Closing: Sol y Sombra

Update 08/16/2009: The restaurant is now officially closed.

During these unusually restrained times, the Phoenix area is abruptly losing yet another solid restaurant. At least, in location and exact likeness.

Sol y Sombra, the acclaimed, stylish tapas restaurant helmed by celebrated local chef Aaron May is the most recent eatery to shutter its doors in what has become a very long line – one particularly lengthy in the city of Scottsdale itself (see: Sea Saw, Tapino’s, Canal, Mandala Tea Room, among many others).


For May, this is actually a twofer, as it was just a couple of days ago that local chatter ignited with the abrupt closing of his other, younger restaurant Autostrada, the hip, casual Italian spot also located along DC Ranch’s Market Street.

May reports this was largely in response to an invariably slow summer season (recession enhanced, of course) at the upscale suburban shopping plaza, and subsequent failed lease negotiations with property owner DMB Realty.

No doubt, Market Street’s remote, suburban location coupled with an extremely wilted regional tourism industry (a factor that weighs particularly heavy with Scottsdale) was an instrumental element not only in the demise of these two once-popular restaurants, but for the entire plaza as well. At its peak just a few years ago, Market Street was one of the area’s premier dining destinations.

Luckily this is in no way a death knell for May. Thanks in large part to the revered restaurant’s loyal following, he hopes to relocate Sol y Sombra (or some version of it) to a new location in the coming year, either elsewhere in Scottsdale, or in Phoenix. Let us not only hope this happens at all, but while we’re relegated to such juicy speculation on where it may find a new home, let me submit my vote for Phoenix. (Just throwing it out there.)

Overeasy and The Lodge, May’s existing (and more centrally located) restaurants, are reportedly performing well. In addition to a possible relocation and re-opening of Sol y Sombra, the chef has confirmed to be entrenched in multiple plans for other new dining ventures. Notably, the yet to be titled gastropub in Old Town Scottsdale due in October, and two Downtown eateries, inside the massive mixed-use development Cityscape near Central Ave and Washington St., slated to open by spring of next year.

As always, stay tuned.

Sol y Sombra closes this weekend, following its weekly brunch service on Sunday.

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