It was a year ago we were all saddened to hear about the closure of one of our favorite downtown dining spots. The Urban Grocery and Wine Bar in the Downtown Phoenix Public Market closed in May 2012, and with it went some of the best BLTs and arugula salads around, along with their small grocery market. Though the Public Market has continued to be the site of Food Truck Friday and the Wednesday night and Saturday morning farmer’s markets, we missed the cafe and it’s selection of freshly-made, locally-sourced lunch options.
But thanks to St. Francis‘s chef-owner Aaron Chamberlin, who acquired the building shortly after it’s closure last year, the space has been remodeled and reopened as the fast-casual Phoenix Public Market Cafe. A few of us recently headed there for lunch to visit the old favorite.
The first thing we noted is the open, airier feel of the remodeled space and the tables crafted from old barn wood. It was only tea and water for us at lunch, but the Cafe does have a bar area with several craft beers on draft, available in both pints and pitchers, in addition to wine and cocktails made with fresh, seasonal ingredients.
I went with the BBQ pulled pork sandwich with coleslaw and my dining partners went with two of the cafe’s vegetarian options, the chopped Mediterranean salad and the Roosevelt Row bagel with house-made hummus and chunky avocado.
The food was as good as we were hoping for and we all left empty plates behind. We were hungry and could have gone for a heartier salad or sampled some of their side orders—such as market vegetables, brown rice or french fries, available in the $3-$4 range—to go along with the sandwiches.
We’re all suckers for quality baked goods and we had immediately noticed the fresh baked cookies and brownies calling to us as we ordered at the counter and we just couldn’t leave without picking some up. The corn cookies were intriguing, but we went with s’mores cookies and a blondie brownie, which may or may not have been completely devoured shortly after returning to the office.
All in all we were happy with the new old favorite and look forward to returning to sample more of the menu and many more of the cookies.
The cafe is open from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. each day for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
14 E. Pierce St, Phoenix, 85004. 602-253-2700