By Chelsea Young and Gabby Richman
The turning of the calendar into a new year often begs the question, “What will I do in the next 12 months?” That’s where we come in! We’ve done the digging, now you get to do the fun part. We’ve uncovered 65 new (or renewed) places set to open this year, spanning restaurants and bars to fitness studios and must-see attractions – plus those that opened in the last few months that you may have missed. Get ready to make the most of 2018!
The Art of Ice Cream Experience
An ultra-cool pop-up art exhibit focused on icy treats has arrived in Downtown Scottsdale. Full of hidden delights, The Art of Ice Cream Experience is a colorful playground of eight themed rooms that pay tribute to ice cream flavors and frozen goodies. Ice cream treats from local creameries are available for sampling, too. Purchase tickets online through Feb. 28.
Casa Amigos & Skylanes
Scottsdale’s entertainment district is getting a new hot spot – well, two-in-one to be exact.Housed inside the two-story space previously known as Livewire, Casa Amigos will transform the first floor into a stylish Mexican restaurant and lounge, while upstairs, Skylanes will be a boutique bowling alley featuring bottle service and high-energy music late into the night.
Desert Stages Theatre
In mid-2017, Desert Stages Theatre moved from its decade-long home into Scottsdale Fashion Square. After an extensive renovation, the original Harkins movie theater was transformed into a performing arts center that offers theatrical training and performing opportunities to aspiring young actors, while providing patrons with larger theaters and more shows.
After three years in the making, The Lyceum, meaning “gathering place,” is expected to open this February. Located in the Melrose District at 7th and Montecito avenues, the park is a project of local nonprofit organization Community Alliance of Seventh Avenue, Clear Channel Outdoor (who donated the property that will house The Lyceum), and City of Phoenix Parks Department. The soon-to-be local hangout will include shaded areas, ample seating, low-water trees and plants, lighting, a stage, bike racks, and plenty of space to mingle.
Pangaea Land of the Dinosaurs
Take a step back millions of years ago to when dinosaurs ruled the earth at this interactive exhibit and educational center located at Scottsdale’s OdySea in the Desert complex. With more than 50 life-sized animatronic dinosaurs and true-to-life recreations of prehistoric habitats, Pangaea transports guests back to the age of the dinosaurs. Enjoy face painting, fossil digging, educational explorations, and even dinosaur go-kart rides.
Phoenix Indian School Visitor Center
Found in a renovated historic building at Phoenix’s Steele Indian School Park, this once-Native American school campus showcases a piece of the past. Featuring a gallery with rotating exhibits, a conference room, a board room, a classroom, and a commercial kitchen, the center is currently open by appointment and available to rent for private events.
Just east of North Scottsdale, the Verde River Golf & Social Club is opening a new full-service day spa this month. While the club is exclusively for members, the spa will be open to the public, offering massages, hair and nail treatments, and naturopathic services that incorporate the natural, local surroundings.
Desert Mountain Sonoran Spa
Ranked among the top private clubs in the nation, Desert Mountain finished a $12 million renovation to its Sonoran Spa late last year. Upgrades and new services at the Scottsdale facility include additional exercise rooms for fitness activities; a youth activities center; expanded food service; and additions to its spa, salon and massage areas.
The Drip Room: A Vitamin Bar
For those seeking to stimulate their health and wellness, The Drip Room recently opened a second Valley location at The Colony, delivering services including a variety of IV vitamin drips.
In December, Drybar opened its third Valley location at Lincoln Plaza, specializing in blowouts in a sleek, sophisticated space. A fourth location is set to open at The Phoenician this spring.
Herbal Nails & Spa
Located at Arcadia Gateway Shopping Center, this salon offers pedicures and manicures with luxurious upgrades including organic ingredients, a hot stone massage and paraffin hot wax.
Projected to be completed by the end of this year, this hotel and dining destination will be housed inside a pair of architecturally significant yet long-neglected midcentury modern mid-rises located at the intersection of Central Avenue and Camelback Road. Totaling just over 2 acres and 45,000 square feet, the property will have 79 rooms and also host a coffee shop, poolside taco bar, gourmet ice creamery, and rooftop craft cocktail bar.
