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By Shanna Fujii

 Roosevelt Row is known for its elaborate and expressive art. Something else it’s known for? Its warm and heightened sense of community. In this interview series, the highlighted businesses are not chosen because of their physical location in Roosevelt Row, but because they positively impact or help develop the community. 850zip is one of these businesses. 

Kathey Wagner founded 850zip in November of 2016. 850zip, a hyper-local loyalty program designed to reward community members for supporting local businesses, was born to create stronger neighborhoods and communities by magnifying the importance every individual makes on the economic vitality and social infrastructure of society.

There are currently over 150 businesses that have joined the 850zip movement and in a few months, the program will hit 1,000 community members. We interviewed Wagner to learn more about 850zip and how it aims to grow the Phoenix community.  

 

How does 850zip work?

850zip is a hyper-local loyalty program for people who work, live, and play in the downtown area of Phoenix. It’s aimed towards promoting locally owned businesses and getting people to know about businesses that help the community and encourage them to help the community themselves. Business members can join 850zip for free and community members pay $20 per year to unlock exclusive loyalty rewards and VIP services.

 

Is there a criteria 850zip uses to approve business members?

Business members need to be located in the Phoenix area and needs to be locally and independently owned. We are open to all types of businesses. We have restaurants, bars, boutique shops, and professional services such as attorneys, consultants, and accountants that have all elected to become a part of 850zip.

 

How do the loyalty rewards work for community members?

Each business has a unique offering for our community members that give them recognition for being community-minded. This offering can be anything from a discount on an item or it could be a specialty product or VIP service. Community members can show their 850zip chip or online account to these businesses in order to receive their loyalty rewards or discounts.

 

Why did you start 850zip?

We are a B Corporation.* There are less than 12 in the state of Arizona. We have a triple bottom line focused on people, planet, and profit. We reinvest our profits in selected local non-profits and increased marketing for our business members. In 2018, 850zip was awarded Best for The World Honoree as a B Corporation. We really want to build a legacy and help promote local businesses. I tell people 850zip is how I do my giving and I produce my living by being a business strategist.

 

*“Certified B Corporations are a new kind of business that balances purpose and profit. They are legally required to consider the impact of their decisions on their workers, customers, supplies, community, and the environment.”

 

Why do you think building a legacy is so important?

I’ve lived in downtown for 20 years. I’ve seen the growth in Phoenix and have also seen what happens to businesses when they don’t have sustainable marketing or a presence in the marketplace.

850zip helps local businesses understand the power of sustainable marketing and provides them with a bigger voice among corporate entities or large conglomerates. We want to help families fulfill their dream of owning a business, as well as, helping people who are moving to Phoenix feel more connected to the community.

 

What is one way 850zip helps people feel more connected to their community?

If you look at our logo, you’ll see the word “volunteer.” We want people to put their hands and hearts within the community through volunteering. Not everyone knows where to find volunteer opportunities they’re passionate about. They want to feel more connected to the people they live with or live by, but there aren’t a lot of mechanisms for people to do that. So, we create (or promote or sponsor) events and provide opportunities for people to get involved and get to know the people around them.

Today, there’s so much distraction. People are busy, but they’re not really involved. But if you give them a little taste of what that feels like to be a part of something, they’re more apt to be engaged. It creates stronger neighborhoods and stronger communities.

 

How would you describe Phoenix’s community?

The thing about Phoenix is that it is very neighborhood driven. We are still a big city of small neighborhoods. If you go to each one of those communities, there is a distinct feel to each one.

Roosevelt has always been, in my mind, one of the top communities in downtown Phoenix. It has changed a lot in the past couple of years. It used to be primarily art galleries, but today, it’s become more of an art gathering. It’s very vibrant and there’s more of an infrastructure of places for people to gather.

 

For someone who has never been to Roosevelt Row, where is one place you think they should visit?

Ben’s Bells. Ben’s Bells is a non-profit and a member of 850zip. They have a herd of volunteers who make and hand paint these amazing bells in memory of their son Ben. They hang throughout the city and people will find them at random. When you find one, you can either take it or you can leave it for someone else to find. It brings so much joy to people and I love that! It’s definitely a place I recommend people to visit.

 

To join the powerful movement 850zip has created, visit https://www.850zip.com/

 

ABOUT AUTHOR SHANNA FUJII

Shanna Fujii is a colorful wordsmith published on GoDaddy, Arizona Foothills, Phoenix Children’s Hospital, and more. When she’s not busy adding spice to copy for clients, she’s checking things off her bucket list, running her philanthropic streetwear brand,Honey & Misfits, or writing and producing short films. She’s a french fry connoisseur and will never be caught without a pair of worn-in Converse. Connect with her on LinkedIn.

