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The Mexicano

Featured Article

New in '22

Local Eateries and Bars Now Open Across the Valley

Hungry for something new in 2022? Here are a few of the new spots that opened in the latter half of 2021, each well worth being added to your food and beverage bucket list for the year ahead.

Neighborly Public House

Opened just prior to the holidays in Uptown Phoenix, Neighborly is the latest concept from Arcadia native Christopher Collins, the chef-owner of The Macintosh, Twisted Grove, and more. The dinner-only concept is adorned with steel accents and plaid wallpaper, making for a refined and angular look and feel, and warmed by thick walnut tables and chic lighting. The food is primarily refined American in theme, with a hearty spinach dip, bacon-topped burger, rotisserie chicken, and prime cuts of meat. For fans of Collins, a handful of his favorite items from his other concepts are on the menu, as are some ultra-fresh seafood options.

BARCOA Agaveria

Almost hidden behind XICO, a Latinx and Indigenous art gallery and working artist studio in Phoenix, BARCOA opened in late 2021. The bar was developed by Arizona Taco Festival and Phoenix Pizza Festival creator David Tyda in homage to the spirit of Mexico, especially its agave spirit and wine producers. In order to create an authentic atmosphere, Tyda and business partner Ryan Oberholtzer sourced nearly every design element directly from Mexico. The lower portion of the bar is dark and sexy, with a more refined cocktail menu and educational tequila, mezcal, and other agave spirit tastings. The more casual upper cantina is all about Mexico’s most iconic agave-infused offerings, including the batanga and, of course, the margarita. Insider tip: try a 1.5-ounce pour from the “Otro Agave” menu, which features lesser-known agave spirits including sotol, bacanora, and raicilla.


The Italian Daughter

As much a tribute to owner Melissa Maggiore’s recently passed father—Phoenix culinary icon Tomaso Maggiore—as to the food of her family’s native Sicily, this 5,000-square-foot concept opened in mid-2021. Of particular note here is the stage and piano, where crooners sing all things Rat Pack and Billy Joel. Opposite the stage is a wraparound bar with an impressive selection of Italian wines, beers, and cocktails, including an out-of-this-world, gelato-infused martini. The menu boasts Tomaso’s signature classics, family favorites, and new recipes including Spaghetti Picchiu Pacchiu, a dish where 100% of proceeds are donated to the Tomaso Maggiore Culinary Arts Foundation.

The Mexicano

Around the same time Melissa Maggiore opened The Italian Daughter, her brother (and acclaimed chef-owner of Hash Kitchen, The Sicilian Butcher, and more) Joey Maggiore began construction on The Mexicano. Opened in December, the light, bright restaurant is meant to be a celebration of flavor and the melding of modern execution with traditional, authentic Mexican ingredients. Fans of Maggiore’s signature over-the-top presentations will not be let down, as there are several larger-than-life interpretations of dishes, à la the footlong cannolis at The Sicilian Baker.

The Vanilla Gorilla

When famed local chef Dom Ruggiero opened Hush Public House in 2019, he took the culinary community by storm. Amid Covid-19, the space next door became available, and his wheels started turning on a beer concept. Enter The Vanilla Gorilla. Open since late 2021, the name pays homage to the same quirky monikers of some of the best beer spots in the Valley, including The Wandering Tortoise, The Whining Pig, and The Sleepy Whale. The 2,500-square-foot venue, equipped with flat-screen televisions and board games aplenty, has 24 taps and nearly 100 bottle options, including the team’s local favorites from Wren House Brewing Company, Arizona Wilderness Brewing Co., Huss Brewing Co., Tombstone Brewing Company, The Shop Beer Co., and more.

Buddha's Ritual

Opened at the tail end of 2021, the 2,700-square-foot restaurant makes a statement upon approach thanks to its massive pink door. Once inside, the visuals keep coming, starting with a floor-to-ceiling mural of a pink Buddha in a teal jungle. Open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner daily, the menu is just a bold as its aesthetic, with a fabulous fusion of Asian and American dishes—notably kimchi-stuffed grilled cheese, deconstructed Banh Mi, and brick-oven pizzas with both more traditional as well as Asian-inspired toppings, including sprouts, egg, and seasoned proteins.

Don Woods’ Say When

In the weeks leading up to the late summer opening of Don Woods’ Say When, expectations were high. The bar was high for the—well—bar, because it was the latest concept from Ross Simon, founder of both Bitter & Twisted Cocktail Parlour and Little Rituals, two of the most acclaimed cocktail spots in the Southwest. And guess what? It delivers, and then some. Equal parts bon vivant-style penthouse and cocktail lounge, the space with 270-degree city views feels like an album cover from the 1960s—a vibe that carries over into the menu, which features retro-modern takes on cocktails popular at the time, as well as elevated bar bites.

  • The Italian Daughter. Photo by Carrie Willis
  • The Mexicano
  • Don Woods' Say When. Photo by Alcott Creative.
  • Buddha's Ritual
  • The Vanilla Gorilla
  • The Vanilla Gorilla
  • BARCOA Agaveria
  • The Mexicano
  • Neighborly Public House