Hotel Adeline is a stylish new boutique hotel opening in Old Town Scottsdale this month. The contemporary retreat will offer 213 guestrooms including five spacious king suites, a Mediterranean-American restaurant and lounge, a fast-casual breakfast and lunch cafe with a late-night grab ‘n’ go bar, a fitness center, a lively pool scene and pool bar, and private event space.
Mountain Shadows Condominiums
The developers of Sanctuary on Camelback Mountain and Hotel Valley Ho reopened Mountain Shadows in April 2017, revealing an upscale 1950s modernism aesthetic. With 42 condominiums and suites, the resort’s luxury wing is designed for people seeking “lock and leave” resort-style living and completed the property in December.
Over the past two years The Phoenician has undergone an extensive, multimillion-dollar refurbishment including redesigns of the guest rooms, casitas, The Canyon Suites, the main lobby, and select dining areas. New to the resort are Mowry & Cotton, a laidback American eatery that opened in October; Accents, a collection of shops that debuted in December; and a kids zone at the redesigned center pool that also opened last month. Debuting in 2018 will be a brand-new, three-story spa (spring), a state-of-the-art athletic club (spring), and a redesigned and rerouted golf club (fall).
The Ritz-Carlton, Paradise Valley
The Ritz-Carlton, Paradise Valley master-planned community will span 122 acres and will include a 200-room Ritz-Carlton resort surrounded by 80 single-level Villas and 39 single-family Estate Homes. The Villas and Estate Homes will be whole-ownership and Ritz-Carlton branded with services including a dedicated concierge, priority access to resort amenities, and services such as in-residence dining and housekeeping. The 20-acre Ritz-Carlton resort will boast North America’s longest resort pool at just over 400 feet, a 14,000-square-foot spa, a health and fitness center, indoor and outdoor meeting and event spaces, a citrus orchard, an herb garden, lush walking paths, and a grand lawn with stunning views of Camelback Mountain. It’s all set to open by the end of the year.
Royal Palms Resort and Spa
This iconic, nearly century-old Mediterranean-style hideaway unveiled a new look last November including a revival of all 119 guest rooms and the Presidential Suite with earth tones, rich wood architectural elements, new artwork, wood flooring and eclectic furnishings. Additional renovation highlights include Spanish hacienda-inspired corridor walkways, an updated mother-of-pearl swimming pool and lounge area, and new landscaping, including 200 towering palms across the 9-acre property.
The resort formerly known as FireSky has been revamped and reopened as The Scott Resort & Spa this past fall thanks to new ownership. Near Old Town Scottsdale, it has completed phase one of a $15 million renovation (phase two is set for completion in the fall) that updated the pool area, lobby lounge, restaurant, bar and several model rooms.
Athletic gear powerhouse Athleta found a new home at The Shops at Town & Country last September, selling active and sporty clothing, shoes and accessories for women and girls.
Renowned Chicago-based interior and furnishings designer and top-selling author Julia Buckingham opened her first standalone retail shop at Uptown Plaza last month. Blurring the lines between modern and antique, the 1,900-square-foot space carries items from different genres and eras as well as Buckingham’s own custom-designed furnishings and accessories line.
It’s hard to miss the huge new auto complex along Loop 101 just south of Indian School Road. Opened in late 2017, Scottsdale AutoShow is a 70-acre automotive retail development located on the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community. It is the first master-planned auto park in the last six years and the first one on tribal lands in the U.S. Current tenants include Courtesy Volvo and Chapman Automotive Group's Chrysler, Jeep, Dodge, Ram, Ford, and Volkswagen dealerships.
Tal Barkel Designs
Tal Barkel Designs, a local jeweler offering handcrafted, one-of-a-kind and custom pieces, is opening his first jewelry lounge and showroom this month. Located in Scottsdale’s Camelback Towers, it will offer a luxurious meeting space for customers to meet and collaborate with the designer.
This national fitness chain has made its way to Central Phoenix with yoga classes that range in challenge, flow and style designed to build strength, ignite intent, and concentrate on building a powerful – you guessed it – core.
Sweatshop on Central
The name says it all – get ready to sweat! As of last December, this Uptown Plaza tenant offers barre, spin and yoga classes in a state-of-the-art, eco-friendly space.
Set to open by early January near Kierland Commons, TruFusion is a cutting-edge group fitness studio offering 65 different class styles and 240 classes per week. Across its five exercise rooms, TruFusion will feature a blend of heated and non-heated yoga, cycling, Pilates, kettlebell, barre, boot camp, boxing and other classes.