 

By Shanna Fujii

Downtown Phoenix is chock-full of things to do. You can easily find tasty bites at local restaurants, specialty cocktails during happy hour, or colorful murals that scale building walls scattered throughout the area. But, when it comes to having a truly one-of-a-kind experience? Lacuna Kava Bar is the front runner.

As you step into Lacuna Kava Bar, you’re transported into a tropical paradise in the desert.. The plant wall, natural wood, calming colors, and range of music – from island to pop – all add to the unique vibe, but it’s truly the culture of kava – and the people who gather here – that make for a matchless experience.

As the first kava bar in Phoenix, owner Chase Brendle feels it is his responsibility to educate the public about kava and its benefits, as well as creating a positive and healthy environment for the community. We sat with Brendle and talked over a cup of kratom to learn all about kava, from its culture to how it’s making its mark in the heart of the arts district.

 

How did you come up with the name Lacuna Kava Bar?

“Lacuna” by definition means a space, gap, or hiatus. I think that really speaks to the context of what a kava bar is. We take that part of the day where you would normally take a hiatus and use it to create a community where people come together and connect. It’s one of the few places where you’ll find people actually talk to people they don’t know at the bar.

 

This is my first time hearing about kava and I’m sure I’m not the only one. Can you explain what kava is?

Kava is an ancient and exotic ceremonial tea. It’s been used for over 3,000 years in South Pacific island tribes like Fiji and Hawaii. You might make a big bowl of kava for everyone to share and commune during ceremonial rituals or welcoming a guest or traveler into your home.

Kava itself is from the pepper plant piper methisticum which means “enchanting or intoxicating pepper.” It will give you a very relaxed or euphoric feeling through your whole body and has been called “nature’s Xanax.” We also serve kratom, which is an evergreen tree from the coffee plant family. Kratom is from places like Thailand, Indonesia, and Malaysia and will give you a more energetic or uplifting experience.

 

How is kava and kratom prepared?

All of our products are laboratory tested with a certificate of analysis telling us they’re free from any contaminants. We also receive an alkaloid profile telling us how strong it is so we can brew it accordingly.

To make the traditional tea, kava is strained using purified water. Depending on where it’s from, there are different strains or varieties. Tongan kava offers a socializing and talkative effect, Fijian kava has a euphoric headiness to it, whereas Vanuatu kava has a heavier, peppery taste that is more sedative. For kratom, we steep it using purified water. There are also different strains. There’s red which is relaxing, green which is in between, white is for flight or energy, and yellow is for a more euphoric feeling.

Naturally, kava has an earthy taste and kratom’s natural leaf is very bitter. A lot of places serve it the traditional way. We do as well, but we also offer mocktails that mix kava or kratom with other ingredients like fresh fruit juice, coconut milk, or organic syrups.

 

What is the culture behind kava like?

I’ve been spending a lot of time at the local kalapus or Fijian, Samoan, and Tongan mixing clubs. I think it’s important to respect and honor the different cultures and traditions of kava. For example, you can’t cross your arms when you’re pouring kava because it’s bad luck. In Tongan or Samoan culture, if you hear two loud claps, that’s the signal to serve up another shell of kava.

The Polynesian community has a very tight-knit structure where everybody takes care of each other. I’m not an islander, but they’ve been very accepting because they see I want to learn about the culture and properly respect and share what they’ve created.

 

For you personally, what has been your best kava bar experience?

Before I moved to Arizona, I owned a crossfit gym in Florida. It was my first business and I had spent more time with those people than I had with my own family over the past five years. The day I sold it was an emotional one. After I signed the papers, I went to my friend’s kava bar really questioning if I did the right thing. My friend saw the look on my face when I came in. He walked over with a coconut shell full of kava and said, “Here. This one’s on me. You look like you need it.” You don’t get relationships like that too often. It really goes to show you that the people you meet in places like this become your tribe.

 

How would you describe the people of Roosevelt Row?

It’s a very creative, open, and accepting community. The amount of support we’ve received from people has been incredible. From our performing artists to our social media…people see what we’re doing, appreciate the experience, and want to share and support so other people get a chance to feel and experience what they do when they come here.

 

For someone who has never been to Roosevelt Row, where is one place you think they should visit?

Do I have to say one place? Honestly, the experience of walking around here is what I’d recommend. There are so many good places from The Churchill to the sandwiches at Jobot Coffee & Bar. There are so many amazing things to try and see. I don’t recommend having a single destination in mind when you arrive. From the murals, to the different restaurants, to the art galleries…there is a lot of life down here to be experienced.

