working.
Report: Lux Central offers a social experiment, with a melting pot of guests and an eccentric, but exceptional service strategy. You’ll never have the same experience twice, but always the same quality in eats and drinks. Cheating on Lux to enjoy other places is expected, but this is the place where you’ll always return: Phoenix’s unique third space.
Recently the Downtown Phoenix Partnership hosted a tasting event to share the latest edition of their Downtown Phoenix Dining Guide, as if we needed any convincing that downtown has it going on in the dining department.
But after a tour of downtown hot spots via a five course meal and four mocktails, we’re glad they did because the Hamachi from Blue Hound Kitchen & Cocktails still haunts us.
With more than a dozen new restaurants opening in the last year, the Partnership updated the popular dining guide for a third year to help business crowds, politicos, arts and culture aficionados, and sports enthusiasts discover all the tasty sensations Phoenix has to offer.
“The dining dynamic in Downtown continues to evolve and it’s exciting to watch,” says David Roderique, President & CEO of the Downtown Phoenix Partnership. “I think it’s important to note that the dining momentum is a key element of our economic strength. Downtown is now recognized as a major destination for dining as we continue to make gains in our restaurant offerings with new openings.”
The Guide identifies where visitors and residents alike can find the best nibbles before or after a show, game, or during the business week for that power lunch. We’re hearing the piece is especially popular with conventioneers, and the Partnership’s visitor center can’t keep it on the shelves. And it just might help the downtowner think of a new place to try.
The Guide features more than 100 restaurants in the 90-square-block urban core, with coverage this year expanding to Greater Downtown, north to Portland Street, south to Lincoln Street, and west to 7th Avenue.
The 2012-2013 Downtown Phoenix Dining Guide can be downloaded or ordered online at www.downtownphoenix.com/diningguide.