Travel and review website TripAdvisor has awarded Rusconi’s American Kitchen with its 5th Certificate of Excellence in a row. With this announcement the popular Phoenix restaurant is now part of TripAdvisor’s Hall of Fame.
TripAdvisor awards this prestigious honor to business’s who consistently receive great reviews and a four of five rating.
“We’re extremely proud of have received this accolade for five years running because it really shows that our customers are not only happy with our food and service, but also that they want to share their positive experiences at Rusconi’s with others,” says Michael Rusconi, owner and chef of Rusconi’s. “And now to be part of the TripAdvisors’ Hall of Fame is even more humbling.”
Owner and chef Michael Rusconi opened the restaurant more than five years ago to many local and national accolades. Before opening his own restaurant Rusconi re-invented the menu at Lon’s at The Hermosa Inn. He advocates for sustainable food and his resume includes Mobil 4 Stars and nominations for the Arizona Culinary Hall of Fame.
The restaurant is open daily serving lunch Tues. -Fri. along with dinner and brunch on the weekend.
Last year I reported that Phoenix coffee roaster Press Coffee was planning on opening a flagship roastery, it’s almost ready to go. Opening in mid-July it will include three new roasters, classroom & event space and a cafe.
The popular coffee roaster will do all of its roasting in the two-story 5,600 square foot eco-friendly facility. Solar panels on the roof and the use of natural gas will give the roastery energy efficiency. Guests will be able to see the roasting process while they enjoy food and drinks from the lounge area.
“We are thrilled to welcome the community into our new flagship location. The Roastery allows us to share with the public our love for coffee and how we make it. We hope this iconic building and our passion for the seed to cup process will be something Arizona can be proud of for years to come”
A new Probat roaster from Germany will give Press the ability to increase production for years to come of its cold brew and recently released cans. Roasted to perfection, the beans are of the highest quality and sourced from the best coffee farms around the world.
The upstairs will have space for 30 people and will be available for private events and coffee classes.
The cafe will serve and expanded food menu along with beer, wine and liquor. A new addition will be the “adult” cold brew shaker featuring peanut butter whiskey.
For three days Press will sell cups of drip coffee for $1 with all proceeds going to Phoenix Children’s Hospital.
Heading out to lunch and dinner during the hot summer months can be quite a chore. So locally owned Cold Beer & Cheeseburgers is motivating you with Summer Savings including Kids Eat Free a few locations.
Beginning May 28th at their Arcadia, Shea, 7th St and Gilbert(Higley) locations kids 12 and under get a free meal when an adult meal is purchased all day Tuesday. The Kid’s Meal’s are available everyday too and include Cheeseburger Sliders, Chicken Fingers, Grilled Cheese, Mmmac & Cheese and more. A small drink and fries are included for $7.50.
More Summer Savings
That’s just one of the ways to get you to come out in the heat. Other Summer Savings include the return of the popular Summer Secret Scratch Off. 50,000 scratch off cards are ready to be given away at all locations. When redeemed on a future visit guests will receive 10% and have a chance to win these prizes.
$1,000 cash prize
2-night staycation at a luxury resort, $200 tab at Bourbon & Bones and a complimentary lunch at Famous 48
Golf Foursome at a Scottsdale golf course
Up to 30% off next visit
Summer Savings also include the featured deals on food and beer daily including.
Monday – Mac Daddy Monday. All day, $13.50 unlimited toppings on MMMac & Cheese
Happiest Hour in Town. Cold Beers & Cheeseburgers is known for its generous weekly happy hour featuring select appetizers, domestic and craft beer specials.
Tuesday – Cantastic Tuesday. All day, $3 any canned beer and half-off bottles of wine
Wednesday – Pimp Your Burger. All day, $13.50 with unlimited toppings
Thursday – Trivia Thursday. $8.50 tot chos, $5 Dos Equis Mugs, $4 White Claws, $5 Jack Daniels Cocktails
Every Day Ice Cold Beer Buckets. “Buy 6, Save $6;” “Buy 12, Save $12.” Fans can mix and match from a selection of 100 canned and bottled beers.