 

Author’s Note:
After the interview, I got to try kava and kratom for myself. The experience was so unique that I’ve brought multiple groups of people back to Lacuna Kava Bar so they can have their own experience. I can say with confidence that what Brendle said is true; you can sit at the bar and talk with people you don’t know. After bringing a friend to Lacuna for the first time, we sat next to someone with a Fijian background and conversed for the rest of the night. If you’ve never tried kava or kratom or are just looking for a unique experience in downtown Phoenix, I’d definitely recommend giving Lacuna Kava Bar a shot.  

 

 

 

ABOUT LACUNA KAVA BAR 

Your urban oasis located in the heart of downtown Phoenix and the Roosevelt Row Arts District, Lacuna Kava Bar is one of a kind and the only place to get real, freshly brewed kava, kratom, and CBD tea in Phoenix, Arizona. Visit lacunakavabar.com to learn more

 

ABOUT AUTHOR SHANNA FUJII

Shanna Fujii is a colorful wordsmith published on GoDaddy, Arizona Foothills, Phoenix Children’s Hospital, and more. When she’s not busy adding spice to copy for clients, she’s checking things off her bucket list, running her philanthropic streetwear brand,Honey & Misfits, or writing and producing short films. She’s a french fry connoisseur and will never be caught without a pair of worn-in Converse. Connect with her on LinkedIn.

By Shanna Fujii

Contrary to popular belief, owners Keith and Patty Shanks didn’t name Rott n’ Grapes after the fermenting process for wine or “rotten grapes.” Instead, the owners took their two favorite things—Rottweilers and wine—and created the name for their business.

Rott n’ Grapes has two locations in Phoenix, the newest location housed on Roosevelt Row in the Gold Spot Building. Rott n’ Grapes RoRo, as it is officially addressed, has an industrial chic interior complete with brick and plaster walls, slanted gold ornate mirrors, and larger-than-life artwork of their dogs. The inspiration? Their affinity of Italy and its romantic, rich culture and the artistic aesthetic embedded in all that is Roosevelt Row.

We sat down with Keith to talk about his interest in Italy, why he chose Roosevelt Row as his second location, and how Rott n’ Grapes is so much more than a restaurant.

 

How would you describe Rott n’ Grapes to someone who has never been?

Sometimes there’s a misconception that our name is after “rotten grapes.” They think we’re only a wine bar and are limited in what they can get, which couldn’t be farther from the truth. For me, the best way to describe this space is that we are a multi-use concept. You can come here for a casual night with friends, you can have fine-dining romantic evening, or you can have a late night in our speakeasy, The Onyx.

In addition to that, our space can be used for events or private parties, we cater, and we have a convenient bottle shop where you can buy individual beer or wine, or can create a to-go six pack. We want people to see Rott n’ Grapes as more than just a restaurant.

 

When did you first start Rott n’ Grapes?

About nine years ago, we were in Italy touring around. There was something about that wine element we loved so much. We’ve had this long-standing business plan over the last several years to open up a wine bistro of some sort, and in 2006, we founded Rott n’ Grapes.

 

What was it about that Italy trip that inspired you to start Rott n’ Grapes?

What really captured the elegance of Italy for us were the local restaurants. In Italy, wine was produced thousands of years ahead of the United States, so their palates are very mature. When you go to Italy, you don’t drink wine from the bottle—you drink house wine or table wine wherever you go. A tourist would typically think, “I want a bottle of wine,” but for the locals, it’s all about the house wine. What they’re telling you is that the house wine is the best wine out there. It’s such a rich culture and we wanted to bring that element here.

 

Do you have your own house wine at Rott n’ Grapes?

We do. We have five to seven different varietals of wine and you can find a house wine for every varietal (house pinot grigio, house pinot noir, house cabernet…etc).

 

For someone who doesn’t know anything about wine, how do you recommend a wine
suggestion?

We ask, “What do you like?” If they don’t know the answer to that, we’ll typically ask them questions like, “Do you like something on the light side, do you like something on the medium- body side or do you like full body? Do you like something that’s more fruitful or do you like something that’s drier on the backend?” We really want to understand what your palate is like. After understanding your preferences, we’ll find the right wine for you.

 

What’s your personal favorite at the moment?

Right now, my personal favorite is the Loscano Malbec. It’s a medium body, has some dryness on the back, along with some pepper elements to it. I can eat it with any meal on our menu which is what makes it so versatile.

 

Let’s go back to Italy. What was the atmosphere of the local restaurants in Italy like?

So casual and romantic. It’s educational in many ways because of the history of the streets you’re on. It has this element of history and ancestry that almost bleeds through the pores of the streets themselves. You can tell the buildings have been around for too many years to count. Whether we were in Florence, Venice, or Rome, you can tell they’re not stuck somewhere, they just appreciate where they’ve always been.

