Archive for the ‘Spotlight’ Category

Grabbagreen Brings Healthy Options to Downtown, Fast

Thursday, December 18th, 2014


Those looking for fast, healthy food now have more options with the addition of Grabbagreen Downtown, which opened Monday, Dec. 8 inside CityScape.

Started in 2012 by two busy Scottsdale moms, Keely Newman and Kelley Bird, the fast-casual restaurant concept provides nutrient-rich foods perfect for people on the go, according to Bryce Kunkel, assistant manager at Grabbagreen Downtown.

grabba2“I love the habits promoted here,” he said. “I have a juicer at home and am very health-conscious.”

Featuring a completely gluten-free menu of salads, hearty grains, juices and smoothies, the all-natural meats, fruits and veggies are locally sourced whenever possible.

With the exception of some grab-and-go items like bottled juices and packaged protein bars, everything is made to order and customizable.

One of the most sought after items on the menu is the Southwest Grabba Grain bowl with a quinoa base, topped with a Tex-Mex-inspired fusion of chicken, corn, black beans, avocado, cilantro and a creamy yogurt-agave barbecue sauce.

From simple staples like salmon and brown rice to exotic additions like goji berries, chia seeds and açaí – there’s a little something for everyone.

Kunkel, who relocated from Fountain Hills to help Newman and Bird open their third location, said he loves being downtown, and so far, Grabbagreen’s reception has been phenomenal.

“It’s a stellar location,” he said. “There’s such a variety of places to go, things to do and different types of people here, it’s been very welcoming.”

Call in your order for a super fast pick up at 50 W. Jefferson Street, located just behind The Corner. Or stop in for breakfast, lunch or dinner Monday through Saturday 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Sundays 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Phoestivus Market Makes Holiday Shopping Fun, Festive

Tuesday, December 9th, 2014


Sip your Phoestivus Ale, dance around the Phoestivus Pole and peruse 130 local vendors at the Phoestivus Open-Air Market Wednesday, Dec. 10 and Wednesday, Dec. 17 from 4-9 p.m.

Back for its fifth year, the Phoenix Public Market expands the weekly Wednesday night market for two weeks in December featuring more local vendors, more food trucks, lots of live entertainment and enough beer to stay cheerful the whole night through.

For the first time ever, Phoestivus organizers ditched the beer garden concept in favor of enclosing the entire market. You can actually purchase a delicious Phoestivus Ale – made seasonally by Phoenix Ale Brewery - and wander around the entire event, shopping to your heart’s content.

Photo-640x853AiringYou can’t do that in a mall.

In line with the secular, noncommercial theme of “Festivus,” which originated in a 1997 “Seinfeld” episode, Phoestivus creates an alternative to the mass consumerism often associated with the holidays.

Buying something directly from the person who created it is a pretty rare and special experience and Phoestivus really celebrates that relationship.

It not only showcases the amazing things being handcrafted and produced locally, but it creates a platform for small micro-businesses to sell and promote their wares in a truly festive and fun environment.

With a tongue-in-cheek salute to its Seinfeldian origins, you can arm wrestle your friends at Pheats of Strength, complain about your family in front of the whole market at the Airing of Grievances, and of course, visit the unadorned aluminum Phoestivus Pole, supposedly the world’s largest.

Proceeds from the event benefit Community Food Connections, a nonprofit organization supporting local and small businesses.

*Photo courtesy of Brandi Porter

Top Ten Must-See Holiday Performances

Friday, December 5th, 2014


It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas. And sound like Christmas. And feel like Christmas (brrrrr.) So put on your boots and woolen mittens and get into the spirit with an amazing holiday performance in Downtown Phoenix. We sorted through the list, checked it twice and selected the top ten must-see events of the season.

Two Old Broads Do Santa – Lunch Time Theater at the Herberger Theater Center

Dec. 2-18, 2014

Patti Davis Suarez and Judy Rollings serve up a sassy rendition of Christmases past, present and future. Fill your lunch hour with lots of laughs and reminisce over stories that will warm your heart.

