No Mo’ Coco’s

Goodbye Coco's Bakery

A fixture since the mid-1960s, Coco’s Bakery in downtown Scottsdale closes forever this afternoon at 2 p.m. Sandwiched between Fashion Square anchor tenant Barney’s of New York and the most architecturally redeeming high density condo project in town, Optima Camelview, Coco’s was also trapped between generational demographics. It was right across Scottsdale Road from the offices of the pro-development, anti-General Plan Scottsdale Area Chamber of Commerce.

From the Coco’s corporate website:

It all began back in 1948, with one little restaurant along Pacific Coast Highway in Orange County, California. Today, there are over 110 Coco’s Bakery Restaurants in the Western United States including California, Arizona and Nevada.

Maybe it will be 109 after today.

Sitting on arguably the most underutilized real estate in Scottsdale, it was just a matter of time before Westcor/Macerich (Fashion Square owners) didn’t renew the lease. A long-anticipated highrise mixed use condo (or apartment, depending upon the market) will eventually replace Coco’s, the Day’s Inn immediately west, and probably the award-winning Desert Stages Theater to the north.

Macerich has previously said that Desert Stages will be accommodated in some fashion in whatever is eventually built. I hope they keep that promise.

Coco’s corporate masters (including Advantica/Denney’s and currently Catalina Restaurant Group), don’t seem real eager to chase the market by updating the model. Certainly this isn’t the case in Scottsdale where it doesn’t make sense to invest in a property that’s living on borrowed time.

I wouldn’t call myself a Coco’s aficionado. However, there are a lot of folks out there who are quietly sad to see it go. Retired radio/TV personality Norm Seeley reminisced about it last week on his blog.

There are probably also a lot of “bar district” patrons who will miss it, too.

‘The price of progress,’ includes saying goodbye to the old in order to welcome the new. However, I think many of us, even some too young to pine for Coco’s, recognize that with every such goodbye we also lose a little piece of who we are and how we got here.

I rode a bicycle with a carbon-fiber frame to Coco’s this morning to take pictures using a digital Nikon that will produce better photos than what I could have shot with my Nikon FTN Photomic. I still love the old FTN, though, and I still have my Raleigh Team Professional with its Reynolds 531SL double-butted steel tube frame and all Campy Super Record aluminum and titanium gruppo, even though it is very dusty.

But, my wife made an appointment for me with the optometrist this afternoon. I’ve forestalled it for a couple of years with readers from the dollar store, but I may wind up walking out with my first pair of real glasses.

I hope that unlike Coco’s Bakery in Scottsdale, I haven’t outlived my usefulness.

We’re taking my mother-in-law (who used to work the counter at Lute’s Pharmacy) to Coco’s for coffee this morning. I may post more in a bit.

The counter at Lute's Pharmacy, Scottsdale, 1950's

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1 Comment

  1. John, I couldn’t go to Coco’s to see the end. I guess it’s all the memories that would have come flooding back about that area of Scottsdale and the opening of a Burger Joint named Coco’s.

    One of those memories is how my Mom and Dad were offered the land at Camelback and Scottsdale Road for a “song”, as my Mother used to tell me, but turned it down.
    Don’t go there Norm….

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