With Spring approaching the need to keep hydrated becomes necessary and there’s no better way that with lemonade. Just in time is Wow Wow Hawaiian Lemonade releasing their new Spring Seasonal menu of lemonades, smoothies, bowls and more.
It also celebrates the Grand Opening of their new Happy Valley location. The Happy Valley location joins locations in Scottsdale, Tempe and Ahwatukee.
Wow Wow Hawaiian Lemonade Spring menu
The seasonal menu will be available from March 15th – May 31st. Here is the list of new Spring Seasonal menu.
Desert Vibes Lemonade – Served raw and cold pressed, this refreshing mango, strawberry lemonade is mixed with a hint of fresh turmeric. The ombré yellow, orange, red color reminiscent of the colorful desert sunsets.
Desert Vibes Smoothie Bowl. – Similar to the lemonade, the colorful bowl is flavored high with tropical coconut taste and a hint of sparkling kombucha.
Blue Hawaii Toast – Sea inspired toast topped with house made cashew butter spread with blue spirulina, and star cut kiwi, blueberry, organic coconut flakes and local honey.
Paleo Mint Chip Smoothie – A pastel twist on the fan-favorite drink. Nutrient dense and delicious, the mint chip smoothie uses fresh mint, kale and raw cacao, with a drizzle of cacao sauce.
Pea Flower Lemonade – Served raw and cold pressed, this lemonade’s rich purple color comes from Butterfly Pea Flower, which turns a pinkish lavender when fully mixed into the mojito lemonade. It features sprigs of mint and a hint of lime.
Adaptogen Cold Brew – Cold brew mixed with the new adaptogen* blend and coconut cream is a must-try.
Breakfast Cold Brew Smoothie – A morning kick bursting with flavor and nutrients. This smoothie is hand crafted with almond butter, adaptogens*, raw cacao, MCT oil, and paleo/grain-free/organic vegan protein. The best way to start your day!
*The local lemonade shop is introducing a new adaptogen blend on the menu that offers a hybrid of four of nature’s best adaptogen mushrooms which have a wide range of health benefits including immunity support, hormone balance, energy boost and many disease fighting benefits.
To find the closest Wow Wow Hawaiian Lemonade to you check out their website.
If you like loud DJ pumped music with your morning coffee, Bloody Mary or Mimosa there’s plenty of Phoenix restaurants that will keep the party going into the afternoon. The newest is served up CB Live at Desert Ridge Marketplace which kicked off their Om-Lit! brunch this past Sunday.
“We are so excited to launch OM-LIT! at CB Live. Phoenix has some of the best brunch weather in the country and with our amazing patio and a menu like the one we’ve created, we’re thrilled to start making a splash for breakfast, in addition to lunch and dinner.” said Ryan Handelsman, marketing and business director for CB Live.
The boozy breakfast starts every Sunday at 11 a.m. with a new breakfast menu along with Bottomless Mimosas and BYO Bloody Mary’s. The menu includes breakfast classics with inventive twists such as eggs benedict, fried chicken and waffles and omelettes. Healthy food options such as coconut oatmeal are available as well.
Throughout out brunch DJ Myth and DJ V-Easy pump out music from their turntables at the stage above the bar.
CB Live at Desert Ridge Marketplace is at 21001 N. Tatum Blvd. Phoenix 85050. For more information see their website.
It still feels like winter around the country but the boys of summer have arrived in Phoenix for spring training. The 2019 season shouldn’t disappoint nor will the food and drink deals Phoenix restaurants are offering fans. Don’t trash those Cactus League game ticket stubs too quickly because they will score you a food and drink deals at your favorite restaurant.
Here’s my line-up for this years food and drink deals.
Original Breakfast House– Start your day loading up on 5 new breakfast meals for just for spring training. Chile en Nogada Omelette, Steak and Portabella Mushroom Hash, Shrimp and Grits, Cajun Andouille Sausage and Gouda Scramble and Tres Leches Pancakes. No ticket stub needed. Original Breakfast House is at 13623 N. 32nd St. Phoenix 85032.
Arcadia Tavern– Same day game day ticket stub from any team will score you a draft beer for a penny! 4801 E. Indian School Road, Phoenix 85018.
