Restaurants: Chris Bianco, Ocotillo, Shinbay All Have New Restaurant Plans

Article originally posted on on August 28, 2017

Though it seemed as though local restaurateurs were taking a breather from opening new spots in the Valley because of the restaurant boom and bubble, some of the Phoenix metro’s top people in dining have plans to open new spaces.

Pizza legend Chris Bianco is teaming up with Nadia Holguin and Armando Hernandez of Phoenix’s Tacos Chiwas to open a new restaurant near downtown Phoenix in the historic Roland’s Market building near Van Buren and 16th streets.

“Phoenix has all these cool buildings and unfortunately a lot of them get torn down, but the character of the building, with the concrete floors, the old tin ceilings, the sign’s really cool, I want to light that neon up again,” said Kevin Rille, landlord for Roland’s, which first opened in 1917. “We couldn’t have hoped for anyone better.”

Chef-owner Walter Sterling, chefs Sacha Levine and Alex Levine, beverage director David Johnson, and general manager Brad Twigg, who opened the popular Ocotillo in midtown Phoenix a few years ago, are now planning to open a barbecue joint in Scottsdale, called Starlite BBQ.

The new spot is scheduled to open this fall at 7620 East Indian School Road off the corner of Miller Road in Scottsdale, according to the Phoenix New Times.

Shinji Kurita, who ran Japanese fine-dining restaurant Shinbay until it closed last year, is now teaming up with Hyunwook Lee, who runs Sizzle Korean BBQ, to open a joint concept in Old Town Scottsdale at the southwest corner of Scottsdale Road and Second Street. Shinbay will take up 1,000 square feet and Sizzle will take up 3,000 square feet. The space is slated to open in early 2018, according to The Arizona Republic.

Starlite and the Shinbay/Sizzle space are opening in one of the most expensive submarkets of the Valley, where price per square foot runs around $30 on average. Phoenix isn’t so cheap, either, at around $20 on average, according to CBRE research from the second quarter. But all these restaurateurs have established a strong reputation, so there’s a good chance they’ll be able to afford those higher rents.