Varsity Tavern opens on Mill Ave. for food, fun and drinks.

Texas-based Reign Group is about to open their second concept this year along Tempe’s Mill Ave. When the Varsity Tavern opens in early December it will be located upstairs from Rodeo Ranch which opened in August.

Varsity Tavern will offer a dine, drink and play atmosphere both day and night with over 8,000 square feet of fun. A wrap around balcony will offer guests a great view of Mill Ave., Sun Devil Stadium and the sunset.

“With Varsity Tavern, we’re pushing the dining and entertainment limits on Mill. Ave.” says Josh Regan, co-owner of Reign Group. “We fully expect these concepts help Mill Ave. become an undisputed epicenter of the dine-drink-play movement in the valley” says Reagan.

Shrimp and Pasta. All photos courtesy of Duality PR & Varsity Tavern

Dine

Executive chef Albert Hernandez is no stranger to the Mill Ave. dining scene as he was the executive chef at Monti’s La Casa Vieja. The menu is inspired by James Beard award-winning chef Robert McGrath who helped Hernandez create the Texas style food with an Arizona twist.

The menu includes unique dishes such as Pot Roast sliders, Meat Toothpicks with Chimichurri & mashed potatoes and the Sloppiest Of Jospeh’s on an Onion Roll. Brunch will be served on Sundays and Mondays and offer Potted Huevos Rancheros, Big Benny and Bananas Foster french Toast.

Drink

Guests can expect a wide range of cocktails, craft beers and wine at Varsity Tavern. Whether it’s a Bloody Mary at Sunday brunch or bottle service on a Friday night all will quench people’s thirst.

A full-time craft cocktail artist is on staff and has created cocktails such as Spicy Margarita and Blueberry Mojito.

Play at Varsity Tavern

The sports bar turned nightclub atmosphere will offer DJ spinning most nights and hi-def television’s for sports fans. Nightly promotions will offer Gold Fish Races on Monday’s and Bada Bingo on Wednesday’s. A lively Happy Hour also happens on a regular basis.

Varsity Tavern is on the southeast corner of Mill Ave. & 5th St. Hours are Mon. – Wed. 11 a.m. – midnight, Thurs. & Fri 11 a.m. – 2 a.m., Sat 10:30 a.m. – 2 a.m. and Sun. 10:30 a.m. – midnight. For more information visit their website.

Thirsty Lion Gastropub now offers brunch menu

Starting today all 3 Thirsty Lion Gastropubs around Phoenix will start offering brunch items on the menu. From 10:00 a.m – 2 p.m. guests can choose from 15 scratch made entrees that would satisfy any appetite.

In addition four new Bloody Mary’s have been added to the menu including Classic, Sriracha, Wasabi and Bacon. Four new Mimosa’s have also been added including Classic, Passion fruit, Blood Orange and Raspberry.

Greek Yogurt and Chia Seed Breakfast Bowl

A few of the new brunch menu highlights include….

  • Spicy Chicken & Waffles– Marinated in jalapeño buttermilk batter, crispy-fried with Belgian waffle, maple pepper bacon and maple syrup. 13.95
  • Greek Yogurt & Chia Seed Breakfast Bowl– Chia honey yogurt, blueberries, blackberries, strawberries, apples, mangos and gluten-free granola. 9.95
  • Whiskey French Toast –  Dipped in cinnamon, whiskey & Irish cream egg batter, coated with crunchy flakes and grilled with whipped cream and whiskey syrup. 11.95 Maple syrup available for those under 21.
  • Adobo Pork Benedict– Jalapeño cornbread, red chili pork, guajillo sauce, poached eggs and chipotle hollandaise with roasted Yukon potatoes. 12.95

    Spicy Chicken & Waffle. All photos courtesy of Claire Natalie of Evolve Public Relations and Marketing

The three Valley locations are 2000 E. Rio Salado Parkway, Suite 1041 in Tempe, 7014 E. Camelback Road, Suite 1423 in Scottsdale and 2212 E. Williams Field Road in Gilbert. To see the full brunch menu go to http://www.thirstyliongastropub.com/

 

Huss Brewing Co. celebrates 5 Years of Chasing Dreams

One of Arizona’s favorite craft beer brewers, Huss Brewing Co. celebrates its 5th anniversary with a festival. The “5 Years of Chasing Dreams” festival will be Saturday October 27th at Singh Meadows in Tempe. The brewery was started by Leah and Jeff Huss.