Holiday Pops – Phoenix Symphony Hall

December 5-7, 2014

Guest Conductor Stuart Chafetz leads the Phoenix Symphony and Phoenix Symphony Chorus in a blend of popular seasonal favorites, mixed with breathtaking classics. With over 200 of the Valley’s most talented artists in one concert, including the Desert Bells Bell Choir and the Phoenix Girls Chorus, “Holiday Pops” is sure to spread cheer to you and yours.

A Winnie-the-Pooh Christmas Tail – Valley Youth Theater
December 5-23, 2014

Delighting Valley families since 1995, “A Winnie-the-Pooh Christmas Tail” has become a Downtown Phoenix holiday tradition. Meet Christopher Robin, Eeyore, Piglet and all your favorite characters in the Hundred Acre Wood for a musical celebration of silliness, fun and adventure.

Frances Smith Cohen’s Snow Queen – Herberger Theater Center
Dec. 6-21, 2014

Sit back and take in the splendor of Hans Christian Andersen’s classic fairy tale, set to music by Sergei Prokofiev and performed by the unbelievably talented Center Dance Ensemble – resident modern dance company at the Herberger Theater.

Sylvie’s Holiday Dream – Orpheum Theater

Dec. 6-7, 2014

Take a journey back to your childhood, as you get lost in Sylvie’s dream of becoming a famous ballerina. Performed by DanceMotion, one of the Valley’s premiere youth dance companies, this show is an absolute treat for the whole family.

The Nutcracker – Orpheum Theater
Dec. 12-14, 2014
Follow little Clara on Christmas Eve to a fantastical dream world where toys become larger than life. Phoenix Ballet’s traditional choreography mixed with a dynamic and colorful flair is sure to dazzle people of all ages.

The Nutcracker – Phoenix Symphony Hall
Dec. 12-28, 2014

Let the magic of “The Nutcracker” take you to a place of beauty and wonder as more than 150 Ballet Arizona performers dance to Tchaikovsky’s famous score. The costumes, choreography and music make this a must-see holiday classic.

Alice Cooper’s Christmas Pudding – Comerica Theatre
Saturday, Dec. 13, 2014

Celebrating its 14th season, Christmas Pudding brings together the best rock musicians, dancers and comedians in today’s entertainment world. Benefitting Cooper’s faith-based nonprofit Solid Rock and The Rock Teen Center, this year’s lineup is sure to rock you into the giving spirit.

Spirit of the Season – Herberger Theater Center
Monday, Dec. 15, 2014

Jeffrey Hattrick and Nicole Pesce return for their annual holiday concert that spans from jazz to classical. This performance is bound to touch your soul and warm your heart.

The Piano Guys A Family Christmas – Comerica Theatre

Tuesday, Dec. 16, 2014

The Piano Guys mix classically- influenced instrumentals with stunning visuals. In this Christmas special, four ordinary guys from Utah entertain with sing-along favorites like ”Silent Night,” “We Three Kings,” “Let it Go” from Disney’s “Frozen” and more.

*Top photo courtesy of Ballet Arizona.

Watch Holiday Movies Under the Stars at PJs in the Park

Wednesday, November 26th, 2014


All aboard!

It’s time to bundle up in your coziest pajamas and take a journey on Downtown’s version of the Polar Express – Valley Metro Light Rail. On Friday, Dec. 5, ride the light rail to Civic Space Park for a holiday double feature with lots of festive fun at the third annual PJs in the Park.

Bring blankets, lawn chairs and some Christmas spirit for a viewing of Disney’s “The Polar Express” at 6 p.m. followed by voter’s choice “Elf” at 8 p.m.

Though the weather outside is hardly frightful, it can be a bit chilly this time of year. So dig out the flannel PJs hiding in the back of your closet and bring plenty of fuzzy things to stay warm like hats, coats, gloves, big socks and an extra blanket.

pjs-flyerFair Trade Cafe’s build-your-own hot chocolate bar is sure to help warm you up along with some delectable holiday treats. Or visit the Downtown Phoenix Ambassadors’ snack bar for a selection of candy and gourmet popcorn by Poppa Maize.

