Nikki Buchanan, Author at PHOENIX magazine

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Rancho Pinot staff | Photo by Nikki Buchanan   What if your favorite restaurant — your pre-pandemic go-to and home-away-from-home, the place where you celebrated birthdays, had a preferred seat at the bar, knew the servers by name and often received a hug when you came and went — was closing? You’d be heartbroken, right? Well, that’s me. Heartbroken. Because chef-owner Chrysa Robertson has decided it’s time to close her beloved, our beloved, Rancho Pinot....

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Tostada de Pescado | Photo by Nikki Buchanan   I’ve never actually counted, but I’m going to hazard a guess that metro Phoenix has more Mexican seafood restaurants than American-style seafood restaurants, which is a plus if you’re more interested in great, reasonably priced seafood than, say, la-di-da décor. El Heroico Guaymas, which opened in Peoria last December, is the newest of these no-frills, no-BS spots and based on a terrific lunch I had there...

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Sick of the pandemic? Ready to party? No, not like the idiots on spring break in Florida and Texas but in a responsible, socially distanced sort of way? Well, so is chef and “local-boy-makes-good” Aaron May, and he’s throwing his own outlandish outdoor bash called Aaron May’s Big Boy Cook Club Cookout on Sunday, April 25th from 2-7 p.m. at Walter Sterling’s Ocotillo Restaurant in Central Phoenix, which will strictly adhere to CDC guidelines for...

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Photo by Nikki Buchanan    As the pandemic drags on, resourceful chefs and restaurateurs are opening ghost kitchens (delivery-only restaurants) at a clip this year, and Food Network star Guy Fieri, host of Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives, is right there riding the trend. In recent months, the spiky-haired, red Camaro-driving reality TV icon has launched Guy Fieri’s Flavortown Kitchen in 26 states, opening three virtual operations within Bucca di Beppo restaurants here in metro Phoenix...

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Beaut Burger exterior | Photo by Nikki Buchanan   Everyone gets a hankering for a burger now and then — even vegetarians and vegans — which is the beauty of Beaut Burger, a Tucson-based vegan burger joint so successful that it’s recently opened a second location here in Phoenix. Housed in a crisp-looking refurbished shipping container on Indian School just east of 32nd Street, BB makes almost all of its fresh, plant-based food in-house —...

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You probably won’t be a bit surprised when I tell you that Alison Anderson, the wife of coffee connoisseur Dave Anderson of the Roastery of Cave Creek (which sells coffee to many of the city’s best restaurants), has coffee in her blood — not to mention her bloodstream. Although she’s always had her own career, Anderson has traipsed around the globe with her bean-obsessed husband for years now, sniffing out the best organic coffees from...

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Great news for Downtown dwellers and the avant-garde peeps who appreciate Grand Avenue for its quirky coolness. Rene Andrade, the Nogales-born chef who garnered a following at Ghost Ranch, is opening his own Grand Avenue restaurant today in the tiny sunlit space that most recently housed Silvana Salcido Esparza’s Barrio Café Gran Reserva – and years before that, the historical Bragg’s Pie Factory and Bragg’s Pie Factory Diner. Andrade is calling his pie wedge-shaped place Bacanora, name-checking the little-known and underrated mezcal produced...

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It’s her third day as proprietor of Hot Daisy Pizza, and Tammie Coe — the classically trained pastry chef famous for ooey-gooey cupcakes, big cookies and whimsical fondant-covered cakes — seems to be having fun in her new role as pie slinger. At 3:30 in the afternoon, her tiny Roosevelt Row shop (formerly known as Tammie Coe Cakes) enjoys a steady stream of curious neighborhood customers, eager to try a slice of pepperoni or margherita...

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We’ve lost so many restaurants to COVID-19 this past year — Amuse Bouche, Barrio Gran Reserva, Delux, El Zocalo, Josephine, La Marquesa, La Piazza al Forno, Phoenix Public Market Café, Razz’s, Sierra Bonita, The Dressing Room and Yasu Sushi Bistro, to name a noteworthy dozen — and just as is true with the virus itself, the devastation is nowhere near over. Brace yourself for more fallout because the next to go is Cotton & Copper,...

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Chadwick Price and mixology ninja Blaise Faber (best loved for his brilliant cocktails at Tratto) have teamed up to open this sweetheart of an all-day restaurant parked at the front end of Modern Manor, Ryan Durkin’s mid-century modern furniture store in the Melrose District. Chef Donald Hawk (the guy who started The Gladly’s popular raw bar program) oversees the menu and kitchen, which turns out exceptional baked goods, breakfast dishes, snacks, burgers, small plates, coffee...

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Peter Kasperski, the crazy-creative Scottsdale restaurateur behind dearly departed Cowboy Ciao, Sea Saw, Digestif, Kazimierz World Wine Bar and Counter Intuitive, partners with longtime friend, former employee and inventive master barman Richie Moe to open Roosevelt Row’s most sophisticated restaurant and bar to date (Speakeasy Alias, which sits behind Character, hasn’t opened yet, but it’s almost ready to rock). I popped in to see how Kasperski, an Old Town Scottsdale boy since his salad days...

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