Cider Corps– Cubs and A’s fans take your game day ticket stub from one of the Mesa stadiums for $1 off a pint of cider. On March 14th all pint are $3.14 for National Pi Day(ticket deal not available this day). Cider Corps is at 31 S. Robson Mesa 85210.
Dorian– First select glass of wine, bottle of beer or well cocktail for $3 with same day game ticket. 7419 E. Indian Plaza Drive, Suite B Scottsdale 85251.
FOUND:RE Phoenix Hotel– Need a place to stay when in town, check in with the Play Ball Package and receive 10% off standard room rate, a bucket of beers and peanuts & Cracker Jacks. Reservations good from Fed. 22nd – March 28th. FOUND:RE Phoenix Hotel is at 1100 N. Central Ave. Phoenix 85003.
Urban Margarita– Free steak, chicken or carnitas taco with same day game ticket from any game. Urban Margarita is at 6685 W. Beardsley Rd., #180, Glendale 85308.
Starlite BBQ– All day happy hour pricing with same day ticket stub starting Thurs. Feb. 21st. for 1 drink or food item outside normal happy hour times. Starlite BBQ is at 7620 E Indian School Rd #101, Scottsdale 85251.
Thai Chili 2 Go- All 6 Phoenix area location will trade you your same day ticket stub for a FREE drink or order of Thai Dumplings. See website for a location near you.
Fired Pie- Score 10% off all pizzas when you dine-in after the game with same day game ticket. Find one of their 19 locations near you at http://firedpie.com/
Macayo’s Mexican Restaurants- Show your ticket stub and get a FREE Famous Cheese Crisp. Over 20 Happy Hour food and drink deals are priced $3-$8. Steal 2nd and take 3rd with that deal. Available at all 8 locations around Phoenix. http://www.macayo.com/
Maggiore’s family restaurants dates back to the late 1970’s in Phoenix. Tomaso led the way with his iconic restaurant Tomaso’s Italian Restaurant at Camelback and 32nd St. and his son Joey has learned how to open successful restaurants. In mid February, Joey & Christina Maggiore and partner Flora Tersigni introduce their newest concept The Sicilian Baker Cannoli Bar & Market.
The Sicilian Baker joins the groups Hash Kitchen and The Sicilian Butcher, favorites among Phoenix restaurants. The Sicilian Baker Cannoli Bar & Market will be located next door to The Sicilian Butcher in Phoenix.
Build-your-own- cannoli -bar
Sign me up for the build-your-own cannoli bar along with fresh pasta, meats and cheeses from the market. Master pastry chef Giovanni La Rosa, a cousin of Maggiore is working with them from Sicily to create specialized desserts and pastries.
The signature cannoli bar will feature 10 flavored creams for customers to choose from. Mix and match and choose your cannoli shell dipped or not we can have fun here. Small to foot long shells will be available.
“This is definitely something one-of-a-kind in the United States,” said Maggiore. “We’re bringing Sicily to the footsteps of Phoenix with what we’re building next to the Tatum and Greenway location.”
The spacious restaurant designed by Cristina features black porcelain tile, sliding barn doors and colorful food cases. Smell and taste fresh cassattas, sfinci (Italian treats) from pastry chefs as you linger between the 2 concepts.
Expanding the Sicilian Baker
The Maggiore’s have their eyes on 2 additional locations for the Sicilian Baker. The will open next door to the Sicilian Butcher in Chandler and have eyes on the west valley.
The new bakeries are planning for a 2019 opening with more to follow throughout Arizona.
The Maggiore’s should open The Sicilian Butcher in Chandler(3151 W. Frye Rd.) in March 2019 with the bakery to follow.
Local fast casual Thai Chili 2 Go is off to a quick start in the new year as they race to open their first of several Phoenix restaurants Jan. 5th 2019. It’s the seventh location for the popular restaurant and will open at 2750 W. Dove Valley Rd. Phoenix Suite 180.
For the grand opening on the 5th, the first 100 people will get a FREE entree and dumplings. Drunken Noodles, Pad Thai and Red Curry are popular dishes to choose from.
“It’s been a great pleasure to watch the success of our East Valley locations, and now we’re recognizing and answering the demand for traditional and delicious Thai food in the north valley market as well,” says Owner Akshat Sethi. “We began our expansion into this area with our Scottsdale location in the Promenade and are thrilled to see that this market continues to support the need for more Thai Chili 2 Go locations.”
