Does new, big and corporate mean cool and hip? Chandler vs. Gilbert's downtowns. This comes up an awful lot!
If you look at the explosion of Central Phoenix and Arcadia a decade or so ago, it was created and molded by independent mom & pop shops and restaurants (it still has a lot too) in converted homes, rat-pack era built strip malls, garages...even churches. As these areas and businesses flourished, we started to see many of these expand to multi-location (Oregano's, Living Room, Wildflower Bread Co.) and sometimes even corporate giants (Fox Concepts, Maggiore Culinary Concepts, Fertitta Entertainment). You can find the same restaurant brands all over town now such as The Vig, BRIO Tuscan Grille, The Whining Pig, Postinos, and many more out-of-state (Garcia's, Grabbagreen Fruit + Juice, PF Chang's, Ra Sushi).
What I LOVE about Chandler is that most of what you find in Downtown Chandler is ONLY in Chandler. A lot of the reason we do not see the big corporate restaurants in Downtown Chandler as of yet is because we didn't have the building space and the Downtown Chandler Historic Preservation committee wasn't going to let buildings that stood for over 100 years be torn down because of something that might be 'cool' at this moment in this century.
There is a lot to be said about the historic preservation of Downtown Chandler, the history, the charm. Not only do I predict that we will start to see some of our Chandler success stories now popping up in other areas but we will start to see some of those big box restaurants, bars and stores pop up now that there will be new big spaces.
Be Patient, Good Things Take Time. As for Downtown Chandler, you ain't seen nothing yet!!!