Peach Truck Coming To South Tempe

A peach truck? Yeah, there’s a peach truck coming to South Tempe…

Here’s the deal.

The Tempe Public Market Cafe will soon begin hosting the Amadio Ranch Peach Truck on Fridays from 3:30-6:30pm.

Amadio Ranch is a family-owned and operated farm in Laveen where they grow organic fruits and vegetables. Beginning June 29th, 2018, they’ll be selling their produce, fresh eggs, local honey, homemade pies and more at the Cafe. Being a fan of locally owned goodness, Chef Aaron Chamberlain tells us that he is excited to be able to bring more local foods to the South Tempe ‘hood!

Sounds good to me, too!

Amadio Ranch Peach Truck Tempe

Amadio Ranch Peach Truck is a healthy Food Truck traveling to various parts of Phoenix selling fresh fruits and veggies grown at Amadio Ranch. – via the Amadio Ranch Facebook page

More Than A Peach Truck:

So, why in the heck is there a peach truck coming to South Tempe? Yeah, that’s what I asked myself, too. Once I found out that it is more of a mini rolling Farmer’s Market, it started to make more sense. Sure, I like peaches, but I’m glad to hear that we’ll have other options, as well. 🙂

Here’s some more information we found on their Facebook Events page:

The Amadio Ranch peach farm now has their mobile peach trucks in south Tempe! Join us every Friday afternoon from 3:30-6:30pm and grab one of our famous made from scratch farm pies, a jar or two of local raw honeys, or some jams/pickles. And of course the best of our seasonal organic produce grown right here on our south mountain farm.”

**Added bonus: Happy Hour is from 4-6pm at the Cafe. AND, they have one of the best kids menus on the planet! Come check all of it out!

Remember how much so many of us enjoyed the Farmer’s Market at McClintock and Warner a couple of years ago? I was bummed when that closed. Maybe this new addition to the neighborhood will be a catalyst for more to come? Either way, I hope to see you there. Come on out and welcome Amadio Ranch to the neighborhood!


South Tempe Style

Redefining The Greatest Show On Grass

You have all heard of the greatest show on grass, right? Some say it is a golf tournament happening this week at the TPC, but I might argue that it happened this past weekend at Ed and Heidi Baker’s home in Tempe, AZ.

Their 9th annual charity Bocce Ball Tournament raised more than $14,000 for the Tempe Community Action Agency on Saturday, bringing the total amount raised at this private backyard event to over $57,000 in the past 9 years!

Ed and Heidi’s Charity Bocce Tournament is a private fundraiser held annually on the last Saturday in January to benefit Tempe Community Action Agency.

Greatest show on grass

See the photo below? It is a group shot that was taken by Agnes Art & Photo just before the first round of the bocce ball tournament began.

64 teams and more than 130 people gathered together for the chance to be called the 2018 TCAA Bocce Ball Champions.

From there, some pretty amazing things happened. New friendships were made, old friendships were celebrated, people ate food together, drank beer, wine, coffee, and soda together, talked to strangers, had fun and were happy to be sharing the common goal of helping the TCAA do more great things in our community.

You know what was noticeably missing from most of the day? People staring at their phones and scrolling through random crap while not being in the moment.

It was as if we actually went back to a time where being nice to strangers was ok. It was an awesome few hours. Want to talk about the greatest show on grass? This was it for a Saturday afternoon in Tempe, AZ.

greatest show on grass Tempe AZ

Photo by Agnes Art & Photo

Proud to be one of many winners of the day:

This was the first year that my friend Jack and I attended Ed’s TCAA bocce tournament. Of course we had heard of the the event in the past, so when the opportunity arose for us to be able to attend, we gladly and quickly registered to do so. (The event quickly “sells out” each year.)

Once I had us registered and our spots secure, I remember jokingly telling Jack that we “might as well go win this thing!”

When we got to the event, Jack and I talked about the real possibility of being beat in the first round as we had never played the game. Our thought process was to enjoy the day, have fun with some friends and just go with the flow.

We did succeed at having fun, but, as LUCK would have it, we kept winning. We ended up playing people who were having as much (maybe even more?) fun than we were, and we even played a couple of people that seemed to take this thing pretty seriously.

Miraculously, at the end of the tournament, two rookies were the last ones standing. And miraculously, those two rookies took home the 2018 #bocce9 tournament trophy! We will proudly hold on to the trophy until next year, when we return to try to keep the cup!

