Community and Culinary Diversity at DeSoto

The Place: DeSoto Central Market
The Location: 915 N. Central Avenue, Phoenix
By Shoshana Leon

Since DeSoto Central Market opened in 2015 in downtown Phoenix, there has been a strong focus on engaging the local community. Built in 1928 as a car dealership, DeSoto is a unique and open space where guests can eat and drink at a variety of restaurants, and socialize in a comfortable setting.

As Director of Operations, Ashlynn Medina manages the venue and plans events, music and markets designed for the community. Ashlynn’s husband Izzy is executive chef, responsible for the menus at three of DeSoto’s restaurants. They met in 2013 when they were both working at Kelly’s at Southbridge in Old Town Scottsdale. Parents of four children, they support each other personally and professionally, and share a passion for the food and beverage industry.

Global Food Options
From coffee and cocktails to seafood and global cuisine, DeSoto offers several diverse and delicious dining options:
DCM Burger Joint offers flavorful and unique burgers, including buffalo chicken, mushroom veggie and the PB&J (peanut butter and jalapeno) burger, as well as a wide selection of beer and cocktails.  Walrus and the Pearl features fresh seafood with an oyster bar, sashimi, shrimp cocktail and more.  Adobo Dragon’s Latin American/Asian fusion food includes bao buns, noodle dishes and tapas.  For breakfast and lunch, Tea & Toast Co. offers handcrafted coffee and tea beverages, and gourmet toasts, including avocado, smoked bacon and crushed banana.

What’s New at DeSoto
The Root and Soul opened at DeSoto in April offering Southern comfort food. Chef Christian Buze, known as Chef Buzz, comes from a well-known Phoenix restaurant family as his cousin is the founder of LoLo’s Chicken and Waffles, and his grandmother is Elizabeth White of Mrs. White’s Golden Rule Café. The Root and Soul’s menu includes Southern favorites such as fried chicken, catfish, collard greens and six-cheese macaroni.

In May, Izzy opened Izzy’s Pantry which features street food from all over the world made from scratch with fresh ingredients. The menu includes tacos, arancini and Udon noodles, as well as salads and sandwiches, including a banh mi and a Cuban. Dessert offerings include churros and zeppoles.

Earlier this year, DeSoto introduced a brewery-in-residence program where breweries from around the country have a pop-up space at DeSoto for three months to showcase their brews to the community.

In addition to great food, craft beers and tasty cocktails, DeSoto engages the community with a variety of Events, including children’s activities, yoga, trivia, festivals and participation in downtown Phoenix’s monthly First Friday festivities. DeSoto’s Sunday Sip and Shop market features local vendors, drink specials and music. It is truly a community space that offers food and fun for everyone.

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