North Central News

Historic restaurant to be transformed

By Natalia Jamroz
The iconic Beef Eaters restaurant is set to undergo redevelopment that will turn the vacant building into a modern mix of urban businesses.

The 17,000-square-foot building will house three new tenants. The future occupants include Changing Hands Bookstore, a new concept restaurant managed by local chef Justin Beckett, and Lively Hood—a business that offers meeting, event and office space to business professionals.

Photo by Tim Eigo.

Photo by Tim Eigo.

The former steakhouse is located at Camelback Road and 3rd Avenue, near the Metro light rail. Venue Projects, a local redevelopment company, is leading the revitalization project.

Venue Projects has done adaptive reuse projects in the North Central area before, including helping transform a 1940s strip mall in North Central Phoenix into a lively restaurant called The Windsor, and adjoining artisan ice cream shop dubbed Churn.

“We look for buildings with a sense of history … celebrations, events and business deals that shaped the Valley happened here,” said Jon Kitchell, co-founding partner of Venue Projects.

Beef Eaters opened in 1961 and continued to serve the community for 45 years until it closed in 2006, following the death of its founder, Jay Newton.

Venue Projects aims to bring gatherings back to this historic site, now named The Newton, in honor of Jay Newton. “The existing property has a worthy history in the community and good architectural bones to substantiate its preservation,” said Lorenzo Perez, co-founding partner of Venue Projects.

Original hardwood flooring, leather booths and chairs, and the chandeliers will be restored into materials used in the design of the new space. The new retail, dining and event space will cost about $3 million to shape, Perez said.

“A new energy is coming back to Camelback Road,” said Phoenix Councilman Tom Simplot in response to the development of The Newton. Simplot is one of many people in the Phoenix community who share memories of the old restaurant. He is excited to see the long-vacant eatery transformed into a modern space that people in the community can enjoy the way they once enjoyed Beef Eaters.

Other Newton enthusiasts include Kimber Lanning of Local First Arizona and Shannon Scutari of the Sustainable Communities Collaborative.

The Newton is scheduled to open on Nov. 1.

Natalia Jamroz is a journalism student at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University’s downtown campus.

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