Posted 06.18.15 by Lori
La Bocca Urban Pizzeria & Wine Bar, The Handlebar, Gringo Star Street Bar and soon, Pedal Haus
Owner: Julian Wright
For a guy from Pennsylvania, Julian sure does know a lot about what people like in Arizona. The ASU grad opened his first business on Mill Avenue (Jax Thai Bar) in 2000 and has since followed up in Downtown Tempe with the Library Bar & Grill (closed 2010), Canteen Modern Tequila Bar, La Bocca Pizzeria + Wine Bar, The Handlebar, Gringo Star Street Bar and is soon to open his newest concept, the bicycle friendly nanobrewery Pedal Haus.
The best thing about Downtown Tempe is...
First off I love Tempe. I moved back from Scottsdale recently and couldn’t be happier. I like the urban feel, being able to walk and bike to several friend’s houses (I wish they all lived in downtown Tempe), the vibrant scene including all the events at beach park, the chill and friendly people which includes our mayor, city council, city employees (etc…) and the close proximity to almost everything I need, except that elusive good grocery store…
Where did you get the name of your business? What’s your vision?
Fork & Dagger Restaurant Group? By combining Cloak and Dagger (I like spy movies) / Fork’em Devils / knife and fork. My vision? Since the lasik about 20/15. Before that horrible. Could barely find my way out of a room. I have a seriously ripened sense of humor. Poor speller. Big animal lover. I actually do like long walks on the beach.
When your family is visiting from out of town where do you take them to dinner?
They almost always want to eat at La Bocca for one meal. They like it and we’ve shared some great family events there. Then without fail they want Mexican as they live in eastern Canada. Lately my favorite is Revival. That’s where we’ll be going on their next visit. And it’s in the neighborhood and we can walk. Places in Downtown Tempe? I don’t have one because the fun of eating out for me is trying different places. I like Med Fresh Grill for a quick tasty bite.
If I wasn't working today...
I have no idea what you’d be doing if you weren’t working today but if I wasn’t working today I’d probably be doing something active. Lately I’ve been enjoying handily beating my friends in tennis. I also love riding one of my beach cruisers around the neighborhoods surrounding the downtown, occasionally with my dog Boozie in tow.
What's the best thing about owning your own business?
The sh*t piles of money. (If only that were the case.) I like to create things. I like to see people enjoy the things I create. I like the social nature of it. I like to see employees bloom and enjoy their jobs. The annual holiday parties are pretty fun.
My best advice for someone else:
Don’t make excuses for shit. Take control and make it happen. Oh and travel as much as possible. And be nice to people. And don’t take yourself too seriously. My best advice for someone else - depends on the topic and circumstances - but in general just freakin’ live your life and be happy.