“When we started five years ago, Jeff would brew the beer, filter the beer, deliver the beer and sell the beer out of the back of our very beat up F-150 pickup truck.” says Leah Huss. Huss Brewing now have a Tempe and Phoenix Taproom and legions of fans(myself included) can find the beers throughout Arizona on tap in restaurants and in cans in retailers.

The fun starts at 4 p.m. and will include live music from Huss’s Uptown Taproom GM Mike Chapman and Nashville based Los Colognes will headline. Award-winning Huss’s Family of Beers and seasonal & small batch beers will be poured and gourmet food served from local chefs.

The family friendly event will offer a kid friendly roast your own S’mores kit.

Tickets for the 5 Years of Chasing Dreams festival are $10 with food and beer purchased separately. Kids under 15 are free and tickets can be purchased here.

Singh Meadows is at 1490 E. Weber Dr. Tempe 85281.

 

Much anticipated Ghost Ranch to open August 27th

One of the most highly anticipated restaurant openings of 2018 is happening as August ends when Aaron Chamblerin’s Ghost Ranch opens on the 27th. It’s been a busy year for Chamberlin having opened Taco Chelo in downtown Phoenix and Ghost Ranch’s neighbor Tempe Public Market. He also sold his central Phoenix restaurant St. Francis to focus on opening Ghost Ranch.

All photos courtesy of Ghost Ranch

Eat at Ghost Ranch

The modern Southwestern restaurant located is on the same corner as TPM at the northeast corner of Rural & Warner. The restaurant will serve lunch and dinner on weekdays and brunch and dinner on weekends.

The menu will focus on cuisine from northern Mexico, Arizona, Texas and New Mexico combining the culinary talents of Chamberlin and chefs Rene Andrade  & Roberto Centeno. Both chefs come to Chamberlin Hospitality from other Phoenix area restaurants and will offer dishes from their upbringing in Nogales.

Ghost Ranch
Chile Relleno

“One of my favorite things in the world is the smell of roasting chiles, and it was that smell that made me want to open up a restaurant that embodied the bold flavors of the Southwest,” said Chamberlin. “Rene and Roberto have such a deep understanding of the history, culture and flavors of the region — they are the perfect talents to help make my dream a reality.”

The menu includes red and green chile smothered enchiladas, cowboy steaks, seasonal vegetables from local farmers and grilled trout from the wood smoking grill. Seasonal soups and salads will be on the menu as well.

A beer and wine list has been carefully created as are signature cocktails made with regional ingredients and spirits.

Follow my Instagram @SandyWass as I will be headed to preview Ghost Ranch next week and will be posting from there.

Ghost Ranch is in the Landis Crossing shopping center at 1006 E. Warner Rd Tempe 85254. http://GhostRanchAZ.com.

The Rafter Room offers cocktails upstairs in Tempe’s Social Hall

The Rafter Room opened this weekend offering guests a rum and tequila focused cocktail list. The newest cocktail hideaway is upstairs in the loft of Tempe’s Social Hall which opened in January. With the completion of The Rafter Room the two-story facility offers guests over 10,000 square feet of space perfect for happy hour and hanging out.

Social Hall cocktails

The Rafter Room design

The Rafter Room was designed Camila Gibbs and offers ” a moodier, edgier evolution” compared to downstairs. The converted barn has triple vaulted ceilings, vintage voting booth lights, patina walls and a raised stage for presentations and live music. According to co-owner Mike Kenney “The space has an industrial, secret hideaway type of vibe that really sets it apart from the restaurant down below.”

All photos courtesy of Social Hall

Social Hall cocktail and food offerings

The Latin inspired menu downstairs will be available upstairs with Pork Belly Street Tacos, Chicano Steak Frites and Huevos Rancheros and more. “Expect an elevated tequila and rum bar program, small-batch and barrel-aged spirits, among other offerings,” said Kenney.

The cocktail program was created to compliment the menu of Social Hall.

Social Hall is at 715 S. McClintock Dr. Tempe 85281. 480-747-3851. For more information see their website.

