RadiatePHX is a non-traditional networking group that meets once a month to support smart growth in our emerging city. It is intended to be an informal and fun forum for connecting people, ideas and vision.
RadiatePHX meets on the last Tuesday of every month,from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.
It’s a beautiful time of year, and the Phoenix Convention Center will delight out-of-state visitors. DPJ extends its own form of hospitality by providing a little Conventional Wisdom — some insight into what Purina Mills expo-goers can find/view/sip/snack on while visiting Downtown Phoenix.
February 16-18, 2010 — Purina Mills, LLC
Let DPJ be the first to welcome you to the neighborhood! Looking over your itinerary, we can’t help but notice you’re going to have some free time to explore the heart of our fair city.
Average high: 77°
Average low: 52º
The Melrose District on 7th Avenue north of Indian School Road is 1-mile stretch rich with boutiques and eclectic restaurants, many of which welcome your furry friends and your pets. The Melrose District is a quick walk from the Central/Indian School METRO light rail station and from Steele Indian School Park. Qcumberz is an antique junkie’s paradise, but go with a searcher’s spirit. Each room is jam packed with furniture, books, artwork, knickknacks, cookware and beyond. Across the way is Paris Envy, a charming shop filled with French and French-inspired antique and reproduction household items. You’ll find lots of frill here, but substance, too. Other spots to check out are Flo’s on 7th, Retro Ranch, Hollywood Regency Vintage and Fig’s Home and Garden, just to name a few. For more on these shops, check out “Get Your Boutique On: Melrose”.
All that shopping is bound to work up a mighty appetite. Enter Harley’s Italian Bistro, a restaurant that has been a Phoenix tradition for nearly 60 years. The staff here will make you feel right at home, whether you are a regular or it’s your first visit. At Harley’s you will find generous portions of fresh, made-from-scratch sauces, pastas, hand-tossed pizza and homemade cannoli and tiramisu. Harley’s also has a small patio out back where pets are welcome to stay at your side.
If you’re craving lighter fare, directly across the way is Copper Star Coffee, a renovated gas station turned café, and self-proclaimed “Sandwich King of 7th Ave.” Here, enjoy an iced cappucino (yes, they make such a thing) with a side of free wi-fi on one of the many couches or community tables.
Phoenix dinner options span across many regions and continents, and locally grown dinner options are on the rise in Downtown Phoenix, with even more options if you hop on the METRO light rail.
Check out The Turf Irish Restaurant and Pub, where “there are no strangers, only friends you haven’t met.” Serving an array of cuisine, from classic Irish fare to steak sandwiches and handmade wraps, there’s something for every palate. Stay for a pint or two at the bar, at $5.50 a pour. Unwind after a long day at the conference by enjoying live music on Thursdays and Fridays.
RailLife.com’s quick METRO light rail tip: The light rail line splits heading south into one-way streets at Roosevelt station (Central/Roosevelt) — 1st Avenue heads south, while Central Avenue goes north. When the line heads east, you’ll be traveling along Jefferson Street. When going west, it’s Washington Street. These one-way streets converge at 26th Street. Check out a map if you’re confused.
Hidden behind an impressive metal door in what can easily be mistaken as another alley off Grand Avenue is the Rusty Spoke bike co-op. And, as the name implies, it’s all about bikes — but not the kind you find adorned with a bow on your birthday.
The co-op is based on a simple idea: Teach people how to fix or build bikes by themselves.
“We provide them with the tools and resources, with the parts and the knowledge that we have,” says Ben Toczek, one of the co-founders of Rusty Spoke.
The program gets some financial backing from Bike Saviours in Tempe, but is based almost entirely on donations. The shop has some bikes that are more or less complete, but the majority of the materials are old parts brought in by people – be it staff or interested residents.
“It’s definitely about recycling,” Toczek says.
The organization is entirely volunteer based. It began over a year ago when Toczek and co-founder Nathan Leach were inspired by bike co-ops like Bikes Saviours. Spawned from a mutual love for bikes, the two decided to embark on a similar endeavor in Phoenix. Later, Toczek’s girlfriend, Amy Stewart, came on board, and the idea became a reality.
“Bicycles are unique in Phoenix because it’s a really important form of transportation,” Leach says. “It’s empowering.”
He notes that bicycles are a particularly significant form of transportation for low-income families and the homeless population in Phoenix. These people might not necessarily have the money or time to spend at a bike shop, which is where Rusty Spoke steps in.
“It’s sustainable transportation. It promotes local community. It automatically has you doing things locally,” Leach says.
Zack Newsome, one of the co-founders of fractal, where the co-op is located, has a similar mindset.
