In a perfect world, delicious restaurants would remain open for as long as their owners see fit. The owners would make enough money to pay employees and keep their doors open while doing what they love. And yet, the world of restaurants is far from perfect. It takes so much more than a fantastic menu and unique concept to pay off. And, in the end, even after years of success and awards, all it takes is a bad quarter and an entire restaurant can find itself on the way out. For one location restaurant, the closure came unexpectedly, and with little warning proceeded its shuttering.
In Phoenix, Cafe Chenar has been offering a very unique style of food for the last five years. The owners, who are immigrants from Bukhara, a city in Uzbekistan, originally moved to New York, before eventually finding their way to Arizona 20 years ago. If your world geography is a bit fuzzy, Bukhara was once a major stopover on the Silk Road trading route and is located northeast of present-day Iran (sandwiched between Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan. Due to its location as an important trade destination, it has an incredibly unique food style, blending traditional Chinese cuisine with that of the Mediterranean. Cafe Chenar not only focused on providing this food to the masses in Phoenix, but it was a kosher restaurant as well.
Despite serving the community for five years with a food offering that is unlike anything else in metro Phoenix, the restaurant suddenly closed its doors. Cafe Chenar has not responded to any outreach, nor have they made any kind of specific posts on their website or Facebook page. However, its location of 1601 East Bell Road already has signage up as to a new Mediterranean restaurant taking over the location.
Due to the location already having a replacement tenant in place, there is one of two possible answers to the sudden closure. The owners are either pivoting to a Mediterranean-specific setup (unlikely), or the landlord forced Cafe Chenar out and had a new tenant already signed up. As sudden restaurant closures usually leave landlords just as surprised as patrons, the fact that a replacement is already lined up indicates the landlord knew of everything ahead of time.
Regardless, the new Mediterranean restaurant has already stated on its website that “locals and visitors alike brag” about the restaurant, and that it is one of “Arizona’s most well-known Spot(s).” Big talk for a restaurant that has not yet opened. But beyond what the new restaurant is proclaiming on its website, Cafe Chenar and its unique food offering will be missed in greater Phoenix.
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