Now Closed: Downtown’s Phoenix Public Market Café

After what was to initially be a temporary shuttering due to COVID-19, Phoenix Public Market Café has permanently closed in downtown Phoenix.

The restaurant had announced via Instagram in March it would cease operations until further notice. “As a small business, it is difficult to make such a decision,” the posts read, “but we know it is the right one to make to ensure all our staff and valued customers are safe and healthy.”

By phone, Phoenix Public Market Café chef and owner Aaron Chamberlin now says the closure is for good. The space didn’t have much longer on its lease, and COVID has affected its main customer base of downtown ASU students and convention and business travelers.

“I could open and spend the next two years losing money,” he says. “I’m just not willing to do that, unfortunately.”

Chamberlin opened the café in spring 2013.

Last summer, Chamberlin announced that he was stepping away from his Tempe establishments, Tempe Public Market Café and Ghost Ranch. Tempe Public Market Café permanently closed in January. Chamberlin also told New Times this February, before the pandemic, that he was shifting to a new project called Chef Dad, meant to help families adopt healthier eating habits.

Now, though, Chamberlin says he’s taking something of a break. “I’ve woken up and gone to a restaurant for the past 30 years,” he says, explaining he and his wife have recently had a new baby. He says he’s taking some time to reevaluate his next steps.

Taco Chelo on Roosevelt Row, Chamberlin’s other restaurant, is still in operation.

“Taco Chelo will continue,” Chamberlin says. “We’re doing great there.”