Goodbye Palatte, Hello Local Breeze (Now Closed)

photo courtesy of David SB (phxrailfood)
(David Bickford/phxrailfood.com)

Update 2011: Local Breeze is now officially closed for business.

For devoted Downtown diners, the loss of Palatte was definitely a surprise, but it was never entirely a shock.

To many patrons, the restaurant itself had an awkward internal flow, and its take on the popular fast-casual dining concept wasn’t always clear to everyone.

Also, remember that hodgepodge of a patio? I never understood that massive, completely ill-utilized space. Was all of that outdoor furniture for sale? Could customers sit anywhere? Could we just grab a drink, and lounge? So many questions for a concept intended to be so simple.

Why I liked Palatte was clear – it’s breakfast. They did a really good job at it. It was nice to find a place decent enough to forgo the weekend swarm at nearby Matt’s Big Breakfast without also forsaking satisfying morning grub. Their unique selection of breakfast scrambles in particular, were great. Anyone recall their sweet potato pancakes? I always found them to be one of the best items on the menu. Why again were they removed?

It was obvious to the most serious observers that the place was constantly in flux. Major kinks needed to be worked out, but they were constantly altering things that didn’t need attention to begin with – those annoyingly fluctuating hours, those strange deletions of popular menu items, and again, that god-forsaken patio.

Can I mention that patio just one more time?

In any event, I’ll digress. Patio or no patio, Palatte’s closing was probably for the best, despite my inclination for remorse.

Moving on to the new and positive: Local Breeze. That is the name of the new restaurant planned to occupy Palatte’s former space in the historic Cavness House in Downtown’s historic Roosevelt neighborhood. Original hopes were to open the restaurant this month, but like other similar dining developments right now, please take that with a big grain of kosher salt.

Those behind Local Breeze are some of the same folks who were behind the famed Pischke’s Paradise in Old Town Scottsdale. That is the name of the once-adored restaurant which fell victim to a (sort of) hostile takeover by local chef-heavyweight Robert McGrath. A change of hands that, in turn, ultimately couldn’t survive itself. Good intentions on McGrath’s part or not, karma can be unrelenting.

Sid Campbell, Pischke’s original chef, is now Local Breeze’s main man. Coming out of hiding, Campbell is creating a broad, “island themed” menu boasting lots of locally grown ingredients. For the remorseful Pischke’s followers (and for those who never had an opportunity to eat there to begin with), chef-owner Campbell also plans on immigrating old favorites from the now-defunct restaurant to Local Breeze’s menu. Most notably the Fire Island eggs and firecracker shrimp.

Local Breeze will serve lunch, dinner, as well as breakfast. Plans are also in the works for an ambitious drink list, with a heavy focus on local Arizona wines and beers.

Oh, and don’t forget about that patio. I will get a petition going if I have to.

Local Breeze | localbreeze.com | 606 N. 4th Ave | Downtown Phoenix

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