Nothing says Christmas like gathering with loved ones under the stars with a cup of hot cocoa and a great holiday movie. But the night just wouldn’t be complete without a visit from Santa Claus himself. Bring your camera and a non-perishable food item benefiting St. Mary’s Food Bank for a free photo with Santa (and perhaps some holiday surprises.) Everyone is greatly encouraged to bring donations.

Cost: Free

When: Friday, Dec. 5 from 6-10 p.m.

Where: Civic Space Park

Parking and Transportation: Take the light rail - Downtown’s Polar Express!

*Top photo by Jeremiah Toller.

Shop Local, Shop Downtown for the Holidays

Thursday, November 20th, 2014


Avoid stressful malls and crowded big box stores this season and give yourself the gift of a joyful holiday shopping experience. From native-themed ornaments to sipping mimosas while perusing local arts and crafts – Downtown Phoenix takes gift-giving from chore to cheer.

heardOrnament Marketplace
When: Friday, Nov. 28 and Saturday Nov. 29 from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday, Nov. 30 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Where: Heard Museum Shops
Admission: Free

Add a beautiful Native-themed ornament to your tree this holiday season, hand-crafted by American Indian artists from the Heard Museum Shops. Choose from hundreds of ornaments in a variety of art forms and styles for a unique gift or addition to your home. Bring out-of-town friends and family to the world famous Heard Museum to learn more about Native cultures while you shop. Ornament prices vary but admission to the Heard Museum Shop is always free with no sales tax.

ABFlogoAlternative Black Friday
When: Friday, Nov. 28 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Where: CityScape Phoenix
Admission: Free

Sleep in. Avoid the madness. Still get cool stuff. Seriously, you can sip mimosas, shop and listen to live music all in one place at CityScape’s Alternative Black Friday. Browse unique wares from more than 20 local vendors including Meat Market Vintage, Rare Scarf, Antique Sugar, Zinnias At Melrose Mall, GROWop Boutique and more. Before you hit the market, swing by The Corner or Blue Hound Kitchen and Cocktails to indulge in a to-die-for brunch. Enjoy half-off price skating at the CitySkate ice rink and get awesome Black Friday deals at Urban Outfitters, Charming Charlie, Jos A. Bank and other nearby retailers.

flea2_400x400Phoenix Flea
When: Saturday, Nov. 29 from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Where: Heritage and Science Park
Admission: $5

Arizona’s coolest vintage market showcases amazing local artisans, designers and entrepreneurs while supporting Phoenix-area nonprofits and charities. Located in the heart of Downtown Phoenix at the historic Heritage and Science Park, Phoenix Flea features an eclectic group of local vendors specializing in antique and repurposed furniture, vintage clothing, collectables, funky jewelry and delicious food items. A portion of all ticket sales and concessions benefit the 100 Club of Arizona.

artsmarketRoosevelt Row A.R.T.S. Market
When: Friday, Dec. 5 and Friday, Dec. 19 from 6 to 11 p.m.
Where: 408 E. Roosevelt Street
Admission: Free

Every first and third Friday of the month, the A.R.T.S. Market comes alive with artisan crafts, vintage goods, jewelry and culinary treats. The First Friday Art Walk in the Roosevelt Row Arts District has evolved into one of the largest free monthly art walks in the United States and Third Friday Gallery Night is rapidly catching up. Besides the outdoor A.R.T.S. Market, check out some of the great local shops along Roosevelt Row open late during first and third Fridays like MADE Art Boutique, Black N Blue Rock Star Clothing and Accessories and Revolver Records.

Phoestivus-Poster-cropPhoesitvus 2014
When: Wednesday, Dec. 10 and Wednesday, Dec. 17 from 4-9 p.m.
Where: Phoenix Public Market
Admission: Free

Spread the cheer in Downtown Phoenix by purchasing gifts for your loved ones from more than 100 local vendors and entrepreneurs. By shopping local for the holidays, you are supporting members of your own community who are also vested in the heath and success Arizona. Bring friends and family to enjoy dinner from food trucks and toast the holiday season at the Phoestivus beer garden. Part of the proceeds benefit the Phoenix Public Market, a program of Community Food Connections, which is a 501c3 non-profit organization.

festartsPhoenix Festival of the Arts
When: Friday, Dec. 12 from 12 p.m. to 8 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 13 from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Sunday, Dec. 14 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Where: Margaret T. Hance Park
Admission: Free

While enjoying top-notch performances during this three-day cultural celebration, nosh on tasty treats from your favorite food trucks, relax in the beer and wine garden, visit the family zone for little ones and shop for holiday gifts at more than 80 arts and cultural booths. For the the art lovers on your list, you’re sure to find something amidst the rows of beautiful pottery, glass works, sculptures, and paintings.

