Four new businesses have officially moved into the Blocks of Roosevelt Row as a part of the first phase of Desert Viking’s most recent project in the area.
The new tenants all reside in the revamped Flowers building at Fifth and Roosevelt streets, which developer Desert Viking company purchased along with several other properties along Fifth and Sixth streets. The new additions bring an artistic flair and many tried to go local with murals and decorations.
After several business closures and relocations on Fifth Street in the past year, the four new businesses are expected to bring some foot traffic back to the area.
Another tenant will join the four in 2018, but the company does not yet want to disclose the name of the occupant.
RELATED: Fifth Street: A year in review
Here is a look at the new faces at the Blocks of Roosevelt, and what customers can expect to find at these new businesses on the block.
What is it: A BBQ restaurant with an East Coast twist
Owner: Phil Johnson
What you can expect: Original flavored barbecue and grab and go dishes
Favorites: Brisket, Philly Crack Wings
Hours: 11 a.m. – 7 p.m. Tuesday to Sunday
Owner Phil “The Grill” Johnson has been making a name in the barbecue scene for years, working the barbecue competition circuit and even doing a stint on Chopped. Previously Johnson also ran a barbecue food truck and has been looking to go brick and mortar. This funky spot gets its name from the idea of being “trapped in” all day on a lazy Sunday. Johnson makes his own sauces and rubs to create unique flavors and credits his New York roots and multicultural upbringing with helping him make his own “freestyle barbecue flavor.” The restaurant served over 550 people at their grand opening last First Friday, and Johnson is confident his singular flavors and the attractive space will keep people coming in.
“Come try it, I’ll put my barbecue up,” he said. “I put my barbecue up against the best and won. I want everyone to come try it and tell me it’s not the best barbecue they’ve ever had.”
What is it: Taqueria
Owners: Aaron Chamberlain, Suny Santana and Gennaro Garcia
What you can expect: Tacos $3-$4, everything else under $10
Hours: 11 a.m. – 10 p.m. Sunday to Thursday, 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. Friday to Saturday
This traditional taqueria is a collaboration between Aaron Chamberlain, Suny Santana and Gennaro Garcia, who have wanted to work on a project together for some time. The walls of the space are adorned with stylish decor. The space is designed to showcase the food as art, as well as the art itself. Many of the pieces exhibited in the space are for sale. Prices are relatively inexpensive. Tacos range from $3-4 and appetizers and salads are under $10. Lauren Saria, a representative of Taco Chelo said the true “heart and soul” of the place are the chef Suny Santana and artist Gennaro Garcia, while Chamberlain, owner of other local restaurants including Phoenix Public market, is mainly there for business support.
What is it: A pop up shop type model in a permanent space
Owner: Ashley Bourget
What you can expect: A variety of products by small local vendors
Hours: 11 a.m. – 4 p.m. Wednesday to Sunday
Pop Phoenix is home to a multitude of small vendors within a single space. Owner Ashley Bourget wanted to bring more retail to downtown and give local vendors more opportunities to bring their merchandise to market at a lower cost. The shop features rotating merchandise from different vendors selling items such as jewelry and clothes. She said most of the vendors work full-time jobs, but have dreams of launching a brand or product. The shop is designed to let vendors take shifts one or two days a week and have a space at a lower cost, $400 a month. Bourget also tries to help vendors learn new business techniques.
“I really just wanted to bring more retail to the downtown area,” Bourget said. “We don’t have a lot of soft goods or jewelry, so I just wanted to create a space where the vendors have more flexibility.”
What is it: Barber shop
Owner: Ray Decandia
What you can expect: Classic men’s cuts
Prices: $32 per traditional hair cut, $32 per traditional shave, $54 for both
Hours: 10 a.m.- 7 p.m. Tuesday to Saturday
Ray Decandia’s shop brings in a contemporary vibe with edgy local artwork, but when it comes to haircuts and shaves, he focuses on the classics. Decandia opened up the shop after finding a passion for barbering when working in a Tempe barbershop in college. He previously studied social work locally at Arizona State University’s Downtown Phoenix campus and before that was in the U.S. Navy. The shop opened in December and features local artists and hairdressers.
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