Pita Jungle launches Seasonal Crafts Menu June 19th

People want options for their diet and next weeks launch of their Seasonal Crafts Menu, Pita Jungle gives customers options. With 7 new dishes, 7 protein options and 3 sides guests will have plenty of options to mix and match with.

4 new drinks will also be available on their cocktail menu along with a new Vegan and Gluten-Free menu.

Veggie-Quinoa Stir Fry with Kimchi. All photos courtesy of Pita Jungle.

Seasonal Crafts Menu

Whether your diet allows you to eat all on the menu or you prefer Vegan or Gluten Free dishes all diets are accommodated.

  • Avocado Hummus Tostada: baked corn tortilla, avocado hummus, Tuscan kale and cabbage slaw, avocado, pickled onions, garlic, pico de gallo, jungle damage green sriracha and cumin-yogurt sauce
  • Barley & Beluga Lentil Fetoosh Bowl: toasted barley, beluga lentils, Tuscan kale, roma tomatoes, Persian cucumbers, red bell pepper, radish, red and green onions, garlic, fresh jalapeno, fresh mint, roasted pumpkin seeds, dried cranberries, pomegranate vinaigrette and pita chips
  • Veggie-Quinoa Stir Fry with Kimchi:  red quinoa, broccoli, carrots , mushrooms, baby spinach, red onions,  minced garlic and ginger, cage free egg, jungle damage green sriracha and kimchi
  • Crouching Kale & Hidden Berry Bowl: Tuscan kale, blueberry, pomegranate seeds, carrots, fresh jalapeno, white and red cabbage, red bell peppers, garlic, ginger, fresh mint, toasted almonds and Thai-tahini dressing
  • Avocado & Garbanzo Southwest Bowl: avocado, chickpeas, red quinoa, roma tomatoes, Persian cucumbers, celery, roasted jalapenos, organic blue corn chips, pickled onions, fresh mint and parsley, minced garlic, pumpkin seeds, cumin and herb-honey-apple-cider vinaigrette
  • Brownie Ice Cream Sandwich: gluten-free brownie, vanilla ice cream, strawberry and blueberry
  • Super Perfect Yogurt Delight: barley, pomegranate seeds, pistachio, blueberry, local AZ honey, Greek yogurt, cinnamon and rose-water

    Avocado Hummus Tostada

Sides and Protein Add-Ons

Add a protein or experience one of these new side dishes to satisfy your appetite.

Sides:

  • Lebanese Potato Salad (contains eggs)
  • Gingered Roasted Sweet Potatoes
  • Barley & Beluga Lentils

Protein Add-Ons:

  • Wood-Fired Norwegian Salmon
  • Grilled Marinated All-Natural Chicken Breast
  • Mediterranean Meatballs (grass-fed beef)
  • Taco Style Ground Beef (grass-fed)
  • Organic Baked Marinated Tofu
  • Cage-Free Skillet or Boiled Egg
  • Baked Falafel

To find a Pita Jungle location near go to http://www.pitajungle.com/

It’s National Italian Beef Week at Portillo’s

Chicago foodies around the country get ready as your favorite hometown sandwich, Italian Beef is celebrated at Portillo’s the week of May 21st-27th with National Italian Beef Week.

All 50 plus Portillo’s around the country are celebrating with 2 regular Italian Beef  sandwiches for only $10.

Portillo’s Rhyme Time Challenge

In addition to the great food deal customers are invited to submit rhymes for their Rhyme Time Challenge. Known for the rhymes that staff call out when customers orders are ready such as “Number 9 it’s time to dine” or “Number 7 you’re in heaven” customers can now create their own rhyme for prizes.

Customers are invited to submit their rhymes here during National Italian Beef Week. All entries must end with the number 1-9, not already being used, no inappropriate language and must be a rhyme.

The winner will receive Portillo’s food for a year and have their rhyme used nationwide. 2nd and 3rd place winners will get a swag bag and a $25 gift card.

For more information and to find a location near you check their website.

Chompie’s offers baseball fans buy one, get one free burgers and hot dogs

Burgers and hot dogs go hand in hand with baseball and Chompie’s is celebrating the arrival of the 2018 Cactus League with Buy one Get one FREE burgers and hot dogs. The month-long promotion kicks off Monday February 19th – March 30th.