“Phoenix is synonymous with the automobile,” Newsome says. “The majority of people who live here can’t imagine living without their cars. But, being so tied to our automobiles has an effect on the city and people we’re becoming. We’re isolated, alone and often bored in our suburban neighborhoods. The bicycle as a transportation option allows us to be more present in our city.”
The original Rusty Spoke was located in a house on 5th and Roosevelt streets. But, the space was less than ideal. All work was done outside, allowing for bikes and parts to rust.
Eventually, Toczek was approached by Newsome to move into the space. Rusty Spoke relocated, and has been there for about a month.
“Our nonprofit, communitasPHX, looked into starting a community bike shop a year or so ago, but before we could, we discovered that the Rusty Spoke was already doing it,” Newsome says. “Instead of starting our own version, it made way more sense to help their existing efforts. It was a pretty easy decision for us.”
Being Downtown in general allows Rusty Spoke to capitalize on the environmentally friendly, local-first movement that has swayed residents. But, it also promotes understanding and communication between the different types of people who call Downtown home.
“I’ve always told them that I love the vision of a hipster working on their fixed-gear bike alongside a homeless guy tinkering on his mountain bike,” Newsome continues. “I hope that this time spent with us at fractal will give their organization a shot in the arm to take what they do to new levels.”
Rusty Spoke is located at fractal, 1301 NW Grand Ave. It is open every Sunday from 12-6 p.m.
We *heart* Downtown Phoenix. Yep, we are embracing the cliche. And what better way to expound on the object of our affection, then to share the voices of DPJ. Read on for a few of our favorite things.
Note: Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will send you the list of destinations mentioned here in one handy guide.
Si Robins, DPJ Managing Editor
1. Grilled vegetable sandwiches at the Urban Grocery & Wine Bar
2. Urban kickball at Conspire
3. Free nights at the Phoenix Art Museum
4. Urban infill at Plus Minus Studio
5. Retro duds at R&R Surplus
6. Virtually any cocktail at SideBar
7. The sheer potential of a space like Fractal
8. Environmental friendliness at Civic Space Park
9. Live music at the Lost Leaf
10. Tammie Coe cookies
11. Cornhole at Local Breeze
12. Biking in Encanto
13. The buzz at Suns playoff games
14. The relaxed vibe of Third Fridays
Yuri Artibise, Staff Writer
1. Business meetings at Lola Downtown
2. Chatting up tourists on the Metro Light Rail
3. Co-working at Lux Coffeebar
4. Buying unique housewarming gifts at Frances
5. Lusting after jewelry by Heidi Abrahamson
6. Discussing ‘infill development’ at After Hours Gallery
7. Having breakfast for lunch at Matt’s Big Breakfast
8. Stretching out on the grass at Roosevelt Park (3rd Ave, south of Roosevelt)
9. Searching for ghosts at the Hotel San Carlos
10. Winding down with a cookie and coffee at Royal at the Market
11. Getting disoriented in James Turrell’s light sculpture “Mohl ip” at the Phoenix Art Museum
12. Participating in the Critical Mass bike ride
13. Noshing on chilquiles verdes at Gallo Blanco
14. Sampling the rotating tap at Roosevelt Tavern
Kenny Bump, “Sips & Grub” Blogger
1. First meal at Gallo Blanco in the Clarendon Hotel
2. Watching The Swell Season in the Orpheum Theatre
3. Roosevelt Tavern
4. Tuck Shop
5. Jimmy Eat World’s Secret show at Modified Arts
6. The PHX Brew Party hosted by communitas
7. The view of Downtown from the top of After Hours Creative
8. Phoenix Design Fair in the Anchor Building
9. Dear and the Headlights during Star Swim on top of the Wyndham
10. Playing my first gig at the musical opening of fractal
11. St. Francis
12. Lux Coffee
14. The first First Friday I attended and knew that I didn’t want to leave
Janessa Hilliard, DPJ Staff Writer
1. Paddle boating in Encanto Park
2. Tea at the Japanese Friendship Garden
3. The view from the top of South Mountain
4. A picnic in Civic Space Park
5. Spending a day lounging by the rooftop pool at Hotel San Carlos
6. Biking around Downtown
7. Taking a tour of the State Capitol. Can you name the five c’s of Arizona?
8. Matt’s Big Breakfast – Why cook breakfast the morning after when you can just go out for it? Almost always worth the wait.
9. Cibo — It’s like your neighborhood diner, except with an outside patio that’s oh-so-romantic.
10. Paisley Town — If you want a variety of shopping & great food at one adorable, cohesive location.
11. Sweets & Beats on Grand Avenue — If your sweet tooth needs satisfying while adding to your record collection.
12. Lost Leaf — If you love a low-key atmosphere where the conversation is stimulating and the music isn’t overpowering.
13. Tammie Coe Cakes — There is nothing more beautiful — or delicious! — than these amazing creations.
14. The Compass Room at the Hyatt — The rotating dining room view is totally worth it, if you’re willing to shell out a pretty penny.