While I’ll never know what it’s like to win a Green Jacket or to help win the Territorial Cup, I’m pretty sure I’ll always remember the day when two jokers beat some really long odds to come home with the trophy for the 9th edition of the annual Bocce Ball Tournament benefiting the Tempe Community Action Agency.

For us, it really was our own version of the greatest show on grass…


**Like many great events, this wouldn’t be nearly as successful without volunteers, community partners and event sponsors. BIG thanks to Even Stevens for bringing sandwiches and salads, as well as D’Electables Cupcakes, Doc’s Artisan Ice Creams, Cartel Coffee, Action Wine, Flagstaff Extreme Adventure and more!

Historic Hayden Flour Mill Coming Back To Life

The historic Hayden Flour Mill has been a Tempe landmark since the 1800s. For years, we have heard of plans to revitalize the old Mill, and it finally looks like there is a plan in place to transform this Tempe treasure into a mixed use commercial development that will allow the old silos to continue watching over our city for many years to come.

On December 14th, the city council approved a zoning change that allows the re-zoning and leaseback of land that should be one of the last hurdles to allow this deal to happen.

Basically, Tempe is leasing the land to a development group made up of Aparium Hotel Group, Baum Revision and BlueRoad Ventures, all of which are based out of Chicago. According to multiple sources, this is the same development group that has been sniffing around Mill Avenue for quite some time. They have wanted to develop this property and have apparently found some cash under the pillow of Dick Portillo of Portillo’s restaurant fame, which allows them to make the deal a reality.

We take everything that makes a city great—its history, heart, and utility; its passion, tragedy, and soul—and boldly bring them together into one extraordinary piece of the cultural puzzle. – Aparium Hotel Group.

We’ll be seeing a mixed-used project with restaurant and retail space, as well as some super-cool offices. The second phase of the project will include the boutique hotel by the Aparium Hotels group. Construction on phase one could start as early as March, with a completion date of summer 2019. I’m not going to hold my breath for that timeline, as many of these projects get delayed. Um, anyone remember the sale of the Monti’s property across the street from the Hayden Flour Mill? It was going to be completed in 2017 and they haven’t even begun construction on the buildings yet…

Hayden Flour Mill to get new life with commercial space, restaurants and hotel

Hayden Flour Mill – Rich in History:

I have taken many photos of the old Mill over the years, as I’m sure millions of people have. Here are a few that I thought were kind of cool. These first two show some of the rich history of the old buildings. The photo on the left shows Hayden C Hayden and a couple of shots from when the Hayden Flour Mill was in operation. The middle photo shows a sign that stood near the corner of Mill and Rio Salado, and the photo on the right shows a fading painting that I’m sure has been around a lot longer than I have.

Click on any of the photos to enlarge them.

Inside the belly:

I took these next three photos one day when former Tempe Mayor Hugh Hallman gave us an inside look at the old Mill many years after production had stopped. I was fascinated by the old machinery and loved looking at the big old safe that was built into a concrete wall.

The original Mill was built in 1874 by Charles Hayden. The large grain silos were not built until 1951. The Hayden family operated the mill until the 1980s, and flour was ground here until 1997.

More of my Hayden Flour Mill photos can be found here:

The Future is Bright in Tempe:

Citing large demand for hotel space and a real desire to do quality adaptive reuse projects, this development group appears to be saying all of the right things.  Downtown Tempe has seen thousands of jobs coming to the area from multiple industries such as technology, insurance and healthcare.  The jobs and growth in the downtown Tempe area have been a great success story in recent years, for sure..

The two-phase adaptive reuse project will span 150,000 square feet, celebrate the distinguished architectural character of the existing historic structures, and tastefully expand upon the site with the addition of a modern, mid-rise building. Upon completion, the property will consist of a full-service hotel featuring 165 guestrooms and suites, market-leading food and beverage offerings and innovative meeting space, as well as 30,000 square feet of boutique retail and creative office space. The project will also debut an expansive event lawn space for the enjoyment of both residents and visitors. – AZ Big Media

This is a photo of Mill Avenue from approximately 1900. A lot has changed in our city since that time. Back then, I bet very few people ever envisioned billion dollar real estate deals, a modern streetcar system, a 100,000 student University or the amazing city we have grown to become. I often wonder what the next couple hundred years will bring.

We sincerely hope this Tempe treasure will be developed into something of which we can all be proud.

Mill Avenue 1900's

The Herm Edwards Train Has Arrived in Tempe

Yesterday was the “official” announcement that Herm Edwards has been hired to coach the ASU football team. This morning, there was a press conference where we learned a little more about how Dr. Crow, Ray Anderson and many others hope to “elevate” this program to another level.