 

Roosevelt Row has a rich history to it as well. Do you think that’s part of the reason why you were interested in opening your second location in Roosevelt Row?

It is. My wife is an artist, so we’ve always been attracted to Roosevelt Row. Downtown Phoenix is up and coming. It’s inviting; people want to be here and walk the streets.

Phoenix is a big city, but it still feels so small. I think Phoenicians have this inner connection with each other, and they keep it that way. They refuse to be so big and so separated. They really want to know each other and be a part of something.

We’ve even had quite a few politicians come through. One of them being Mayor Kate Gallego, who is now a good friend. Not many organizations can say they have a connection to the mayor the city. I grew up in the Dallas area. Back there, I wouldn’t have a blink-of-an-eye interaction with the city council, let alone the mayor of Dallas, but here in Phoenix, I do. That’s because of Phoenicians. That’s just how we are.

 

In what ways are you incorporating more of a community aspect in your business?

We’ve only been open for eight months, but we want to incorporate more of the local art feel of Roosevelt Row into Rott n’ Grapes. We have some paintings from local artists down in the speakeasy and feature some artwork in the main space. We’re interested in hanging up art and selling it for artists as opposed to buying it simply because we want to showcase local artists in rotation. We’re actually looking for mural artist to create something for the back wall in the restaurant, so we can display even more local talent.

 

For someone who has never been to Roosevelt Row, where is one place you think they
should visit besides Rott n’ Grapes?

You have to come down to the Hance Park area. There is this comfort about Hance Park and how spacious it is. But right across from Hance Park is the Hance Dog Park. We take our dogs there all the time and think it’s the best park for dog owners. Even the dogs themselves are disciplined and fun to be around, which makes it really enjoyable to walk around.

 

 

ABOUT ROTT N’ GRAPES

Rott n’ Grapes RoRo is located on Roosevelt and 3 rd Ave. If you’re in the area, pop in for happy hour at the bar, a phenomenal meal on the mezzanine, or have an intimate conversation in The Onyx. As active owners and operators, chances are, you’ll see Keith and Patty running the show and if you do, make sure to say hi. Learn more about Rott n’ Grapes at www.rottngrapes.com or on social media at @rottngrapes.

 

ABOUT SHANNA FUJII

Shanna Fujii is a colorful wordsmith published on GoDaddy, Arizona Foothills, Phoenix Children’s Hospital, and more. When she’s not busy adding spice to copy for clients, she’s checking things off her bucket list, running her philanthropic streetwear brand,Honey & Misfits, or writing and producing short films. She’s a french fry connoisseur and will never be caught without a pair of worn-in Converse. Connect with her on LinkedIn.

From humble beginnings to a now nationally-recognized community, Roosevelt Row is a unique arts district that attracts creatives, visionaries, entrepreneurs and individuals who celebrate the arts.

To celebrate the inspiring people who are anchors in this growing community, we are debuting a new series of inspiring stories. Through the words of the local artists and business owners in Roosevelt Row, you will discover a special glimpse into the lives of those who make this vibrant community a place you have come to know and love. 

Look for forthcoming stories including:

  • Golden Rule Tattoo
  • MonOrchid
  • Lacuna Kava Bar
  • Rott n’ Grapes RoRo
  • BrandLoyal
  • True North Studio
  • 850zip

 

Here’s to the next chapter!

 

ABOUT SHANNA FUJII

Shanna Fujii is a colorful wordsmith published on GoDaddy, Arizona Foothills, Phoenix Children’s Hospital, and more. When she’s not busy adding spice to copy for clients, she’s checking things off her bucket list, running her philanthropic streetwear brand, Honey & Misfits, or writing and producing short films. She’s a french fry connoisseur and will never be caught without a pair of worn-in Converse. Connect with her on LinkedIn.

PHOENIX, AZ (June 20, 2019) Roosevelt Row Community Development Corporation (CDC) will soon be programming 918 North 2nd Street, debuting new temporary activation in the heart of the Roosevelt Row Arts District. Roosevelt Row CDC will program the building previously operated by Revolver Records, who left the location earlier this year to launch Mojave Coffee + Records at 4747 East Thomas Road. Roosevelt Row CDC will utilize the now vacant building to provide new arts-driven activities in the downtown Phoenix neighborhood.

“Since 2007, Roosevelt Row CDC has provided creative activation in the neighborhood, offering opportunities for artists to share and sell their work,” said Vermon Pierre, Board President of Roosevelt Row CDC and pastor of Roosevelt Church on 1st Street and Roosevelt. “We’re excited to embark on continued programming in a venue where more artists can connect and share their work with our community.”

The opportunity is being made possible through Arizona Public Service (APS) who recently acquired the property and who has been a long-time advocate of the arts and local nonprofits in Arizona and has offered a short-term lease to operate the space.

