Posts Tagged ‘Roosevelt Row’

What’s Happening at the Roosevelt Row Arts District in Downtown Phoenix?

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The Roosevelt Row Arts District in downtown Phoenix,  affectionately known as RoRo, is one of the most exciting and important nodes in the city that is contributing to the cultural sea change in the city center towards an urban, local, homegrown, funky and unique place centered around arts and culture. The arts district is a result of the Roosevelt Row Community Development Corporation (CDC) which was founded in 2007 by Greg Esser, Cindy Dach and others. It is the original location of First Fridays Art Walk and continues to be a thriving arts area, even in the face of new development that wants to come into the area, partly because the CDC made the area desirable with it’s ongoing work in the past 7 years.

RoRo is essentially an arts district, a distinctive area of artist ownership in a walkable and creative part of the urban core. RoRo is known for its arts and cultural events, restaurants, galleries, boutiques, live music, murals and a hip and creative vibe. But it isn’t just about the arts, it’s also about fostering urban renewal through temporary use of vacant land, adaptive reuse, renovation of historic buildings and new infill projects. “Its mission,” says Nicole Underwood, the Director of Operations at the CDC, “is to advocate for the continuing presence and role of the arts and small business in the revitalization of the district and fostering a dense, diverse and walkable urban community.”

RoRo hosts some of the most innovative and exciting ongoing annual events in Phoenix including the annual Pie Social and the upcoming Chile Pepper Festival and Feast on the Street. The CDC also facilitates First and Third Friday activities, artist meet and greets and business workshops to provide resources to business owners. In service of urban renewal, the group works to activate vacant lots through beautification, such as with the Growhouse Community Garden and Valley of the Sunflowers projects. “All of these efforts collectively tell the story of the importance of connecting people and inviting them to celebrate each other through the arts, culture and  community,” says Underwood.

A new and exciting project at RoRo is a pilot shipping container project to provide affordable live/work spaces in the Roosevelt corridor. This project is funded by a grant by ArtPlace America, in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts, and will continue the creative place making efforts the district is famous for. The project is intended to be a catalyst and example for future artist-supported livable solutions for incoming development.

But as with all arts districts that were pioneered by visionary artists, RoRo is facing the challenge of gentrification and new development moving in that might displace the very artists that made the area appealing in the first place. In other words, the struggle at RoRo is to retain artists and creatives in the area while continuing to evolve into a mature and economically vibrant district. Underwood emphasizes that “visionary artists are responsible for the revitalization of this once desolate area. In return, it is our responsibility as Phoenix residents and art advocates who benefit from their efforts to offer viable livable solutions and maintain the presence of creativity and innovation for the next generation.”

Photo Credit: Photo by Candace Porth. Check out Candace’s excellent blog Glenrosa Journeys Life in the 5th Largest City in the US – Phoenix.

Firefly Hot Spot: Tammie Coe Cakes & MJ Bread Continue to Wow Phoenix with Their Decadent Goodies

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Who are the owners?

Photographed above is Tammie Coe. Tammie and MJ Coe have a deep passion for creating items that are undeniably beautiful and delicious. The two met in culinary school and married after graduating. They continued the development of their craft by working in established and well-respected restaurants and kitchens. They have lived in Phoenix for nearly twenty years and have made a name for themselves within the community for their enchanting fondant cakes, delectable pastries, famous sugar cookies and their nourishing handmade breads.

How did it start?

Tammie Coe Cakes & MJ Bread began eleven years ago with a pastry case in Arcadia’s La Grande Orange Grocery. Here they developed their menu of signature pastries and breads, which made their everlasting mark on the Phoenix community. When the demand for their quality products became more than they could keep up with a pastry case, they opened their first standalone bakery. Over the years they have moved and expanded to a total of three locations.

They operate three successful bakeries and coffee shops, work with wholesale vendors, cater special events, consult with restaurant owners and chefs, and are able to work with any and every special order. Tammie and MJ are constantly evolving by producing unique baked items through research and development.