Meet Me Downtown Bridges Fitness and Social Connectivity

Thursday, November 13th, 2014


If you were anywhere near the Downtown area on Monday, you probably saw a sea of red blinking lights attached to people running, walking, biking or just hanging out in the central city.

That’s because the new weekly fitness and community-building initiative Meet Me Downtown successfully kicked off Monday, Nov. 10, bringing hundreds of people together in Downtown Phoenix.

After checking in at the The Corner inside CityScape between 5:15 and 6:30 p.m., 380 participants made their way through a 3-plus mile course toward Margaret T. Hance Park, past city parks, historical landmarks, key attractions and back to CityScape.

Shyla Freestone, an avid runner who works Downtown, said she knows the area, but still discovered exciting new things along the route.

“As we were running we would say to each other, ‘oh, that’s where that is, I’ve heard about that,’” Freestone said. “So that was really fun.”

According to Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton, the program brings people together every Monday night for both fitness and social connectivity.

“It really celebrates all that I want as mayor – an exciting Downtown, a fun Downtown, a place where people know each other and a little bit of exercise thrown in there,” Stanton said. “For me, it’s really a win for everybody.”

On Monday, Nov. 17, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona, the title sponsor, is hosting a health fair at The Corner – the event starting point – with free massages, health screenings, music, raffle prizes and more.

According to Jeff Stelnik, vice president of marketing for Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona, getting involved with this event was a great way to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the company this year.

itsUphoto-0473“We were really excited to find an event that married two things we really have a lot of pride in – one is the community and the other is health and fitness,” Stelnik said.

For Shyla Freestone and many of the others at Monday’s inaugural event, the biggest draw is the social component.

“I like running to stay in shape and it’s a fun way to make friends,” she said. “It’s really convenient and easy to find people to run with at an event like this.”

To register for Meet Me Downtown, visit the website and make sure to check in between 5:15 and 6:30 p.m. at The Corner to get a hand stamp for great deals at local restaurants and businesses. After you’re registered, keep checking in week after week at to accumulate rewards.

*Photos courtesy of Patty Kaufman

Heckler Design Brings Localism and Minimalism to Grand Avenue

Thursday, November 6th, 2014

HD Team -1Simple. Smart. Space-saving.

When asked about how his design concepts originated, Dean Heckler, founder of Heckler Design, says it came out of necessity.

hecklerdesk2Working as a software designer and part-time tinkerer, he looked around for an attractive ergonomic work desk that could disappear when not in use. When he couldn’t find any, he decided to create his own and have it fabricated by local craftsmen. The result was OneLessDesk – a two-piece nesting work station that positions your screen in perfect line-of-sight and your mouse and keyboard at your fingertips.

Soon friends and acquaintances started asking where they could buy one and the concept took flight.

After launching Heckler Design in 2007 with one design, OneLessDesk, the product line has grown to over 200 product variations, currently specializing in modern point-of-sale cases, stands and cash drawers for tablets.

From the new headquarters in the historic O.S. Stapley building on Grand Avenue near Van Buren Street, which opened in spring 2014, Heckler sources all designs in-house, using local steel fabricators and even a local non-profit Epi-Hab Phoenix – which provides employment for individuals with epilepsy – for packaging and assembly.

couchAs Grand Avenue grows, Heckler plans to grow along with it, possibly revamping the current warehouse into a large retail showroom. Right now a small office and showroom area suffices but Heckler said he wants to start developing more consumer products in the near future.

His latest creation: a sleek new TV stand, which is already in the prototype phase.

*Top photo courtesy of Heckler Design.

Meet Me Downtown Debuts Nov. 10

Wednesday, October 29th, 2014

The new community building event Meet Me Downtown launches Monday, Nov. 10 as a weekly get-together where people of all ages walk or run a 3+ mile route in Downtown Phoenix.

