Breadfruit and Rum Bar owners opening sandwich shop in The Blocks

Chef Leoni's Onion Focaccia from Leoni's Focaccia, a sandwich shop from Scottsdale that will be moving to the Roosevelt Arts District. (Courtesy of Dwayne Allen/Leoni's Focaccia)

Leoni’s Focaccia, a popular sandwich shop in Scottsdale, will be moving to Roosevelt Row in fall.

The restaurant originally opened in Scottsdale in 2016 as a fast and casual Italian sandwich shop, offering in-house made focaccia bread and quality meats and cheeses.

The sandwich shop is coming to The Blocks, a new adaptive reuse project on Roosevelt Row by Desert Viking developers. Owners Danielle Leoni and Dwayne Allen also run the Jamaican restaurant Breadfruit and Rum Bar in downtown Phoenix.

“It will essentially allow people to do a bit of grocery shopping. All meats and cheeses that we offer will be available by the pound.” Allen said.

Allen said Leoni’s Focaccia is intended to be an amenity to the community and much more than “just a restaurant.”

“We intend for people to be able to pick up a 6-pack of beer, or one of the fantastic Arizona wines we will be carrying. Just in that regard alone, it’s vastly different then the experience of the Breadfruit.

The new location will be an upgraded version of the Scottsdale restaurant with a wider variety of meat and cheese boards, six different flavors of house made gelato, daily pasta specials, and Chef Leoni’s signature, award-winning pastries.

With the move, owners Leoni and Allen will now operate both restaurants within just blocks of each other. Breadfruit and Rum Bar opened nearly ten years ago, becoming successful despite opening during the recession in 2008.

Although Leoni and Allen just opened Leoni’s Focaccia last year in Scottsdale, the pair jumped at the chance to bring the restaurant downtown.

“I’m unbelievably excited to bring Leoni’s Focaccia to the neighborhood where I got my start,” Leoni said. “It’s where I feel most comfortable expressing myself through my food.”

Leoni’s Focaccia will include a wine bar that features wines from local Arizona vineyards, and obscure and nationally known Italian wines. Allen will oversee the beer, wine and cocktails served at the new spot. The relocation will also bring a new retail component to the restaurant for customers on the go.

The Blocks is run by Desert Viking Development. The project includes the adaptive reuse of three existing bungalows, the Flowers building, and a three story commercial building. The restaur

“We felt that they really had a grasp on downtown–that they were passionate about Roosevelt Row, our project, and downtown in general. They really saw the vision,” Dan Noma, owner of Desert Viking, said.

He described the original Scottsdale Leoni’s location as a “test-kitchen” where Chef Leoni could test different food items and nail down her craft. But Leoni said they always knew they were going to come back downtown when the timing was right.

“They know the demographic of their rum bar (Breadfruit). It’s not the same demographic of the people they’re going to be catering to at Leoni’s Focaccia. They know what works and what doesn’t. They should have a good run with us,” Noma said.

“Downtown is our neighborhood…downtown is where we invest our time, so it just made sense,” Allen said, adding that it will be a place that people can pop in for a quick bite to eat or sit down and enjoy the space with bright, sunlit interior and table service for lunch and dinner.

Contact the reporter at Richard.Walton.1@asu.edu.