32nd Street Revitalization Project

Lovecraft Unites New Mexican Chiles and Craft Beer in North Phoenix

A pour of Ponderosa Pasture, a saison from Flagstaff’s Wanderlust Brewing at Lovecraft.

Two weaves of dry peppers dangle by the entrance, so long and red they seem to suck the color from the adjacent brick columns. These dusty ristra, common in New Mexico, move in the breeze together with the yellow flag of New Mexico. Inside the building, empty of natural light away from the windows, some of the couches are antiques from the 1940s. Roadhouse? Saloon? Nope. Lovecraft is a craft beer bar.

And not your cookie-cutter craft beer bar, but one with style.

The full name of the beer bar is “Lovecraft / Ale House. Bottle Shop. Smoke Kitchen.” Rebecca Golden, who opened the north-central Phoenix shop last December with her boyfriend, Ryan Castillo, describes Lovecraft as “a restaurant that sells a bunch of beer and kind of has a bar vibe.”

The food is New Mexican: carne adovada, green chile (the sauce), and red and green chiles from our eastern neighbor — some from Hatch, some from beyond. Lovecraft also has a smoker, and barbecues brisket, pork, and chicken. Behind its long bar are 31 taps. What flows cold through them changes rapidly, even by craft beer standards.

The Lovecraft bar and eating area with the "rope wall" in back.

The Lovecraft bar and eating area with the “rope wall” in back.Chris Malloy

“We typically only buy one keg, so we’re rotating all the time,” Golden says. “The cans are the same way. We try not to carry the same stuff.”

On tap alone, Lovecraft carries beer, wine, mead, cider, hard seltzer, and kombucha.

A look at the ciders speaks to Lovecraft’s variety. Golden and Castillo have carried ciders from Superstition Meadery (Prescott), Cider Corps (Mesa), and the young-and-upcoming Crush Craft Cider (Tempe). Right now, from Crush, Lovecraft is pouring a hazy cider made with strawberries and plums, and another cider made with pomegranates and jasmine tea.

The draft beer selection is all over the Arizona state map, and tends to keep its reach to within a few states beyond. Recently, its selection contained offerings ranging geographically from Wanderlust Brewing Company (Flagstaff), to beers made all over the Valley (Peoria to Scottsdale to Mesa), to the excellent Tombstone Brewing Company down south.

A healthy to-go selection of craft beer.

EXPANDA healthy to-go selection of craft beer.Chris Malloy

Beers hew pretty closely to the craft mainstream and don’t venture too far into experimental style. Beers from outside Arizona are still kept mostly to the West. Golden and Castillo often stock offerings from La Cumbre, one of the great New Mexican breweries.

Lovecraft’s food is a backyard marriage between barbecue and New Mexican, compatibility built on similarly deep, soulful flavors kindled from heat applied slow and low.

Using pecan wood and hickory, they smoke meat overnight, shredding chicken onto tacos, and pork and brisket into burritos. Chiles lace the menu about as tightly as the dusty ristra outside. They seem to be in everything, from pozole to queso to stacked enchiladas sluiced with various New Mexican sauces. That includes a “white,” cream-based green chile Golden learned to cook in one New Mexico chile hotbed, La Cruces.

“There are minimal ingredients in our sauces,” Golden says. “We stew them for so long that the chiles do the work.”

In the back room, behind a moveable rope wall, there are games like foosball and giant Jenga. Some days, starting at 3 p.m., Lovecraft offers a tiered happy hour, including select $3 tacos and $3 10-ounce pours.

The expectations of geography and idiosyncrasy shaped by the flag and peppers outside carry over to the food and drink within. Service is kind, upbeat, and when you’ve downed a few beers and ounces of chile sauce, you can grab a Wren House lager or a Tombstone triple IPA to-go.

Phoenix is lucky to have a wealth of craft beer bars. Given this bounty and the ease of routine, you might not be inclined to try a relative newcomer. But in a craft beer climate that has gotten so capable and pervasive that nothing ever seems truly new, Lovecraft sure does.

Lovecraft / Ale House. Bottle Shop. Smoke Kitchen.
3128 East Cactus Road
Hours: 3 to 11 p.m., Tuesday to Thursday; 3 p.m. to midnight, Friday; 11 a.m. to midnight, Saturday; 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., Sunday

Malloy, Chris. “Lovecraft Unites New Mexican Chiles and Craft Beer in North Phoenix” Phoenix New Times, September 19, 2019.


Another New Drinkery and Eatery Opening in the Neighborhood


Area revitalizing continues down the 32nd Street corridor with a new ale house, bottle shop and smoke kitchen opening on the NWC of 32nd Street and Cactus. Lovecraft will open this month offering 25 taps of craft beer, wine and cider, along with a 2-go bottle shop and smoked kitchen.

