The soul of North Central Phoenix is about to run a little deeper as Upward Projects, a group of locally-focused restaurateurs headed by Craig & Kris DeMarco and Lauren & Wyatt Bailey, prepares to open their latest vision, Federal Pizza (5210 N. Central Avenue, Phoenix, 85012), in the historic First Federal Savings & Loan building originally designed by famed architect Al Beadle. Federal Pizza joins neighbors Windsor, Churn and Postino Central to create not only a geographic trifecta, but a locally owned dining district integrated into the neighborhoods that surround.
When the restaurant opens to the public on October 9th, diners can look forward to a menu of big healthy salads, sharable appetizers, and perhaps most exciting of all, wood-fired pizzas designed by master baker MJ Coe. Selected to guide the pizza design process, MJ Coe is a rockstar in his own rite, became a certified master baker at the age of 33 and quickly rising to prominence as one of Arizona’s premier local producers. “I was tapped to create a bespoke ciabatta loaf for Postino in the early 2000’s, and we are still baking the same exact recipe 11 years later. The pizza here is going to be designed the same way, to stand the test of time and become a part of peoples lives,” says Coe.
The beverage program at Federal proves to be one-of-a-kind as well, as the entire menu of beer and wine will be available to be picked up to-go, and at a screaming discount. Fueled by the expertise of beverage director Brent Karlicek, mastermind behind the programs at Windsor and Postino, the wine list will be seasonal and progressive, and beers local and regional with an emphasis on small-batch craft selections. For those wondering how to get draft beer to-go, Federal will offer custom Growlers, large reusable glass jugs that can be filled with any of the local and regional craft beers on tap.
“We’re really excited about turning the bank’s old teller lane into a pickup window so you can grab everything without getting out of your car,” says Craig DeMarco. Those opting to dine-in, however, are sure to explore the restaurant’s design, which will pay tribute to Al Beadle’s original work wherever possible and evoke a mid-century feel with modern touches. The 30-foot long butcher block bar will likely be a popular spot, as will the coveted eight seats that surround the wood-fired pizza oven. But there is not a bad seat in the house with floor to ceiling glass keeping the mood light and airy, and while enjoying a pie, the moon might even hit your eye through the glass skylights above.
Federal Pizza opens October 9th for lunch and dinner service seven days a week. Hours are 11a-11p Sunday through Thursday, and 11a – 12p Friday and Saturday. “$5 until 5” will also be available daily. For more information, visit www.upwardprojects.com.