Welcome to Tempe,  Herm!

During the press conference we learned more about the “new model” that will be used at ASU going forward.

Under the new athletic department model being run by Ray Anderson, it sounds like Herm will have roles in management and as the head coach. There will be a multi-pronged approach that is more common is professional sports organizations.

We heard that success in the atletics department is critical to the future of the University. We heard several times that there is a goal to “elevate” the program at ASU.  Ray Anderson gave a lot of credit to former head coach Todd Graham by saying that ASU has done a great job with their student athletes in academics, discipline and character.

We also learned that Herm Edwards is a man of “extreme decency and extreme integrity” who never intended to leave ESPN until he learned more about what Crow and Anderson have as a vision for the athletics programs at ASU. Personally, I think many of us are glad to learn more about the character of Edwards, as we felt that Todd Graham had done such a good job in mentoring the athletes into better players and better people.

Discipline was mentioned several times in the press conference. We also heard Ray Anderson say that this is not a starting over. ASU has been doing a good job in developing, coaching, and preparing student athletes. The new model is being put in place to give the head football coach more support from people outside of what has been the traditional model.

Recruit. Coach. Develop. Elevate.

Those are things ASU plans to accomplish.

Anderson made it pretty clear that he knows there are people who don’t agree with their decision, but he was very clear in the vision to elevate the program to a new level of excellence.

Said Anderson: This train is leaving the station. Jump on board, because we’ve got a seat for you.

Some things I remember hearing from Herm Edwards during the press conference.

I’m on the train!

Herm addressed some of the criticisms about his age and about not having coached for a long time by saying things like: “That’s what I do, I coach football.” “They’re not bringing me here to play.” “I’m here to build a program.”

We also heard a lot about his role and about what it means to be around football players. “Coaches don’t give players talent, God does.” Leadership on and off the field are going to be key initiatives for Edwards. He is looking forward to hitting the recruiting trail, and he is looking forward to getting back in the huddle of football.  He said he’s proud to be the head coach and promised to give whatever he has to work tirelessly and be committed to the vision of Dr. Crow and Ray Anderson.

Herm’s ESPN duties are over this coming Friday. “After that I’m out recruiting.”

Welcome to Tempe, Herm!

Go Devils.

New South Tempe Restaurants Coming Soon

We will soon be seeing three new South Tempe restaurants in an area where demand has seemed to outpace supply.

The Tempe Public Market Cafe, Oink Cafe and Zipps Sports Grill are all opening soon off of Warner Road. Oink and Zipps are at McClintock and Warner, and the Tempe Public Market will be opening at Rural and Warner.

Maybe the biggest news is the new Tempe Public Market Cafe that’s coming to the NE corner of Rural and Warner in the old Circle K building. They’ll have a 3200 square foot restaurant that serves breakfast, lunch and dinner.  They’ll have sandwiches, salads, slow-cooked meats, pastries, coffee and a bar with local beer and wine. I’ve been talking to people about this for a few months, and everyone seems to be really excited for these guys to be coming to South Tempe. While the press release and the New Times story didn’t mention it, we’ve also heard that a “high-end” Mexican food restaurant could be joining them on that corner in the old Barro’s space.

Tempe Public Market

Another really cool addition to the area is going to be the new Oink Cafe, which is opening in the old Marcello’s space at the SW corner of McClintock and Warner. Breakfast, lunch and bacon. What else could we ask for. Right? They have 2 current locations and their reviews are awesome. I am really looking forward to this one opening as it is the closest of the three to my home!

The other one I noticed back in like March or April. A liquor license application in the window said that Zipps Sports Grill was looking to move into a building near the NE corner of McClintock and Warner. They have done a LOT of work to the building and added a pretty cool looking outdoor patio. Nothing wrong with having a new sports bar in the ‘hood, right?

Here’s the sign I saw in the window earlier this year.


Chickens, Eggs and South Tempe Restaurants

For years, I have talked to people about how underserved this area seems to be with quality restaurant options. Sure, there are nice homes here and disposable income in this area is higher than several areas with more dining options, but density has been a big question mark. Larger homes on larger lots have apparently kept some restaurant owners away. Until now… I’m glad to see this recent activity in the area. Sure, we have yummy local places like Great Harvest Bread, Vincitorio’s, Crepe Bar and several others nearby, but I think all three of these places will be a great addition.

The 85284 zip code was recently ranked as a top 5 wealthiest zip code in the state, with average incomes north of $148,000. Most of these people can probably afford to eat out. I hope these new restaurants thrive and open the door for more to come!