Tempe Public Market Cafe Opens January 12th

Hang in there, South Tempe. It’s almost ready.

“We’re having almost a hundred people a day try to come and have food,” says Aaron Chamberlin, chef and owner of Tempe Public Market Cafe. “They’re seeing us training, they’re seeing people on the patio drinking wine and thinking it’s open.”

It isn’t. Not just yet. But on Jan. 12, it will be. And based on the buzz around the neighborhood, the joint will be hopping.

“Out of all the restaurants I’ve opened, this has had the most community outreach,” Chamberlin says. “I am getting bombarded by people that are so excited for us to come.”

He’ll cite the demographics of the area, but Chamberlin’s reputation probably has more than a little to do with it. The man who turned St. Francis and Phoenix Public Market Cafe into success stories has carved out his niche as a chef who executes approachable, easy-to-love food with care and quality ingredients, and as a restaurateur who marries dining and community.

With Tempe Public Market Cafe, he’s bringing a popular community restaurant to a brand new community.

Neighborhood restaurant, tailor-made

“I grew up not far from here,” says Chamberlin, sitting on the patio of his new Tempe establishment. “I went to Mesa High. I used to ride my dirt bike to Circle G Ranch and cotton fields and citrus fields back in the ‘80s.”

But even though Tempe Public Market Cafe is something of a homecoming for Chamberlin, it was the area’s current makeup that clinched the deal.

“I was persuaded because I realized it was a very underserved market,” Chamberlin says. “There’s a lot of families. Almost every single person who’s coming here has kids.”

Tempe Public Market Cafe closely resembles its older sister, Phoenix Public Market Cafe, which Chamberlin opened in 2013. But Chamberlin has been careful to ensure its new incarnation isn’t a carbon copy.

“You can’t really cookie cutter a restaurant,” he says. “Over there, we’re a downtown restaurant. Here, we’re more of a neighborhood restaurant. We were always thinking, especially at St. Francis, how do we make things more pristine? Here, we just want to be super family-oriented.”

In Tempe, it starts with a building on the northeast corner of Rural and Warner roads. Along with his brother, Dave, Chamberlin purchased an abandoned Circle K and converted it into a gorgeous, crisply designed space. That they’ve put a significant sum into its construction (Chamberlin declined to divulge how much) indicates that they plan to buck the trend of ever-shortening restaurant lifespans. Tempe Public Market Cafe is built to be a neighborhood fixture for a long time.

Out front is a patio with 65 seats, a towering stone fireplace and an area that can be closed off for private parties, shaded by a perforated steel roof and climate controlled with heaters and misters. An indoor/outdoor bar runs the length of the front, lending a clear view of a clean, minimal interior bathed in natural light that seats 75. To play off the stark design, a giant, playful mural running the length of one wall is a work in progress.

“We wanted a super casual environment where people could come and feel super comfortable at any time,” Chamberlin says.


Read original article on AZ Central here to learn more about the cuisine at Tempe’s newest restaurant.