Everyone loves a bad boy. And thanks to Chico Malo in downtown Phoenix, there’s a new—and spicy —one in town. As the city’s center continues to grow and evolve its palate, the one thing lacking in the culinary zeitgeist has been fine Mexican cuisine with a little bit of edge. Enter chef Chris McKinley on his majestic steed of epicurean prowess, armed with the talents he acquired in the fine-dining space as head toque at Atlas Bistro and owner of now-defunct The Local. McKinley oversaw Chico Malo’s launch and menu development, intent on marrying his adventurous taste with staples of classic South American cuisine. Expect familiar fare, like tacos and chilaquiles, with some more audacious items, like Peruvian crudo and craft cocktails made with premium tequila and mezcal. Pair that with a bright, brazen design aesthetic, and you have yourself an eatery that lives up to its Spanish translation. Oh, yes— this is one “bad boy” you won’t be able to resist. 50 W. Jefferson St.
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