As one of the latest additions to South Scottsdale’s burgeoning scene, Bitters is a bar focused on all things bitters. Located at ASU SkySong, it features craft, small-batch production spirits; thoughtfully curated wine and beer lists; and cocktails with clever drink names using the restaurant’s moniker as inspiration.
The Casual Pint
Craft beer loves, rejoice! This recently opened Central Phoenix market and bar (which also has a location in Chandler and quite a few out of state) features 35 beers on tap, carries over 300 beer varieties in its market, and sells lots of fun beer-focused products, from dog beer to beer candles, soap, hot sauce, and candy. On the food front, enjoy pub grub like beer-infused tenders and Bavarian pretzels served with beer cheese.
Veteran-owned and -operated, Cider Corps began as a hobby for two brothers and has now developed into Arizona’s first fully dedicated cidery and taproom. Cider Corps released its first two ciders in September 2017, which are available at select Phoenix bars and restaurants. With a projected opening date of Jan. 9, it will be located in downtown Mesa, in an 1800s-era building that was once the Mesa police station.
The Gym Sports Bar & Grill
Get your reps in – or maybe just relax, watch sports and enjoy some food and drinks – at this North Phoenix hangout, boasting 33 TVs; $2 domestic bottled beer daily; and a large breakfast, lunch and dinner menu featuring bar eats.
High Bar at Modern Grove Views
Scottsdale's latest place to grab a drink at the OdySea of the Desert complex is High Bar, which opened in November above the eatery Modern Grove Views. The bar serves up bruschetta, wine, cocktails and amazing mountain views. Plus, High Bar actually overlooks Dolphinaris so you can see the dolphins swimming in their pools below.
The Sunnyslope area’s newest bar features a biker-friendly, open-road theme with a neighborhood vibe, and has been dubbed a “weekend warrior stop” for those looking to enjoy a drink in a relaxed, comfortable environment.
The October opening of Press in the Biltmore Center II building marks its seventh Valley location, serving Press’ award-winning espresso drinks, pour overs and cold brew as well as hosting its popular “Coffee 101” one-hour tasting class every Saturday. A location in Old Town Scottsdale is slated to open later this year.
Scheduled to open in the spring, the third Valley location of this local breakfast hot spot, located at Arcadia Gateway Shopping Center, will have a bigger version of its famous build-your-own bloody mary bar as well as a new look and feel reminiscent of the Hamptons.
Featured on the Food Network and in Bon Appétit magazine, this nationally recognized breakfast joint opened in the Biltmore Center II building last year and will add a new Paradise Valley location this month. Serving breakfast and lunch, options range from health-centric – like a quinoa protein bowl – to more indulgent, Guy Fieri-approved offerings such as the Waffle Dog (sausage links wrapped in a vanilla waffle).
Scramble, a breakfast and lunch joint
The Biltmore Corridor will gain a new fast-casual breakfast and lunch spot in early February, offering the eatery’s signature favorites including the popular “brizza” or breakfast pizza, French toast, breakfast burritos, and vegan specialties. New additions include a dog-friendly patio, beer, wine, and select specialty cocktails such as mimosas and bloody marys.
d’Lite Healthy On The Go
This restaurant uses high-quality, nutritious products delievered with convenience (there is even a drive-thru!). The Arcadia location, which opened last November, joins a location in Tempe and two in Scottsdale, with a third one on Camelback Road and Miller in the works. Must-order menu items include the Breakfast Buzz (caffeine boost-meets-protein shake) and the California club breakfast sandwich.
Farm & Craft
This month, The Colony in Central Phoenix will welcome this health-conscious eatery, known for its innovative wellness menu that offers breakfast, lunch and dinner options aimed for reducing inflammation, increasing probiotic levels, boosting antioxidant intake and minimizing overall stress.
Flower Child will open its fourth Valley location in the spring at Desert Ridge Marketplace. The healthy haunt is known for its sustainable practices – produce used is guided by the wisdom of the Environmental Working Group, and proteins are naturally and humanely raised without additives. Plus, the menu is very vegetarian-, vegan- and gluten-friendly.