Through Jan. 31st guests get a FREE dumpling appetizer with entrée purchase and get 2nd entrée at 50% off. All locations are open daily from 11 a.m. – 9 p.m.
Thai Chili 2 Go offers dine-in, to-go, delivery via UberEats, DoorDash, GrubHub. Find a location near you and orders can be placed here.
The 6th location of The Whining Pig Beer & Wine Bar has opened in north Phoenix at Desert Ridge Marketplace. Across from Dave & Buster’s The Whining Pig will be the neighborhoods go to wine and beer bar that occupies more than 4,000 square feet.
The friendly and knowledgeable staff pours wines from around the world and over 125 craft beers from rotating taps. A selection of grilled cheese sandwiches and meat & cheese plates are available off the limited menu.
Vintage boards games and other forms of entertainment make the place good hang out with friends and family.
The bar opens daily at 1 p.m. and stays open til the late evening and early morning hours.
There’s a lot of BBQ joints in and around Phoenix with more on the way. It’s one of my favorite foods so it’s always good to see what’s what and who’s who in the BBQ world. More times than not the people are just as good as the food they serve, this is one pit masters journey into the world of BBQ and smoked meats.
I visited Naked BBQ to taste the meats and get the lowdown from Oren Hartman at his Scottsdale location. His affordable smoked meats and friendly service & atmosphere have Oren thinking about expanding his “Eat Naked” philosophy. Not one for the competition circuit he prefers to spend his time at the restaurants or any number of catering events he does with his staff and customers.
He has many friends in the BBQ community in Arizona and from his travels and many come through for a taste.
Growing up in New York there wasn’t much BBQ but college in Madison WI. and living in Chicago helped open his eyes to smoked meats.
Corporate America had Oren travel the country most weeks and not a fan of steakhouse dinners he would visit BBQ pits in the south and mid-west. When a buyout of the company allowed Oren to retire early he knew BBQ was his next career.
After much research and development Oren opened Naked BBQ 4 years ago at Bell Rd. & 23rd Ave. in north Phoenix and a Scottsdale location last year.
Naked BBQ is named as one of the 100 restaurants by Arizona Republic food editor Dominic Armato in his recent article “The Ultimate Guide to Phoenix Restaurants”.
The meats at Naked BBQ
The aromas of the oak and pecan wood capture you right when you walk in the door as you make your way up to the counter and menu board. No surprises here brisket, pulled pork, ribs, sausage, smoked chicken and few sides are all you need. Smoked in a meat carousel for up to 16 hours meats are usually pulled sooner if they tasted the way they should.
Naked is the way your meats arrive with 4 sauces available if you choose to. My first tray arrives with strips of brisket that are moist and have a thin layer of fat and are well smoked. My St. Louis style pork ribs tender and cling to the bone just my bite to help fall off. A side of warm mixed beans have chunks of meat scraps and a tinge of heat. Not a big fan of potato salad only a bite or two and I’ll save the calories for the meats.
Tray two brought 2 kinds of smoked sausage, pulled pork, mac n cheese and creamy & Carolina style cole slaws. The pile of pulled pork was juicy and flavorful.
Sausage is low on my BBQ priority list so it was good to taste the sausage situation. A lingering spiced sausage and a herbed savory link set the bar for me as I’ll have to start to save room for the links. All three sides were emptied as who can’t resist mac & cheese and I’m always craving a good home cole slaw(s).
Friday and Saturday night specials Oren smokes up Prime Rib then Brontosaurus (beef) ribs respectively.
Sauce it up
If you prefer to dress you meats with sauce there are 4 styles to choose from. Sweet, spicy, a North Carolina vinegar and a rarely seen South Carolina mustard sauce will give you a look at regionally diverse sauces.
If you want more heat ask for the hot pepper paste to stir into your sauces. If you dare taste the paste naked with the meat. A few local beers are on tap to help tamper down the heat.
Scouting for other locations to open Naked BBQ, collaborations with other pitmasters & friends and playing around with a retail line of sauces and rubs Oren’s second career tastes better than his first.