Restaurants in Phoenix are getting more diverse, and the best ones in town are getting better, says El Paso restaurateur Alex Buehler.
“We’re in a transition,” he said.
Buehler has opened three new restaurants in recent months in Phoenix, including one in the trendy area of Southgate, where he recently opened The Lighthouse.
He said he opened the Lighthouse, a dive bar that specializes in fine dining, because he was tired of seeing people “chipping away at their plates” with a fork.
We’re just trying to be the place where you can have a drink, not have to eat.
“Boehler said he plans to add a full-service bar and is working on a menu that includes a “spicy pork belly,” a shrimp and grits, and a burger.
I think there’s a lot of interest in that,” he added.
And Buehl said the city’s restaurant scene is growing.
More than 2,500 restaurants are listed on the city-owned database.
That’s up from 1,600 in May 2016, when Buellers first opened a restaurant in downtown Phoenix.
In May, Bueller opened a second location in the downtown Phoenix neighborhood of South Gate.
He plans to open a third location in Phoenix sometime next year.
Phoenix restaurant trends Buello, who started in Los Angeles in 1986, is the second restaurateur in Phoenix to open two new restaurants since 2016.
The first is Steve Buelli’s new South Gate location, which opened last year.
Buella also opened the first restaurant in the Phoenix suburb of Scottsdale in December.
The city’s newest restaurant is an all-new one that Buellan opened in a former industrial area in North Mesa.
He is the only Phoenix restaurant with a nameplate of more than 40,000, according to his website.
He opened the restaurant in October and plans to serve lunch and dinner, with a small cocktail bar, for about $60 a person.
At the time of opening, Buela said he expected the restaurant to sell out quickly, so the owner decided to put in an order for 50 seats, which he expects to sell for about 80 cents.
One of his other restaurants, a sushi bar called La Cucina, opened last September.
He said the sushi bar is still in the early stages of development, but plans to reopen by the end of the year.
The La Cacina menu is limited to Japanese, Mexican, and Italian dishes.
Buelas other restaurants include the former La Calle Bue, which has a new interior; La Calte Bue at Pima, which is the largest Mexican restaurant in Phoenix; La Cule, which serves lunch, dinner, and brunch; and La Calm, which offers brunch, lunch, and dinner.
Buello said he expects the city will see more changes in the next few years, as Phoenix becomes more urban.
That includes more new restaurants opening, he said, adding that it’s important to note that Phoenix has more than 100,000 restaurants, more than the total population of the city of Dallas.
It’s also important to keep in mind that most Phoenix restaurants are still a work in progress.
For example, he added, the city has a number of “new restaurants” that are still under construction.
Read more about Phoenix restaurants and restaurants in metro Phoenix.