Wholesome, flavorful, made-from-scratch food is at the core of this fast-casual restaurant, offering a menu packed with acai, pitaya and protein bowls; fresh-squeezed juices; protein shakes; salads and sandwiches. The Paradise Valley location opened in November, with North Scottsdale scheduled to open next month and Arcadia set for June.
Owned and operated by a mother-daughter team, the Central Phoenix Pomegranate Cafe will be the second location (the first being in Ahwatukee) for the organic, vegan and vegetarian destination. Set to open late this month, the cafe will offer a made-from-scratch menu including its famous housemade POM Milk (made of nuts), organic vegan pastries and inventive entrees.
Arcadia Meat Market
This modern take on the classic corner butcher shop offers natural, free-range, pasture-raised, hand-cut meats on-site. Opening this month in Arcadia, it will carry grass-fed beef and lamb; pasture-raised pork; and free-range organic chicken, eggs and more. The market will also sell grab-and-go meals, housemade bone broths, frozen goods, seasonings, wine, charcuterie, and locally grown micro-greens, with plans to offer cold-pressed juices in the future.
Luci’s at the Grove
Luci’s at the Grove in Scottsdale is set to open in October and is the newest addition to Luci’s Urban Concepts, whose other restaurants include Luci’s Healthy Marketplace, Luci’s at the Orchard, Splurge at the Orchard, and Pomelo at the Orchard. The new 4,100-square-foot project will be the brand’s first venture into Scottsdale and will serve a variety of food and drink options, including breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Tempe Public Market Café
Set to open early this year, Tempe Public Market Café will be a casual, urban hangout – from the same people behind Phoenix Public Market – serving fresh market cuisine crafted with local, seasonal ingredients for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
As of September, poke – one of the biggest culinary trends in the country – is now being served at the Camelback Colonnade. Ahipoki Bowl’s make-your-own concept allows customers to select from a variety of sushi-grade fish along with exotic toppings, veggies and sauce to accompany it over a bed of rice.
Meaning “far from home,” Glai Baan – which opened last September – allows Phoenicians to explore the dynamic flavors of Thai comfort food. The Downtown Phoenix restaurant offers street vendor favorites native to Thailand as well as wine, beer and craft cocktails.
Koi Poke is all about the love of poke; in fact, koi means love in Japanese. Founded by a group of entrepreneurs, Koi Poke is on the fast-track with 12 new places in the works. It’s already open at DC Ranch, with Arcadia, Gainey Village and the Scottsdale Waterfront up next. Awarded Phoenix Magazine’s 2017 Best of the Valley, the “boat to bowl” concept features fresh, high-quality fish; a variety of organic toppings; and eight chef-prepared sauces (seven of which are gluten-free).
Sasaki Sushi & Bar
Tucked near Scottsdale Civic Center Mall, Sasaki Sushi & Bar serves up artfully plated sushi – think rolls presented in large ice bowls or within a photo-worthy ice chamber and adorned with edible flowers. The eatery also offers poke bowls, traditional Japanese appetizers, chef’s specials, and creative desserts.
ShinBay/Sizzle Korean Barbecue
With a projected opening date of May, this joint venture will combine Sizzle Korean Barbecue (which has another location at Desert Ridge Marketplace) with ShinBay, a beloved Scottsdale staple that is reopening. Though located at the same venue, they will be two distinct restaurants. The new Sizzle will continue its tradition of a Korean barbecue experience with a grill at every table. The return of ShinBay will bring back acclaimed chef Shinji Kurita in a 15-seat counter eatery where Kurita will focus on his famed omakase (chef’s tasting menu).
Barrio Queen opened its third Valley location at the end of 2017 at Desert Ridge Marketplace. The indoor-outdoor space was specially designed by an artist, featuring an outdoor lounge, an open kitchen, a private tequila tasting room, and artwork from local and Mexican artists. There will even be a trompo (a rotating vertical spit) for al pastor, and diners can watch tortillas being made from scratch.
Cien Agaves Tacos & Tequila
Get your taco and tequila fix at Cien Agaves’ second location in Desert Ridge, which opened in December next to Harkins Cine Capri. The Old Town Scottsdale staple is bringing its 10-year reign to a new 4,800-square-foot space, which has 27 high-definition TVs, patio seating with a fire pit, lounge seating, and bar windows that open to the outside. Be sure to check out the daily happy hour from 3 to 7 p.m.
