New About Town: Ghost Ranch, The Churchill, Ramen Hood

With the kids back in school, I find myself back to exploring the food scene, and there is no shortage of new openings in the Valley from which to choose.  Most recently, I have checked out three new spots in the Valley, from Tempe to downtown Phoenix and North Scottsdale.

First of all, there is Aaron Chamberlin’s new concept, Ghost Ranch, a healthy take on Southwest Cuisine located near his Tempe Public Market Cafe at the intersection of Warner and Rural roads in Tempe.  When I first met Aaron two years ago, he told me of his dream to open this concept, named for Georgia O’Keeffe’s famous ranch outside of Santa Fe.  The cuisine hits the spot, with plates like Grilled Trout, Shrimp Ceviche and Vegetable Enchiladas.  If you care for something heartier, I recommend the Queso Fundido, the Green Chile Burger and the Chimayo Chile Braised Pork Tacos.  I went for the soft opening, and cannot wait to return to sip on a prickly pear frozé, whiling away the day noshing on chips and guacamole.  Que rico!!

Ghost Ranch, 1006 E. Warner Rd., Tempe

Interior of Ghost Ranch, Aaron Chamberlin’s new restaurant in Tempe.

The aforementioned prickly pear frozé.

I am still craving the Grilled Trout.

A friend of mine recently lamented that while there are a number of establishments offering ramen nowadays, she was not ready to commit without being able to customize it to her liking.  Lucky for her and for countless others, Ramen Hood has opened on the northeast corner of the 101 and Frank Lloyd Wright Boulevard.  Ramen Hood is a fast casual concept where you can design your ideal bowl of ramen for $10.75.  You choose the noodles (wheat based or gluten free), the broth (pork, soy sauce, spicy miso, or vegetarian), the protein (pork, beef, teriyaki chicken, tofu), and finish it with large variety of tasty toppings.  Owner James Xie noticed the popularity of fast casual concepts, from pizza to poke, and felt there was a demand for ramen.  Judging by the crowds on a Friday night when I was there, I think he may have a winner.

Ramen Hood, 15807 N. Frank Lloyd Wright Blvd., Suite 105, Scottsdale

Ramen bowls made to order to your liking at Ramen Hood.

One of the more ambitious projects to open downtown, The Churchill gives you one more great reason to check out the Roosevelt Row (Ro-Ro) neighborhood if you haven’t already done so.  Ten locally owned shops, restaurants and bars housed in 20 repurposed shipping containers share a central open-air courtyard on the corner of Garfield and 1st Street.

Shops include Cosas (colorful gifts from Mexico), State Forty-Eight (amazing t-shirts celebrating our great state), Gather (home and lifestyle), and Sauvage (“honest wines at an affordable price”).  Eating options range from pizza at Freak Brothers, tacos at Provecho, sandwiches at Breadwinner (same owner as EVO in Scottsdale) to açaí bowls and smoothies at Foxy Fruit.  And you will find plenty of libations to quench your thirst, such as craft brews at The Brill Line and cocktails at Pobrecito, Jason Asher’s latest and greatest (of UnderTow fame…see my post here).  As tonight is First Friday downtown, it would be the perfect excuse to grab a group of friends for a mean game of shuttlecock while listening to some live music.

The Churchill, 901 N. 1st St., Phoenix

Hope you find a chance in the next few weeks to try one of these out!  If you do, shoot me a line and let me what you loved!  xoM

The open-air courtyard of The Churchill.

Tacos from Provecho.

Freak Brothers’ pizza.

Jason Asher works his magic at Pobrecito.

I am crazy about the palm wall paper, and the drinks, of course.

Who doesn’t need a Frida Kahlo ring from Cosas, I ask???

All photos by Marci Symington for

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