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Tammie explains this to me in the context of trying new recipes and perfecting classics. As we sat and conversed in her newest location on Central Avenue, surrounded by her mother’s, Ina Moss’s, and long time hairdresser’s, Pierre Hambur’s, artwork, she told me a story from a few mornings prior. Tammie decided to experiment with seven different recipes for chocolate chip cookies at home. These seven recipes were compiled of numerous types and measurements of butter, flour, sugar, and chocolate chips. Tammie did this all in the name of creating the perfect chocolate chip cookie that is unmatched. You can taste this devotion in each baked good Tammie and MJ craft. Their menu is extensive, but I would be remiss if I didn’t share some of my personal favorites with you.

My first introduction to Tammie Coe Cakes was at my bridal shower. My Aunt searched for the best red velvet cake. It was no contest, it had to come from Tammie Coe Cakes. The fondant cakes Tammie creates are unlike any other cake I have ever had. The cake was so stunning we almost didn’t want to cut in to it, but when we did our taste buds were delighted. The contrast between the gorgeous yet durable fondant and the moist and lightweight cake made for decadent experience. Tammie and MJ have created desserts that play a key role in making the personal moments in our lives exceptional.

My second experience with Tammie Coe came when I was working for Giant Coffee in downtown Phoenix. There I assisted the incredible owners, Ernie and Matt Pool, as they opened their first ever coffee shop. Before ramping up their own in-house bakery, they purchased all their bread and baked goods from Tammie and MJ. This is where I had the opportunity to try nearly all of their exceptional staple pastries and breads. Their unique apple oatmeal cookies, ooey gooey cupcakes, blueberry muffins and thick cut sour dough toast with Cotton Country Jams were just a few of my favored baked goods. My husband would always be eager to see what I would bring home each day from work. We got spoiled.

A year later I began to work for Lux Coffee, which had been around for nearly a decade at that point. Their bakery was established, but even today Lux turns to Tammie Coe Cakes and MJ Bread for items they feel can’t be done better. The items they receive daily are their sticky bran muffins, brioche, as well as ciabatta and levain breads.

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In addition to providing their local wholesale accounts you can find all of my personal favorites and many more at all their locations in Phoenix. I have frequented each of their local locations and can tell you it’s a perfect place to get a heartwarming cinnamon roll, a fantastic cup of coffee (roasted at Lux) to either stay and enjoy with a friend or to take with you if you’re on the go. We highly recommend Tammie Coe Cakes and MJ Bread!

We love Tammie Coe Cakes and MJ Breads because each of the baked goods they create are individual, edible pieces of art. You can taste the passion they have for their business. We love that even after being in business for about a decade they wake up in the morning and want to experiment with baking just because they love baking.

Tammie Coe’s success is remarkable. Their investment in the Phoenix food community is made clear as they collaborate with other restaurateurs to help them establish or improve the quality of what they serve. At Firefly Living, we appreciate Tammie and MJ’s philosophy of “rising waters raise all boats”. Tammie Coe and MJ Bread continue to improve the Phoenix community every day by producing consistently top-notch baked goods and by sharing their expertise and commitment to quality with other businesses.

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Hours and Location

Tammie Coe Cakes and M.J. Bread have three locations. Their location at 610 E. Roosevelt has been closed for the summer, but will reopen November 1st. Their location on 5210 North Central Avenue is open Monday through Thursday from 8am to 5pm and Friday and Saturday from 8am to 8pm. Their location at Phoenix Sky Harbor in Terminal 4 is open morning to night opening 30 minutes before the first flight of the day and 30 minutes before the last flight.

What else is in the neighborhood?

A few of Tammie’s favorite local restaurants are The House, Pino’s Pizzeria, and all of the Upwards Project restaurants – Federal, Windsor, and Postinos. It goes without saying that she is a great supporter of the local Phoenix community and appreciates the talents of her favorite chefs.