Gadzooks Enchiladas & Soups
This established Phoenix foodie favorite (which recently started serving breakfast) opened a second location at 40th Street and Camelback Road at the end of last year, where guests can create their enchilada order from the restaurant’s infinitely customizable menu.
Valley restaurateur Aaron Chamberlin, local chef Suny Santana (St. Francis), and well-known Phoenix-based artist Gennaro Garcia will open their collaborative Mexican restaurant at The Blocks of Roosevelt Row in Downtown Phoenix this month. Santana will make masa in-house and patrons can expect a menu featuring about nine items (mostly tacos) as well as a full bar.
Opened in November and inspired by late owner Woody Johnson’s original concept, this midtown locale serves up the same family Mexican recipes used over the last 70 years, with some new items added to the menu. The venue is designed with reused and refurbished pieces from other Macayo locations along with a hand-painted mural named La Marea, or The Tide, created by local artists Lucinda Yrene and Mata Ruda.
Blaze Pizza is a modern-day pizza joint known for its custom-built pizzas (in just 180 seconds) as well as for its interactive open-kitchen format that allows guests to customize one of the menu’s signature pizzas or create their own, choosing from a wide selection of carefully sourced, high-quality ingredients – all for around $8.
The wood-fired pizzeria reopened in its new location across the street from Phoenix Art Museum last September, serving its famous thin-crust pizzas as well as handmade pastas.
The legendary Chicago deep-dish pizzeria – which already has one eatery at Uptown Plaza – recently opened a carryout, delivery and catering location in Arcadia late last year, with plans for a third (full-service) restaurant at North Scottsdale’s Chauncey Lane development set to open this summer.
Opened in a remodeled Downtown Phoenix bungalow last November, this wood-fired eatery blends Mediterranean and South American flavors on its menu, which changes daily, and is divided into tapas, schiacciata (Tuscan flat breads) and entrees.
This quaint South Scottsdale pizzeria opened in November offering an eclectic menu for breakfast, weekend brunch, lunch and dinner. You’ll find Italian staples like pizza and pasta intermingled with coal-fired burgers and surf-and-turf at dinner. Brunch delivers lobster mac and cheese, a short rib burrito, and even a filet and waffle combo. Bonus: The patio is dog-friendly.
The Sicilian Butcher
The Sicilian Butcher is a butchery-inspired concept from the folks behind Tomaso’s Italian Restaurant. Opened in November, the Sicilian-influenced venue specializes in hand-rolled craft meatballs (they have 15 varieties), classic sauces, fresh-made pastas, butcher-style charcuterie, Sicilian wine, and craft cocktails.
Bobby-Q Great Steaks & Real BBQ!
The recently opened Bobby-Q Biltmore location – located on the corner of Camelback Road and 32nd Street – is just as finger-lickin’ good as the first two Valley locations, with signature wood-smoked meats, farm-fresh salads, sandwiches, tasty sides and craft cocktails in a rustic, comfortable atmosphere.
the larder + the delta
Expected to open in Downtown Phoenix in the spring, this standalone full-service restaurant, which was previously a counter in DeSoto Central Market, will give diners all the Southern feels, from its front porch vibe to familiar down-home dishes and specialty veggies served.
The team behind Ocotillo is launching a new venture focused on barbecue later this year. Located in Downtown Scottsdale, Starlite BBQ will be a dinner-only destination, serving smoked meats that pair local flavors with tried-and-true barbecue traditions.
Cold Beers & Cheeseburgers
This neighborhood burger joint (and sports fan favorite) brought its popular juicy burgers, indulgent sides and vast beer selection to the Arcadia area last month, located in the newly developed plaza at the corner of Indian School Road and 40th Street.
Lincoln, A JW Restaurant
The JW Marriott Scottsdale Camelback Inn Resort & Spa recently revamped its main eatery into a sizzling new steakhouse. The menu spans prime cuts of meat, sustainably sourced fish, plenty of sides (especially on the potato front), and a must-try seafood tower.
Needle Rock Kitchen & Tap
Part of Verde River Golf & Social Club’s new additions this month is a fresh eatery that’s perfect for taking in the surrounding view – there are floor-to-ceiling glass doors, plus an outdoor patio overlooking the golf course and Mazatzal Mountains. Open to the public, the menu will feature shareable plates, wood-fired pizzas and seasonal dishes.