“Roosevelt Row CDC plays a pivotal role in sustaining and expanding the presence of the arts in downtown Phoenix,” said Kendra Lee, Roosevelt Row advisory board member and Area Manager at APS. “We are proud to support this organization that supports artists and fosters a vibrant and creative community in which to live, work, visit and play.”

Along with many changes taking place in the Roosevelt Row area, this move provides a physical location for the organization to operate its on-going activities, annual events and offer new services including Roosevelt Row Academy, a program supported in part through the City of Phoenix Office of Arts and Culture.

“I am so excited for our organization to have this additional physical presence in the heart of Roosevelt Row,” said Amy Otto, Programs Manager at Roosevelt Row CDC. “This new location will allow us to offer more programs where more people can connect and create together.”

Roosevelt Row CDC currently offers space to over 100 artists every First Friday to promote their own artwork. Since its inception more than thirty years ago, the monthly First Fridays event has been a driving force to connect arts to community through many collaborators working in partnership with Artlink Phoenix, Inc. One such nonprofit, XICO inc., has recently been presenting in the Roosevelt Row pop-up shipping container galleries. XICO will continue to program the container galleries following relocation to their next temporary location at 2nd Street and Roosevelt.  

“Having an on-going presence in Roosevelt Row has been invaluable for XICO and the artists we support,” said Donna Valdés, Executive Director of XICO inc. “The shipping container art gallery spaces have provided our Latinx and Indigenous artists access to new audiences, allowing them to further develop their creative practice. We are thrilled to continue to cultivate awareness and appreciation for the incredible creative work these artists produce and exhibit.”

To further support artists in the area, Roosevelt Row CDC will host their annual Solstice 2019 fundraiser tonight at 5:30 p.m. at the MonOrchid. The event is open to the public, with proceeds benefiting the Roosevelt Row Academy which pays artists to teach classes and workshops free to the public.

Tickets are available online at http://bitly.com/rrsolstice2019 or at the door.

There are many incredible small businesses that call Roosevelt Row home. Take Bicycle Nomad Café for example.

Bicycle Nomad was created by Erick Cedeño’s goal to bring together and inspire dreamers and riders. Bicycle Nomad Café recently celebrated their Re-Opening last Friday and is now open seven days a week from 8:00am-4:00pm (located at 2nd Street and Garfield Street).

Their offerings vary from vegan friendly sandwiches and burgers, smoothies and specialty coffee beverages. Stop in, say hello to some friendly faces and grab a coffee – or Your Morning Umbrella Drink!

Shelbe Hunsaker is a Phoenix-based freelance photographer with Roosevelt Row, who helps tell the visual creative story of the growing arts district.

Her vision is to show the unique personalities, beauty, and spirit of people through captured moments while
connecting them with their lives and the beauty of the Southwest.

Originally from a tiny town at the northeast corner of California, Shelbe was surrounded by the open spaces of
the high desert terrain where she cultivated a love for landscape photography. Her love for the art deepened was during frequent family visits to the Oregon coast where she would “borrow” her dad’s 35mm camera and take photos of the beached sea lions. As her passion for captured moments
grew, so did her subjects.

After graduating with a Public Relations and Mass Communication degree from a small liberal arts school in Missouri and a few months of intense job searching, Shelbe found herself packing up her little Kia Rio and heading out to Phoenix, Arizona… in the middle of July. After surviving her first Arizona summer and experiencing what she believed is the perfect winter season, Shelbe couldn’t help falling in love with the city.

As a fast-growing urban environment coupled with beautiful scenic views of the Sonoran Desert, Phoenix was the perfect place to reignite and cultivate her  love for photography. With a style that varies from the fast-paced movement of downtown to the slow, peaceful beauty of the desert landscape, Shelbe’s
work aims to capture the diversity of the Southwest and the desert dwellers that reside here.

 

Visit Shelbe’s website (www.shelbelynnphoto.com) to learn more about her work or follow @shelbehunsaker on Instagram.

The Wandering Tortoise in the Biltmore area, The Sleepy Whale in downtown Chandler, and now, the craft beer bar team will be opening The Theodore. The spot will occupy 110 East Roosevelt Street — next to The Nash — and start operations in mid to late summer of 2019.

The Theodore is named for 26th president and ultimate outdoorsman Teddy Roosevelt — who also happens to be the street’s namesake.

“We plan on drawing a lot of inspiration from Theodore in the build-out,” owner Justin Evans says.

He will be operating The Theodore along with Tony Fatica and Ryan Kemmet. Evans also owns The Wandering Tortoise and Hops On Birch in Flagstaff, as well as The Sleepy Whale, which opened on May 2. Yeah, only about four weeks ago.

