Drone view of the New Square project on Arizona Avenue in Downtown Chandler.
What's New in the D.C. in 2020
2019 was a year of change in Downtown Chandler, and not without a few bumps for local businesses.
But the major projects are about done and everyone is excited for the new year.
If you're a winter visitor or someone who hasn't visited the area in a while, here is an area-by-area rundown of what's been happening.
The Over Easy patio
The Overstreet project in the northern end of the downtown square is nearing capacity.
Flix Brewhouse -- the restaurant/brewery showing first-run movies -- has several new neighbors.
Over Easy, a breakfast and brunch kitchen, opened in the fall and features a comfortable patio.
The Screamery ice-cream shop is across the thoroughfare that runs to the parking garage. It is open daily from noon to 10 pm daily (11 pm on Fridays and Saturdays).
Next door to the Screamery is Sharetea, a bubble tea cafe that features authentic Boba tea popular in Taiwan. Its menu has more than 50 Boba teas, plus other beverages.
Truland Burgers & Greens, a Tucson company, is expected to open its restaurant at the corner of Buffalo Street and Arizona Avenue later this month. It boasts of having a wide array of fresh chopped salads and premium burgers made with hormone/antibiotic-free beef. It will also have a patio featuring craft beers and wine on tap.
Just south of Flix will be La Ristra New Mexican Kitchen & Tequila Bar. Its menu features tapas and stews, among its variety of Southwest fare.
Finally, a warm welcome to Revint Solutions, the office tenant on the second floor of Overstreet.
The new patio behind Craft 64
Just west of Truland Burgers on Buffalo Street is the sushi standby, Eastwind Sushi and Grill, and the new Craft 64 bistro.
Craft 64, which mixes wood-fired pizzas with 30 local craft beers and fine wines, also has created a patio at the rear of the former La Stalla location.
Of course, the Overstreet parking garage is now a year old and convenient for visitors coming from the northern part of Chandler.
Some of the cozy booths in the Ostrich speak-easy below Crust.
San Marcos Resort
The next time you are in Downtown Chandler, take a look at the Crowne Plaza San Marcos resort. They have done considerable work to create a festive area for events, plus introduced a meeting-place bar in the lobby.
The Crust Simply Italian restaurant is known for its pizzas and pastas and patio, while The Ostrich speak-easy at the bottom of the outside stairs attracts guests each evening beginning at 6 (with close at midnight or 2 am on Fridays and Saturdays).
The front patio at The Hidden House.
SanTan Brewing Co. begins its 14th year as a cornerstone in Downtown Chandler.
In 2019 the popular restaurant opened its Spirit House on the west side of the building, featuring its array of distilled spirits. The Spirit House opens at 4 pm Tuesday through Saturday.
Just west of the brewery is a new hotspot, The Hidden House. It opened last summer with a concept comprising four experiences -- fine dining inside the bungalow, a romantic patio in front, a casual bar in the back,and a special event space out back in "the barn."
It is the creation of Gavin Jacobs and Jackie and Elliot Hall, who brought The Brickyard to life.
The garden-like patio behind El Zocalo.
San Marcos Place
Just south of the brewery is the restaurant that many believe launched Downtown Chandler's revival in the early 2000s, El Zocalo Mexican Grille.
El Zocalo still features the best patio, live music and a menu with all of your favorites (including chile relleno).
Their neighbor, the Downtown Chandler Cafe and Bakery, expanded in 2019 and now has indoor and outdoor seating in the back of the restaurant. They are open from 7 am to 3 pm.
Next is a new addition -- from about a year ago -- Mingle + Graze, an interesting concept created by the husband and wife team of Mahfam and Cristobal. They produce meat trays, cheese boards, sandwiches and more, with hints of Persian and Chilean influences. And it's BYOB.
Of course, 2019 was a big year for Sibley's West: The Chandler and Arizona Gift Shop. In addition to being the Chandler Chamber of Commerce's Small Business of the Year, the store received the "Small Business Boost" honor from the Arizona Small Business Association.
The front patio at Sasha's Kitchen.
The new spot at the corner of Arizona Avenue -- in the former Even Stevens location -- is Cheba Hut.
It opened in December and features toasted subs of many varieties, plus drinks and munchies.
