New restaurant The Coronado offers vegetarian dishes, relaxing environment

(Nikiana Medansky/DD)
The Coronado opens on Seventh Street north of McDowell Road, adding to the street’s growing vegetarian scene. The restaurant’s grand opening will be Saturday, Oct. 3. (Nikiana Medansky/DD)

Bragg’s Factory Diner Owner Liam Murtagh said he hopes his new restaurant, The Coronado, will be a staple for Phoenix residents who want to enjoy vegetarian food and relax.

“I like the idea of having a nice space, but also a very comfortable space,” said Murtagh, executive chef of Coronado. “I want it to be a space where you can go there and sit on your laptop and work on your school stuff or work on your work stuff, but it’s also a place you could go out on a date, too.”

The Coronado is named in homage of the former, well-loved restaurant The Coronado Cafe, which used to reside in the same house. The restaurant opened Tuesday, but Murtagh said there will be a grand opening event Saturday, Oct. 3, featuring music and vendors.

It joins the likes of vegan and vegetarian friendly restaurants Green New American Vegetarian and Nami on Seventh Street north of McDowell Road.

Murtagh said he brought some of his cooking from Bragg’s to The Coronado in a “Southwest inspired” vegetarian menu with some vegan options.

Ronda Hampton, head bartender at The Coronado, said although she eats meat, she is a fan of Murtagh’s vegetarian dishes.

“I’m not a vegetarian or a vegan, but I always loved his food at Bragg’s,” Hampton said. “And if there’s a vegetarian option, if it’s delicious, that’s all I care about.”

Across the street at America’s Taco Shop, owner Terry Bortin said he looks forward to being neighbors with the restaurant.

“I think the neighborhood’s proven, over time, there’s a calling for vegetarian and vegan options, definitely,” Bortin said. “I think it’ll fit well in the Coronado neighborhood. I think they’ll do great.”

Murtagh, a former resident of the Coronado neighborhood, first discovered the spot with his wife when it was still the Coronado Cafe. He got the location when a friend, the landlord of the old restaurant, offered to show him the space.

“(There was) no way I could say no to it,” he said.

Murtagh would like to keep The Coronado elegant. He said the decor is black and white, with furniture from the 50s and 60s and works from local artists such as Bill Dambrova and Mitzi Melville.

After the Coronado Cafe closed in March 2014, Michael O’Dowd’s Urban Vine opened on the property. Urban Vine closed for the summer in 2015 and never reopened.

Murtagh wants to keep the local trend going from Urban Vine. He said he will use products from a variety of local sources, such as Udder Delights, Crooked Sky Farms and Xanadu Coffee.

The restaurant will feature coffee, a full bar and serve breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Murtagh said he has many future plans for The Coronado.

“One thing is, our landlord is trying to figure out how to obtain the lot next to us … because right now it’s just a gravel lot that nobody knows what to do with,” he said.

In that lot, Murtagh hopes to have a farmer’s market on Sunday mornings for the people in the surrounding neighborhood. He also said he is considering a mariachi night, as suggested by a resident of the neighborhood, and a festival for home brewing.

“There’s so many things that can be done with this space because of the location that it is,” Murtagh said. “Those are a few ideas I have, personally, but … you want to listen to what’s going on in the neighborhood. If someone says, ‘Hey, why don’t we do this?’ Well then, why don’t we do it?”

Murtagh said there is already a book club whose members have asked to start meeting regularly on The Coronado’s patio. The restaurant has gotten a good reception so far, Hampton said.

“They’re excited about it,” she said. “It is really nice for people who are vegetarian or vegan to have those options because there are not a lot of places that do, but I really think (the food) is good for anyone.”

The Coronado is located at 2201 N. Seventh St. Phoenix, Arizona, 85006. The hours are 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. during the week and 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. on the weekend, and the kitchen is open until close.

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