“I wanted to be in the southeast Valley and downtown Phoenix, specifically Roosevelt Row,” Evans says. “Both opportunities presented themselves back to back, and with the time spent building the brand at Wandering Tortoise, we felt confident in doing two new concepts so close together.”

And much like the other establishments, The Theodore will keep the beer list tight. It’ll continue to source the best product with a big focus on the retail selection — as Evans puts it.

Another trending trait, The Theodore will be BYOF, or bring your own food.

“We are fortunate to have a lot of awesome local food spots around us — especially the chicken sandwich from Wilderness,” Evans says, referring to the also recently opened downtown Phoenix location pf Arizona Wilderness Brewing Co., and its AZ Hot Fried Chicken Sandwich.

One last fun thing. This team will be promoting The Theodore’s opening like a political campaign, using logos from Saywells Design in Tucson — and just in time for 2020.

For more information, follow the hashtag #voteforteddy.

___________________________________________

Lauren Cusimano, Phoenix New Times, PhoenixNewTimes.com, May 29th, 2019

(Original Post)

Welcome to Dining Guides, an intermittent series on the many dining hubs around the greater Phoenix area and what they have to offer. Breakfast to drinks, quick coffee to sit-down dining, we break down some of our favorite places in each neighborhood. Today, we want to zero in on Roosevelt Row.

Roosevelt Row has seen a lot of action in recent years. It was once that cool, janky part of town known for First Fridays, art spaces and galleries, shows at The Modified, and a bar or two. But now, it’s more or less a dining hub thanks to incoming taco and barbecue joints, ale houses, and dinner.

Here’s a quick guide on where to go when you find yourself in the Roosevelt Arts District, from coffee to something called the Moonlight Menu.

Jobot Coffee & Bar in Roosevelt Row. | John Chakravarty

Coffee

Jobot Coffee

333 East Roosevelt Street

Jobot may not be everyone’s cup of tea — partially because of the blaring punk or hardcore music that is typically playing or maybe because if you sit on the patio you might have to (gasp) talk to a homeless person — but boy, that patio kicks butt. Most coffeehouses in town have a couple of tables outside or don’t have anywhere to sit outdoors at all, so when the weather is actually nice, there’s no coffeehouse we’d rather haunt than Jobot with its ample out-front seating and insane open-all-night hours. That’s not to mention the incomparable people-watching, which yields an array of tattoos and piercings you may not have even known were possible.

Coffee, food, and stuff at Be Coffee. | Lauren Cusimano

Breakfast

Be Coffee
214 East Roosevelt Street
Open at 6 a.m. daily, Be Coffee is your go-to spot at the crack of dawn. This joe joint is housed inside the monOrchid gallery, so feel free to stroll past the art while waiting for your cup. The spicy cold brew comes highly recommended for an extra kick (or go with the spicy white chick with a topping of white chocolate ganache), or sip on a traditional latte if you would rather keep it classy. If your stomach is already growling, try the English ham and Muenster, a breakfast sandwich with scrambled eggs served on a griddled MJ muffin, or the Schreiner’s Spanish chorizo scramble. Be Coffee’s peanut butter chocolate chip cookie is sure to satisfy a sweet tooth, and the generous serving means that you will probably have leftovers for your trek through the city.

Daily Jam
888 North First Avenue
Whether you prefer OG waffles or their adventurous red velvet cousins, Daily Jam has the best in Arizona, according to the Food Network. Breakfast is served from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m., so don’t sweat it if you prefer to sleep in. Take your pick between simple items like yogurt and granola or oats and berries, variations on eggs Benedict, chilaquiles with fresh corn tortillas, lots of omelets, and sautes — sauteed potatoes topped with grilled vegetables and two “almost hard” fried eggs. If none of that sounds appealing, you can always BYOS — build your own sandwich — or slurp down a smoothie. The PB+J is a personal favorite, made with soy milk, blueberries, strawberries, and peanut butter.

These Philly crack wings from Trapp Haus may leave you addicted. | Chris Malloy

Lunch

Trapp Haus BBQ
511 East Roosevelt Street
This Roosevelt Row barbecue restaurant is a temple to originality. Murals and painted barbecue slang coat the walls. Aggressive flavors spring from meat. Proprietor Phil “the Grill” Johnson, who calls himself “the Jay-Z of barbecue,” attacks the process of seasoning with uncommon verve. Where many of the best metro Phoenix barbecue restaurants employ spices and sauces with restraint — with the goal of showcasing the meat’s nuances — Johnson dials up all flavors as highly as possible. A must try at Trapp Haus BBQ? The Philly Crack wings.