They also serve alcohol and have a bar and patio on the colonnade. And they are open from lunch until midnight.
The restaurant row includes Bourbon Jack's (now owned by Murphy's Law), the Original Chop Shop -- the healthy alternative (wink, wink) -- Sasha's Kitchen and Cocktails, and the aforementioned Brickyard.
The Las Palmas Cantina at the corner of Oregon Street has closed but the owner intends to open a Pedal Haus Brewery restaurant to mirror his one in Tempe by spring.
Just south of Cheba Hut is the restaurant purported to have the most authentic Thai dishes in the Valley, Charm Thai.
Open for lunch and dinner, Charm Thai has incredible noodles and curries.
So far this piece has mentioned craft beers, spirits, wines and teas. Now it notes coffee.
Peixote Coffee Roasters in its short history has earned a reputation for amazing coffees, culminating a crop-to-cup experience from Brazil to Chandler.
Their website shows the family's incredible history. Stop in for their amazing coffees, blends and extras.
On the east side of Arizona Avenue, work began on The Tipsy Egg and the Uncommon restaurants in the former Coach & Willie's space but there has been no update since the summer.
SoHo 63 -- at the east end of the block -- continues to thrive as a meeting space for weddings, special occasions, corporate meetings and social events.
Of course, the business that has been in Chandler the longest, Serrano's Mexican Restaurants, celebrated 100 years in the city in September. They continue to produce great meals (and delicious bean dip) in addition to providing banquet spaces for private events.
Dean Laplant stands on the future patio of the new DC Steakhouse.
The biggest news in Downtown Chandler in 2019 was the rapid construction of the New Square project across from the City Hall.
The Spike Lawrence project comprises three buildings: a 50,000-square-foot, three-story office building; a stand-alone building, and a 112-room Hilton Garden Inn hotel.
The one-story building to the north is expected to have a couple of eating options. No announcements have been made.
The majority of space in the office building will be used by Great Western Bank as its Arizona headquarters.
A portion of the first floor of the office building will be the new home of the DC Steakhouse.
The venerable restaurant, a fixture at the corner of San Marcos Place and Boston Street since 2010, will have a larger patio for guests, a dining room with both booths and tables, an expansive bar and lounge, and a private dining room for up to 40 people.
Owners Dean and Lorie Laplant envision a space that retains the current spot's coziness, while allowing for more special events and relaxed socializing. It will be adjacent to the small park and stage area in New Square.
The restaurant and hotel are expected to open in March; the first parts of the project should be completed this month.
No word on who will fill the DC Steakhouse's space.
Oregon Street is now open!
The Downtown Chandler parking issue has been resolved!
The Oregon Street garage opened in October, providing 900 new spaces for visitors, a short walk from both Boston and Chicago streets.
Oregon Street has also been completed, providing access to the garage.
With the new garage, the Overstreet garage and city garages on the east side of Arizona Avenue, there are more than 1,500 spaces available for visitors.
Plus, the free Wave shuttle service is still in action on Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings to take riders from spot to spot in the DC.
Gadzooks is open at Arizona Avenue and Frye.
Chicago to Frye
This area of Downtown Chandler has seen significant change over the last year.
They have been joined in the area by Ghett'Yo Tacos, which offers some of the best street tacos you can have. They are located on Oregon just south of Chicago.
improvMania, the comedy club that has spread into corporate training and children's-theatre activities, has expanded into the former Crisp Greens space just to its north.
The attractive counter at the Civic Market.
Two spots on Washington at Chicago -- on the east side of Arizona Avenue -- also offer food, froth and fun.
The Civic Market -- a breakfast spot that morphs into a lunch hub and then offers wood-fired pizzas for dinner -- now complements the adjacent Quarthaus, the"brewstillery" with the large cornhole lawn and outside gathering area created by Sigrid and Peter Sciacca.
They are not mentioned for any changes but the downtown community has also been boosted by Burst of Butterflies, Paletas Betty, Saba's, Shoe Thrill, Cutting Edge Quilts, Country Clipper, Yes I Do, Pirates Fish and Chips, to name a few, and FLO Yoga and Cycle, which opened its new space on Frye Road in 2019.