Meet Me Downtown offers the opportunity to get out every Monday evening – rain, shine or holiday – to exercise, catch up with friends, meet new people and explore our vibrant central city.

Here’s everything you need to know about Meet Me Downtown:

LogoWho’s Behind MMDT?

Title sponsor Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona along with the The City of Phoenix’s FitPHX program teamed up with operating partners Downtown Phoenix, Inc., CityScape Phoenix, The Corner, Sole Sports Running Zone, Phoenix Parks Foundation and Meet Me Concepts, which started a similar program in Tucson five years ago.

When and Where Does It Start?

Participants meet up between 5:15 and 6:30 p.m. each Monday at The Corner restaurant (Central and Jefferson) and finish at The Corner around 7 p.m. There will be a free weekly raffle, plus incentive awards for checking in 10, 25, 50 and 100 times. Refuel after your workout with a bite to eat and enjoy deals from participating Downtown Phoenix restaurants.

Where Will I Walk/Run?

The main Meet Me Downtown route is 3.3 miles, which should take the average walker about an hour to complete. The route starts at The Corner and wanders through Downtown, hitting points of interest along the way north to Margaret T. Hance Park, before returning to The Corner. There is a 2-mile extension option available for runners.

Where Do I Park?

There are five levels of underground parking at CityScape at $3 per hour. CityScape businesses, including The Corner, will validate for up to two hours. More parking info can be found here.

How Do I Participate?

Take a moment to visit Meet Me Downtown Phoenix and pre-register. You’ll see the registration option on the right side of the home page. After you’re registered, keep checking in week after week at The Corner to accumulate rewards.

Why Is Meet Me Downtown Coming To Phoenix?

The program was designed with a focus on fitness, social and economic vitality, and will be an excellent addition to the ever-growing list of things to do in Downtown Phoenix.

“Our goal is for Meet Me Downtown to be a must-do, fun activity that becomes a tradition in our thriving Downtown,” said Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton.

Follow Meet Me Downtown Phoenix on Facebook and Twitter.

Frequently Asked Zombie Questions

Thursday, October 23rd, 2014

IMG_3930Zombie Walk 6 returns to Heritage & Science Park in Downtown Phoenix on Saturday. But before you break out the latex, eye shadow and river of fake blood, finalize your day-of game plan with the help of these frequently asked Zombie Walk 6 questions:

Q: What’s a zombie walk?

A: Exactly what it sounds like, and ours is one of the biggest in the world. For more on the history of Downtown Phoenix Zombie Walk and events like it, read this.

Q: C’mon, is Zombie Walk 6 really free?

A: Zombie Walk 6 is absolutely free but we implore attendees to bring non-perishable food donations benefiting our friends at St. Mary’s Food Bank, which is one of the world’s largest food banks.

PhxZombieWalk5-16Q: Can I bring my kids?

A: Downtown Phoenix Zombie Walk prides itself on being extremely family-friendly. The Lil Zombie Zone has a full day (2-9 p.m.) of programming including sports mascots, arts and crafts, snacks, a steampunk science display, Halloween activities provided by Arizona Science Center and the Phoenix Children’s Museum and the ever-popular Red Cross Zombie Preparedness Zone.

Q: Where do I park?

A: Saturday will be an extremely busy night in Downtown Phoenix, with multiple large-scale events happening simultaneously. We recommend riding your bike (we’ll have plenty of additional bike racks in the park), taking mass transit (park and ride lots are conveniently located at the 38th Street, Washington and Camelback light rail stops) using  Lyft – the official Zombie Walk 6 ride service or getting dropped off. If you are bringing your car, Arizona Center (use entrance off Fillmore) has graciously offered $5 parking to all zombies. There is also garage parking available at Heritage & Science Park for ($12). Remember, meters are no longer free on the weekends.

IMG_4097Q: Zombies are cool but all I really want to do is rock out. What do you have for me?

A: Psyko Steve Presents a lively Zombie Walk Main Stage featuring DJ Jared Alan, The Blood Feud Family Singers, Hour 24, Sundressed, Harper and the Moths and for a third consecutive year, headliners Recipe for Disaster a Tribute to Guns ‘N’ Roses.