Taco Chelo
501 East Roosevelt Street
Set in the heart of Roosevelt Row, Taco Chelo is beautifully designed restaurant with a tailored menu of starters, tacos, veggies, and a slew of fun cocktails. It’s a collaboration between main chef Suny Santana, artist Gennaro Garcia, and restaurateur Aaron Chamberlin. It’s home to the famous chicharrones, sprinkled with chimayo chile and accompanied by sides of lime, guacamole, and Cholula sauce. Other lunch items include tacos, salads, and quesadillas.

Angels Trumpet Ale House has the snacks you seek. | Jim Louvau

Snack

Carly’s Bistro
128 East Roosevelt Street
Touting itself as Roosevelt Row’s favorite bistro, Carly’s is open during the week from 10:30 a.m. to midnight, and from 10 a.m. to midnight on Saturdays and Sundays. With funky artwork, local performers, diner vibes, and views of the city skyline, consider it your all-day spot. The menu offers appetizers like creamy jalapeño artichoke dip and chicken, cheese, or chorizo quesadillas, plus soups, salads, sandwiches, and desserts. There’s also a list of rotating draft and bottled craft beer and wine. Check its calendar for upcoming events like trivia night, jazz brunch, and a “buzzed spelling bee.” Count us in.

Angels Trumpet Ale House
810 North Second Street
This RoRo spot is known for three things — craft beer that can come from one of 31 taps, a breezy beer garden and patio section, and that food menu. We recommend the hot pretzel if you just want a snack. It’s a big golden brown pretzel with a dusting of chunk salt. And Angels Trumpet being the alehouse that it is, it serves its hot pretzel with warm beer cheese made with non other than Four Peaks Sunbru Kolsch and spicy Dijon mustard.

Grab some street food, a drink, and a joystick. | Benjamin Leatherman

BYOF

Cobra Arcade Bar
801 North Second Street, #100
Cobra Arcade Bar features 40 vintage arcade games, 14 beers on tap, and several arcade-themed cocktails like Krazy Kong and the Garbage Pail Kid. Customers are allowed to bring in their own food, especially from the food trucks and carts set up outside from 9 p.m. to 2 a.m. Thursday through Sunday. You can even order a pizza and have it delivered there whenever you want.

The patio at the new Arizona Wilderness Co. | Lauren Cusimano

Drinks

Arizona Wilderness Co.
201 East Roosevelt Street
The Arizona Wilderness Brewing Co. downtown Phoenix beer garden opened in early 2019 with the goal of being the living room of Roosevelt Row. Its biggest draw is the patio, covered with a sunshade and able to seat dozens and dozens of people. We’re talking 650 people. It’s also right against the street, so people watching can happen while sipping that Sonoran Prince or another fantastic beer, as well as Arizona wine and on-tap cocktails. There’s also food — upscale pub fare like burgers, salads, and fries — and an indoor seating area.

The Lost Leaf Bar and Gallery
914 North Fifth Street
This place can almost be considered a old haunt of Roosevelt Row (that’s a crack on all the new development). The folks behind The Lost Leaf are pretty sincere about their beer. The bohemian-style drinkery and gallery, housed in a vintage 1930s-era domicile, offers a selection of more than 100 different kinds of ales, lagers, stouts, and other intoxicating brews available by the bottle. If that isn’t enough to wet your whistle, the Lost Leaf also serves a host of wines, meads, and even sake, to boot.

JB Snyder mural on The Dressing Room in Roosevelt Row. | JB Snyder/Lynn Trimble

Dinner

The Dressing Room
214 East Roosevelt Street
Housed inside monOrchid, right next to Be Coffee on Roosevelt Row, The Dressing Room pays homage to the building’s former life as a a dressing room to one of the city’s first drag bars. If that doesn’t intrigue you, maybe an order of chorizo poutine or Korean pork belly fried rice will do the trick. It’s no wonder the food is so inventive and on-point; Executive chef Malone Deever cut his teeth at Arcadia favorite Beckett’s Table (before spending time in his native Charleston, South Carolina, to revamp many restaurants as chef de cuisine). This mini eatery has two dog-friendly patios and a full bar. Try the spiced chai with Puerto Rican rum, chai tea, and coconut milk. To end the experience on a sweet note, the restaurant’s churro ice cream sandwich with Tahitian vanilla bean ice cream is well worth the calories.

PAZ Cantina & Cafe
330 East Roosevelt Street
Chef Johanna Loarte has been back cooking Mexican favorites since fall 2018, as PAZ had to pause operations for some Roosevelt Row construction. But now, expect tortas, tacos, burritos, and salads on the menu, with staples like flautas and enchiladas are sprinkled in. You’ll find many of the usual suspects, like carne asada, chicken tinga, nopales, and barbacoa. Though the restaurant describes its food as “traditional Mexican,” there are modern touches: tight zigzags of crema, fries in one taco, a horchata cold brew.

