North Phoenix commercial corridor seeing restaurant revival

A long fading commercial corridor in a north Phoenix neighborhood is emerging as an eclectic foodie destination. In the past year, new eating spots have popped up so quickly, it’s hard to keep track. Many are Arizona-grown successes like Screamery, Over Easy, and the Original Chop Shop.

The area along Tatum Boulevard near the Shea Boulevard and Cactus Road intersections is buzzing with a restaurant revival. The newest is Giordano’s, known for its Chicago-style stuffed deep dish pan pizza, that just opened on Tatum across from Paradise Valley Mall. Coming later this month is KOVO, a Mediterranean-themed restaurant in the Paradise Village Gateway center at Tatum and Shea.

These are just a few of the expanding choices.

“I am thrilled to see the increase of great restaurants in the Tatum and Shea area and surrounding Paradise Valley Mall,” said Phoenix Councilwoman Debra Stark, who represents District 3 that encompasses the area. “The surrounding neighborhoods now have so many choices for dining. I believe that the neighborhoods will continue to see only positive growth and investment that will directly benefit them.”

Most of the concepts for these new munchie locations were created by Arizona chefs and entrepreneurs. Here’s a peek at the smorgasbord of new offerings:

KOVO Modern Mediterranean This new casual Mediterranean-inspired place is set to open by the end of September. Owner and chef Yianni Ioannou, who is from Cyprus, is spicing up traditional recipes with a modern flair. KOVO means “to carve” in Greek so lamb, beef and organic chicken will be fresh off the rotisserie. 10625 N. Tatum.

Giordano’s Known for its award winning stuffed deep dish Chicago-style pizza, this chain was started on the south side of Chicago 40 years ago. With restaurants in eight states, it just opened its second restaurant in Arizona across from Paradise Valley Mall. 12811 N. Tatum.

The Screamery This ice cream shop uses only grass-fed milk and cream and is the first in Arizona to be certified to pasteurize its products. Founded in Tucson by Kenny and Linda Sarnoski, it is starting to open stores in other locations. This year, it opened its first location in Phoenix at 10625 N. Tatum.

Over Easy Waffle dogs, malted waffles, ham fried steak, and the wolf pack – eggs and bacon between two layers of hash browns – are some of the breakfast fare on the menu that has been featured on The Food Network’s Diners, Drive Ins and Dives. Another Arizona success story, this concept was created by local chef Aaron May who later sold his majority share. Now, franchises are in three states and growing. 10637 N. Tatum.  

Original ChopShop Healthy “just feel-good” food prepared in minutes. Smoothies, protein shakes, fresh-pressed juices, salads, and protein bowls can be adapted for different diets like gluten, dairy, lactose and soy free. Local founders Ryan and Caitlin Jocque originated the concept in Scottsdale and later sold it to Hargett Hunter Capital Partners that is expanding it across Arizona and Texas. 10625 N Tatum.

Covenant  New American cuisine with wood-fired entrees in a gorgeous upscale restaurant and bar have made this a popular dining choice since local restaurateur Carri Gardner opened it a year ago. 4740 E. Shea.

Cold Beers & Cheeseburgers  With dishes like fried pickles and bacon PB&J cheeseburger sliders, this popular Phoenix based concept from Square One continues to open locations across Arizona and is moving into California. 4731 E. Cactus Rd.

With so many new choices, there are still many older favorites in the neighborhood as well including Yasu Sushi Bistro, Rusconi’s, My Pie, the Salty Sow and O.H.S.O. Brewery.

Is it time for dinner, yet?

Victoria Harker

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