Rebecca Golden, former owner of 32 Shea, and her partner Ryan Castillo couldn’t wait to get back into the “neighBEERhood”, but this time with hopes of revitalizing another great intersection along the 32nd Street corridor. “We love this brick building (formerly the Smoke House Grill) and could see great potential here”, says Golden. We realize it hasn’t been successful in quite some time, so we put a lot of thought about what it needed. First thing on the list was a facelift. Removing the arches and modernizing the front not only shows the community there is change going on, it also encourages neighboring businesses to do the same. There are so many great neighborhoods in this area with so little choices, so we wanted to give the community a gathering place where they can hang out, play some ping-pong, watch sporting events and enjoy great food and drinks.”

As far as the menu, “I was born and raised in New Mexico and I cannot deny that influence in everything I do, like eating everything with fresh jalapeños. It made sense to make a menu I’d love by combining two great cuisines, slow-cooked smoked meats (since we inherited the smoker from the last joint) and amazing New Mexico cuisine,” stated Golden. “After all, when you eat something spicy you need to wash it down with something and what’s better than delicious craft beer?” Though, Golden did hesitate to call Lovecraft a restaurant, “We really are a craft beer bar that serves food, rather than a full restaurant. This will give us flexibility to grow the menu slowly without all the expectations that come with restaurant life.”

Lovecraft plans on having weekly events that support the community such as open-mic night, live local bands, ping pong tournaments, craft art nights hosted by their neighbors Craft Nights, pop-up dinners with local Chefs, community bingo and events sponsoring local breweries.

One thing Golden was adamant about was the need to support all local businesses. “When people put their lives on the line to open a business, they need community support. After all, if we do good the neighborhood does good and property values increase. Look at what Postino’s did for Arcadia! Small businesses don’t have the resources like franchises do, so setting expectations that things will be perfect is extremely hard for a small business to accomplish. We don’t have executive boards and investors to run our ideas through, we make the best decisions with the resources we have. With that said, if there is an issue talk to the owner or manager before you go to Yelp or review sites. I know I’d prefer to hear it in-person or get an email first before reading it online.”


“ANOTHER NEW DRINKERY AND EATERY OPENING IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD” North 32nd News, December 2018. http://north32ndnews.com/another-new-drinkery-and-eatery-opening-in-the-neighborhood/?fbclid=IwAR0zb0XBjw4AUcdi7vplCAzj6iHxktjeDJpZLD49yIh3ENfpLALQWiiOOm0


Build out of a flagship roastery for Press Coffee in the 32nd and Shea neighborhood of North Phoenix is underway. Owners Jason Kyle, Steve Kraus, Tram Mai and Alex Mason donned hard hats and shovels last week to officially break ground on construction at the site.

The 5,600 sqft facility at 10443 N. 32nd St. will be a full production site for Press Coffee’s whole bean roasting operations. It will also be open to the public with a fully functioning café serving drinks and food with plenty of meeting space. Expected completion of the $3.5 million project is Spring 2019.

The Construction Zone, LTD is serving as the general contractor, architect and designer. The modern design of the flagship roastery will showcase and educate the public about specialty coffee with viewing areas of the roasting rooms and space for Press’ Coffee 101 tastings.

Press has been Arizona’s own local coffee roaster since 2008. It has nine Valley locations in Scottsdale, Tempe, Phoenix and Chandler. Visit Press Coffee online at presscoffee.com and on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram @presscoffee.




“BUILD OUT OF NEW PRESS COFFEE ROASTERY STARTS” North 32nd News, 2018. http://north32ndnews.com/build-out-of-new-press-coffee-roastery-starts/?fbclid=IwAR10-6XITfz9lqwkpUVko4o-in3D_omDMMnSxm8TEsJy1EI-Rk9rToTHHG4

Now Open @ 32nd Street and Shea: Gelato Spot Wood Fired Pizzeria & Dessert Lounge

Opening day for the new Gelato Spot Wood Fired Pizzeria & Dessert Lounge was yesterday, Wednesday September 26th, and the house was packed!

They are located on the NW corner of Shea & 32nd Street where the Chinese restaurant used to be, it has been remodeled and now includes lovely patio seating.
Here’s some background about The Gelato Spot:
There are many works you could use to describe what we do, but one is more important to us than any other: Authentic. It all started with gelato, which meant going straight to the original source, so that’s exactly what we did. We went to Northern Itals and met with gelato masters who had been developing their craft for generations, some for more than 200 years. We built relationships and partnerships that gave us the ability to offer some of the finest and oldest gelato ingredients available in Italy.

When we brought that knowledge home, we empowered the classical North Italian techniques with modern technology to make gelato that was consistently perfect in every batch. If we don’t’ import it directly from Italy, we make it ourselves to ensure that we offer a level of quality that can’t be matched by anyone else, anywhere in the United States.

Gelato was just the beginning. We’ve brought the philosophy that made our company a success to our pizzas and other fine foods. We still focus on making food based on strict old-world standards with the freshest ingredients and most-exclusive imports. We hope that you’ll come in to experience our food today. It would be our pleasure to show you what our dedication means to your dining experience.