City’s growth entices high-end, sit-down Mexican restaurant

Councilmember Amber Liermann talks with chef Leo Madrigal, founder of Cocina Madrigal, who will bring his high-end Mexican concept to Maricopa. Cocina Madrigal is Yelp's number one ranked restaurant in the country. [City of Maricopa]

Maricopa leaders have been saying that with increasing population comes the shopping, entertainment and dining options for which a city feeling growing pains clamors.

That is the case with the esteemed, award-winning Cocina Madrigal, a restaurant planned for the City Center area.

“It’s because of the growth, and the growth in Maricopa is amazing,” chef and owner Leo Madrigal said of choosing the city for his second restaurant. “I don’t know how many thousands of homes are being built now, and apartments. I have a lot of respect for Maricopa.

“The people who run Maricopa have passion. They know what they want and all they want is the best for the city. And you know what, for me it’s a big deal. So, this is the right time, all those things coming together, it’s the right time for Cocina Madrigal.”

The original Cocina Madrigal at 16th Street and Broadway Road in south Phoenix is recognized among the country’s top Mexican restaurants. It is No. 1 on Yelp’s 2022 ranking of the Top 100 Places to Eat in the U.S., up from fifth in 2021. It also is No. 1 on Trip Advisor’s list of Best Mexican Restaurants in Phoenix.

The upscale, sit-down Mexican restaurant will go on an existing pad at the northeastern corner of Bowlin and White and Parker roads, fronting Bowlin. It will be part of the city’s effort to create an “urban village,” combining a variety of uses around City Hall.

Councilmember Amber Liermann discussed the virtues of the plan in a video at Mayor Nancy Smith’s State of the City address.

“So, the plan right now is to have Cocina Madrigal become a culinary cornerstone of Maricopa City Center, this the area around City Hall, the police headquarters and the library,” Liermann said. “Surrounding those staples with residential, retail and recreation will create a new focal point for the city and help support future development, and we can’t wait.”


Award-winning Cocina Madrigal will open a second location in Maricopa’s City Center, near City Hall. [City of Maricopa]

No timetable for the opening of the restaurant is available, but the city’s Chief Economic Development Officer Nathan Steele said when Madrigal announced his Maricopa location a year ago that he expected activity within 12-18 months. He said Madrigal is a good fit in the city.

“Maricopa is an attractive place for the best and brightest,” Steele said at the time. “(Madrigal) wants to be in Maricopa, and we want him to be here. We value community, and so does he. That’s why he wants to be in City Center by the library and City Hall. He wants to be where people are congregating and getting together. He knows he will be a destination spot, so he doesn’t need to be on 347, because people will find him. And when they do, they’ll have a great dining experience. People in Maricopa want dining options here in town for a date night, the kind of place you can have a great restaurant experience without having to drive 45 minutes.”

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