Deona Smith, DPJ Staff Writer
1. Local Breeze – My place away from home where everybody knows my name! This is hands down the best patio to chill out at in Downtown Phoenix.
2. Civic Space Park — Whenever I need to get away, I walk to this park and enjoy the grass and view of the city.
3. The Willo District — Whenever you want to take a Sunday drive and check out some historical homes, this is my favorite place to do it.
4. Central Ave. — You might be thinking just Central Ave.? Yes, just Central Ave., I love driving down it to get home, the view of the city just over the bridge warms my heart.
5. Carly’s — Anytime I am craving smoked mozzarella I go to Carly’s for my favorite sandwich in town…The Europa. Just thinking about it makes my mouth water.
6. The Roosevelt Tavern — Warm, cozy and friendly… The Roosevelt is my favorite place for happy hour and the coldest beer on tap in the city.
7. Roosevelt Row — I live in the neighborhood, I can’t help but love it!
8. Bikini Lounge – Who doesn’t enjoy a great dive bar? Bikini is the place to be especially on a First Friday.
9. US Airways Center — Let’s face it, I am a Suns fan and love going to the games!
10. The Sheraton Hotel — Just this location in general is my favorite part of Downtown. I love the feel of “Downtown” and this makes me feel like I am in the heart of it.
11. The many locally owned coffee shops in Phoenix — From Fair Trade to Lux, each place offers a unique atmosphere plus great coffee and teas to be had!
12. Two Hippies — Beach House, Magic Mushroom Burgers, Pita House and Breakfast Joint, oh my! Great atmosphere at each location and awesome eats!
13. Heritage Square — It hosts the Matsuri Festival, one of my favorite yearly events. Not to mention, Rose and Crown and Pizzeria Bianco!
14. Burton Barr Central Library — The best library in Arizona. The architecture, the smell of a library, several quiet places to read and the helpful staff — the Phoenix library is simply awesome.
There is so much going on during First Friday on Grand Avenue that you may miss a thing or two. Oftentimes, it’s the little nooks and crannies of the galleries, warehouses, back yards and makeshift art lots that provide the best visitor experience. Here’s a thrilling roundup of all of Grand’s happenings for February First Friday.
Bragg’s Pie Factory (1301 NW Grand Ave.), home to Fractal, Modern Cat and several other cool spots, is showing an exhibit of paintings and sculpture by local artist Luis Gutierrez in its main room facing Grand.
It’s not often an artist from Upstate New York shows in Phoenix, so you know it’s going to be good. From 6 to 9 p.m., “City Scapes” by Peter Liepke will be shown at Tilt Gallery (919 W. Fillmore St.) Peter will be visiting for questions and conversation. His work has been featured in multiple publications, and he was recently nominated in the 2010 International Black & White Spider Awards.
Hungry yet? Valley Pizza (1348 W. Roosevelt St.) is offering a 14″ two-topping pizza and a whole pound of boneless buffalo wings for $20. Plus, they feature a pizza called The Monsoon, so how can you go wrong? Down the street at the Paisley Violin (1028 NW Grand Ave.), dinner and music is the theme of the night. Featured artist Tiffany Greer and jazz trio Crooning Avant Garde will be on hand, as well as music from indie/Americana vocalist Anjonette. Sapna Café (1301 NW Grand Ave.) is serving up its globespanning dishes throughout the evening (and it’s BYOB!)
On the corner of 15th Avenue, Bikini Lounge (1502 NW Grand Ave.) is always pouring drinks, Sweets & Beats (1504 NW Grand Ave.) dishes out, well, sweets and beats until 11 p.m. and Kooky Krafts (1500 NW Grand Ave.) has all kinds of kitchy trinkets — think tiki dolls, fish bowls, crafting supplies and more — until 10 p.m.
One of the better aspects of Grand has always been its eclectic mix of tunes, and this week is no exception. Boys and Frogs will be holding down the fort at the PHiX (1113 NW Grand Ave.) with its blend of tight, melodic rock. Phoenix Fall Space (1023 NW Grand Ave.) will have live jams by Midnight Workshop and art by Denise Fleisch and Jimi Girdner. And, Paisley Town, across the street in the back yard of the Paisley Violin, always has some sort of performance going on. Speaking of Paisley Town, Butter Toast boutique, one of several businesses in the space, will be open until 10:30 and is offering 10% off any customer that mentions the Grand Avenue Merchants Association. Stock up now!
For more information on Grand Avenue First Friday festivities, visit GrandAvePhoenix.com.