Q: I don’t know how to become a zombie. Can you help?

A: We sure can! Check out this video tutorial that shows you how you can turn into a zombie is less than 15 minutes using many common household items. If you want to have your makeup done at the event, we’re offering free entry-level zombification packages (eye darkening, face deadening, blood splattering) to the first 400 attendees who bring a non-perishable donation for St. Mary’s Food Bank.

Q: What time does the walk start?

A: Zombies should plan on arriving at the park by 4:30 p.m. and our Grand Marshal, 98KUPD’s John Holmberg, will start the walk around 5:45.

PhxZombieWalk5-19Q: How long is the walk?

A: About a mile and a half.

Q: Will there be a costume contest?

A: A tradition like no other, the Zombie Walk Costume Contest will take place on the Main Stage around 7:30 p.m. Finalists will be selected during the walk by a panel of esteemed zombie experts and will compete for prize packages including tickets to Phoenix Comicon, Stand Up Live and thrash metal icons Slayer.

Q: Can I bring my zombie dog?

A: If your dog is cool, we’re cool with your dog. Also, you must clean up after said dog. This is non-negotiable.

Q: I like beer. Will there be beer?

A: For zombies 21 years and older, Four Peaks Brewing Company will have two beer gardens. For non-beer drinkers there will be 3 Amigos margaritas and COPA wine. Please drink responsibly, ya’ll.

Q: What if I”m hungry for something other than human flesh?

A: Everything a growing zombie needs will be available, including food trucks, hamburgers, hot dogs, nachos, funnel cakes, tacos, kettle corn, smoothies and snow cones, as well as excellent park restaurants Rose & Crown Pub, Pizzeria Bianco, Royal Coffee and Nobuo at Teeter House.

More questions? Call the fine folks who started it all, the Downtown Phoenix Ambassadors at (602) 495-1500.

Eat See you Saturday!

*Photos courtesy of Mr. Anathema Photography and 98KUPD

Pro Bono Week Serves More Than Just Non-Profits

Thursday, October 16th, 2014

newbonoPro Bono Week PHX encourages local professionals, entrepreneurs and skilled workers to get out of the office and into the community.

The event kicks off Oct. 20-25 at the DTPHX Engagement Lab – a storefront activation at Arizona Center – and is the first national Pro Bono Week event organized by a co-working organization –  CO+HOOTS Foundation.

According to Kristin Romaine, executive director of CO+HOOTS Foundation and Pro Bono Week organizer, donating time and services to nonprofit organizations not only benefits the communities these nonprofits serve, but makes a huge impact on the volunteers as well.

“Innovation doesn’t just happen in an office,” Romaine said. “A lot of times it’s when you’re doing something out in the community that’s related to making the world a better place.”

According to Taproot Foundation, a leader in the pro bono movement, nonprofits play an integral role in the innovation ecosystem and by bringing the “thinkers” and the “do-ers” into a collaborative space, the community as a whole reaps the benefits.

Over the course of Pro Bono Week PHX, local organizations will be paired with professionals in marketing, technology, design, finance and other key areas. With the help of skilled volunteers, these organizations can increase their impact on critical issues like the environment, health and education.

dtphxlabSo why work for free? According to Romaine, it’s not about getting something for nothing, but finding collaborative partners and consultants to work with on an ongoing basis. If the nonprofits approach the work from that standpoint, they’re positioned to receive the most benefit.

The statistics back it up. According to a True Impact study on pro bono service, skilled volunteers are 142 percent more likely to report job-related gains than traditional volunteers and from a nonprofit perspective, pro bono services can be as much as 500 percent more impactful than unskilled volunteer services.

“It really boosts employee morale and professional growth,” Romaine said. “This is a no-brainer, everyone should be doing this.”

In short, donating a skill that would otherwise be paid for is a generous gift. To find out more about Pro Bono Week PHX and how you can get involved, visit the website or contact the CO+HOOTS Foundation.

*Photo of the DTPHX Engagement Lab at Arizona Center. For more information on the lab and its uses, email R.J. Price at