The long-awaited downtown location of Cornish Pasty Co. will officially open in the first week of March, overcoming a rocky renovation process.
The newest Cornish Pasty Co. is set to be the largest of the restaurant’s five locations dotted across the Valley, founder Dean Thomas said. The three-story restaurant will host a pub and bar, taking accents and notes from traditional English-style pubs and eateries on each floor.
A vision about a decade old, the project has been under construction for the last three years, plagued by continual problems with the construction.
“The demo probably took about three or four months alone,” Thomas said, motioning towards the completely re-plumbed and re-furbished open kitchen behind him on the first floor.
The main level of the pub and eatery is spotted with worn wooden tables and church pews; warm tiles cover the wall of the prep kitchen, which is only separated from the seating tables by a waist-level high wall.
The idea was to give each floor its own original aesthetic while still maintaining the common ground of being a working man’s English pub, where business is not just about money and food.
A founding principle of the Cornish Pasty Co. is the value of the employee and customer experience as opposed to a purely profit focus, said former pasty-chef and current manager Daniel Ashworth, who gained the moniker 1Dan from his fellow coworkers during his eight years as a pasty-chef.
Ashworth said when he first started working at the restaurant, he had no idea he would stay with it for so long — “not even kinda,” he said. It was a combination of the engaging and energetic work environment, and the open kitchen concepts that took care of the customers that kept him going.
“I get to talk to people every day and learn from the new challenges I face everyday,” he said. “At the end of every single day, I love my job. And I love that I can say that.”
Despite having now five locations across the Valley and another in Las Vegas, everything about the Cornish Pasty Co. is family-friendly and employee-owned, Thomas said.
“If we were to franchise and take that money,” he said, “we would’ve had this location open a lot faster, but it wouldn’t be ours.”
In an interview with the Arizona Republic, Thomas said the construction of the downtown location was primarily funded by profits from the other restaurant locations, which extended the timetable.
Thomas opened the first Cornish Pasty Co. in 2005 to celebrate his family and British culture and offer freshly baked pasties for a price aimed at every budget, he said.
“Because we were poor too, we understood,” he said.
Every location is meant to have its own character, Thomas said. Within the Phoenix location, that notion is exemplified by the varying floors, which range from a dimly light, self-described “mafia-poker” lair to a bright, lively and conversational eatery with dart boards and pool tables.
Thomas attributes the company’s success and place in the Phoenix culinary scene to that same principle of caring for the customer, which he says has created the loyal fan base the restaurant enjoys today.
Construction had been underway since the lease was first signed almost four years ago, although it had been plagued with enough problems for Thomas and the other owners to gut the entire building and remove the bones.
“We had to completely re-plumb the place, re-wire the place,” Thomas said. “We tore out all of the floorboards and re-did the support structure too,” he said.
Fans of the locally owned business have been buzzing about the new location, including Daniel Wang, 20, a student at ASU.
“It’s delicious food,” Wang said. He added that besides being a good date spot, it also facilitates genuine interaction with the staff, accented by the atmosphere of a small town.
The new location is at Central Avenue and Monroe Street in downtown Phoenix. Resumes are currently being accepted for all positions. For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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