Photos taken by author. 

Firefly Hot Spot: Short Leash Opens Their First Bricks & Mortar Location “Sit…Stay”

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After operating as a successful food truck business for three years Brad and Kat Moore opened their first Bricks and Mortar location in downtown Phoenix’s Roosevelt Row neighborhood this July. With dedication to creating a business and life they can enjoy together, this husband and wife duo have developed a Phoenix staple locals truly enjoy.

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Who are the owners?

Photographed above is Brad Moore. Brad and Kat Moore are a husband and wife team who love everything about running their business together. Before starting Short Leash their backgrounds ranged in art, design, soccer, retail and banking. With goals to leave the corporate world behind and start a creative business together they started Short Leash in June of 2010.

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How did it start?

The business began with one truck that they parked at the Phoenix Public Open Air Market. Brad and Kat each set humble goals for their first day of business. Brad’s goal was to make and sell 5 hot dogs, and Kat’s was to make and sell 30. They happily surpassed Brad’s goal and met Kat’s. Their business only grew from there. Over the past 3 years their success has been become well known all over Phoenix. They still operate out of their very first truck and you can find them at locations all over the city. View their calendar here. In addition to this truck they have another that the public can reserve for special events.

They opened their first ever bricks and mortar location last month. Brad and Kat were always passively looking for a space they could open a more permanent location. The spot where Sit…Stay now resides was once Tedibertos, and before that it was a catering company which left them with no major construction. Kat was able to design the space flawlessly with her experience in interior design and this shows when you walk in to their location on Roosevelt. After speaking to Brad he informed me that the space was meant to be theirs. In addition to the location being at the core of where they began, he says the landlords of their building are great.

For Brad and Kat community has always been the essence of their business. They involve the community by sourcing ingredients that are seasonal and local whenever possible. In addition to their original menu they have added appetizers, salads, entrees and local beer and wine to Sit…Stay’s dine in menu. All of the “dogs” on their menu have been named after friends and families dogs. You will even find photos of their two family dogs, Igby and Oliver, as well as other local dogs hanging on the walls in their new space. They speak highly of their customers and the relationships they have developed with the neighborhood.

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Why we love it!

We love Short Leash because of the ways Brad and Kat transformed their lives by making a conscious decision that you don’t have to do something you aren’t happy with. In addition to this they constantly incorporate family and community in to all that they do. As Phoenix locals at Firefly Living we support any business who supports our community in the way Brad and Kat do.

We believe that their dedication to reinventing a classic is a large contribution to their success.  While the bulk of their menu is fairly straight forward, they offer something unique for everyone. (yes, vegans too!) Being creative in the way they operate, develop recipes and menus, and their presentation has made their product in high demand for Phoenix locals. If you haven’t had the opportunity to visit them at the Phoenix Public Market, or at their new location Sit…Stay we highly recommend it!

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Hours and Location

Sit…Stay is located at 110 East Roosevelt Street near our newest listing at 212 W. Portland St. in the heart of downtown Phoenix. They are open Tuesday through Friday from 11am to 10pm, and Saturday from 10am to 10pm. They serve their full menu during business hours and are open an hour earlier on Saturdays for brunch.

What else is in the neighborhood?

If you’re looking for local food and drink in the neighborhood stop by the Phoenix Public Market for coffee, cocktails, and all things local, Matt’s Big Breakfast for scratch cooking and friendly service, or Tammie Coe Cakes for some of the greatest pastries around. If you’re interested in shopping swing by GROWop boutique for vintage and local goods, for one of a kind jewelry, pottery, books and magazines visit Made Boutique, and for a quality haircut drop by Mercantile.

USA Today is calling Roosevelt Row one of the 10 best neighborhoods that tourists haven’t found yet. Brad and Kat are contributing to the culture of this neighborhood daily. We support their successful efforts and suggest you take the time to stop by Sit…Stay!

Photographs taken by author.