As Roosevelt Row’s go-to dessert spot, Melt stocks flavors from several local ice cream makers. | Evie Carpenter

Dessert

Melt Ice Cream Shop
333 East Roosevelt Street
Located in Jobot in central Phoenix, this tiny ice cream shop sources its offerings from local producers including Karen’s Creamery & Udder Delights. As such you can expect a pretty diverse selection at Melt that can include anything from Fruity Pebbles and lemongrass poppyseed to beer and pretzels and chocolate rose pistachio. What might be an even bigger draw is Melt’s unexpected ice cream presentation: Your scoop will come in a tiny Chinese to-go container with a fortune cookie perched on top.

A martini at Bliss. | Lily Altavena

Late Night

Bliss / reBAR
901 North Fourth Street
Bliss Rebar is the ultimate late-night hangout. There’s liquor, a big airy patio, and the Moonlight Menu from 10 p.m. to midnight. There’s actual food like the Bliss Famous Mac and Cheese, burgers, sandwiches, and salads, plus quick snacks like chips and salsa, fried pickles, and those classic chicken tenders. Plus there’s a full bar, so you could just have some drinks. Last call for food is 11 p.m.

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Natasha Yee, New Times Staff , Phoenix New Times, PhoenixNewTimes.com, May 2nd, 2019

(Original Post)

Bursting with nearly 3,000 years of culture in the Pacific Islands, kava has brought people together for centuries. With the addition of Lacuna Kava Bar in downtown Phoenix on April 5, that culture can now be found just off of Roosevelt Row.

Derived from the root of the Piper Methysticum plant, which means “intoxicating or enchanting pepper,” kava is the national drink of Fiji and has been used in ceremonies for centuries. For Chase Brendle, owner of Lacuna Kava Bar, the plant-based drink offers a deeper and healthier form of human interaction.

“Island tribes have used it to achieve a higher level of consciousness throughout history, and here we use it as a social and recreational beverage to connect with other people,” Brendle said. “To me, it’s not just about owning one kava bar — it’s bringing the entire nation a choice in their health and how they connect with other people.”

Kava is known for its relaxing and meditative properties, and can sometimes cause mild numbing to the mouth or tongue. On its own kava tea has an earthy taste, and Lacuna Kava Bar offers a variety of mixed cocktails to give the traditional beverage a more mainstream and pleasant taste.

Along with kava, Lacuna Kava Bar will sell CBD tea among other brews, focusing on planet and body friendly, fair trade, sustainably sourced and mostly vegan foods. Prices will range from $6 to $10. Brendle said that using only “pronounceable” ingredients is a high priority.

In addition, Lacuna Kava Bar will offer another form of social vibrancy through its art exhibits on the first Friday of each month.

At its grand opening, the bar will give away one month of free kava and will host live music and live painting.

Paying homage to the building’s history, Brendle said that art is invaluable to Lacuna Kava Bar. Once an exhibit and later an Arizona State University art museum, the building, located one block south of Roosevelt on 3rd street, has been given new life through Lacuna Kava Bar.

“It was an art gallery, to begin with, the mural is still on the wall from the original owner of the building,” Brendle said. “It’s really cool to have something that each month is renewed and changed. It speaks to the context of what a kava bar is. It’s about growth, change, bringing new thought. Why not incorporate that on the walls as well?”

As the only kava bar in the state, Brendle said that he wants to bring a health-conscious and elevating alternative to the bar scenes of Phoenix.

“This is so different from anything people are accustomed to, especially in Western culture,” Brendle said. “We get so focused on what’s going around us that we often forget to stop and really enjoy the moments we spend connecting with others. “That’s what I really want people to experience when they come in.”

By definition, lacuna means a space, gap or hiatus, and Brendle said he wants Lacuna Kava Bar to provide people a sense of freedom and escape, an “urban oasis”, from mundane daily activities and city life.

The bar is open to anyone 18 or older and will host specials like “Thursday Heels and Deals” and “Tuesday Night Talks,” where artists, entrepreneurs and independent thinkers are encouraged to share ideas and services.

Lacuna Kava Bar will be open from 10 a.m. to 12 a.m.. Monday through Thursday and close at midnight on Friday and Saturday. The bar will close at 8 p.m. on Sunday with hours extending soon.

Once only drunk by the elite class in Pacific Island communities, kava is a symbol of welcome and social gatherings. In the wide sprawls of buildings and business life in downtown Phoenix, Brendle hopes to provide a social outlet untethered from the traditional bar scene.

http://www.lacunakavabar.com/

Contact
Lacuna Kava Bar
info@lacunakavabar.com
602-237-6158