Whether you’re going to a game or just looking for a bite to eat this deal is for everybody, no ticket necessary.

Buy one Get one FREE

Chompie’s line-up offers 6 USDA Choice Angus Beef 1/2 lb. burgers and 2 Hebrew National hot dogs to choose from or you can pinch hit with a limited time menu with 4 new burgers and 2 new hot dogs.

Score with the Classic Borenstein burger ($11.99), Original Grilled Patty Melt ($12.99) or the Chicago Dog ($7.99) off the menu or get relieved with the new Philly Steak burger ($13.99), Country Fried Steak burger ($13.99) or Reuben Dog ($8.99) you’ll walk off a winner.

All burgers are served with fries and cole slaw and on a Sesame Brioche bun. A gluten free bun can be substituted for $1.49.

Playing by the rules

This home run of a deal is for dine-in customers who buy 2 drinks and 1 hot dog or burger and get another burger or hot dog FREE. You can mix n match from any of the burgers or hot dogs.

This offer is not available on March 17th (St. Patrick’s Day) and is available at all 5 Chompie’s location. To find a Chompie’s near you go to chompies.com

 

 

Quartiere serves Italian food in community gathering spot.

With successful beer and pub grub establishments like Boulders on Broadway and others in the east valley restaurateurs Erick and Rochelle Geryol switch gears to open Quartiere.

Their new Tempe restaurant opened quietly in December serving  Italian food with the SLOW movement in mind and it also serves a a community gathering spot.

Quartiere
Fresh bread

What is Quartiere?

Quartiere translates to “neighborhood” in Italian and serves hand tossed pizzas, fresh breads, entrées and appetizers.  Local ingredients will be used when seasonally available.  Quartiere serves “dishes for the people” include antipasto plate ($11.99), Chicken Frito salad ($9.99) and Short Rib Ravioli ($15.99). Pizza’s start at $9.99.

“The Quartiere is a little different for us. Even though it’s on the main road, once you walk through the gates, it’s like a little hideaway,” said Rochelle. “We’re looking forward to being a spot where friends and families can meet, and we’re excited to be able to share foods made with local ingredients with our neighbors.”

Beers and wines are poured from a tap along with selections by the bottle including an Italian house wine that compliment the food.

Mozza sticks

Dog friendly patio, Happy Hour and more.

The 5,000 sq. ft restaurant also includes a shaded dog friendly patio if your bringing your 4 legged friend out for a bite to eat.

Happy Hour starts at 3 p.m. til 6 p.m. Monday – Friday with guests enjoying $1.25 off wine, beer and spirits. Tuesday bring a $5 wine & appetizer tasting and on Wednesday 1 topping pizzas are 1/2 price and $4 rotating beer special.

Bring you Spring Training game ticket stub from February 23rd – April 1st and buy entrée or appetizer at regular price and get a 2nd of equal or lesser value at 1/2 price.

Quartiere is at 2700 S. Mill Ave. Tempe 85282 and more information can be found on their website.

 

Santa Barbara Catering featured on Food Network’s Chopped in February

Arizona chefs and restaurants have been well represented over the years on cable and network television as food challenge and travel shows as have burst into prime time. You can now add Tempe’s Santa Barbara Catering and its executive sous chef Marissa Delgado to the list as they will be featured on the Food Network’s Chopped premiering Tuesday February 13th at 8pm.

Santa Barbara Catering
Executive Sous Chef Delgado in action

Executive Sous Chef Marissa Delgado

Delgado is a  perfect fit for television with her spunky attitude and her kitchen creativity with a reputation for molecular gastronomy and pastry making. With Santa Barbara Catering for 7 years, Delgado has limitless options in the catering kitchen.

“Being able to represent not only Arizona, but also the catering industry on national television was  an experience that I am extremely proud of. My culinary depth as a catering chef helped to prepare me for this fast paced challenge. Also, having executed so many custom menus for our clients, I was able to quickly plan a creative strategy during the competition. ” said Delgado.

Tune in to see how Delgado did with her challenge and its results.

Santa Barbara Catering

It’s should be no surprise that Santa Barbara Catering is making it to a tv screen near you as the company has been a premier caterer around the Phoenix area for over 25 years. With its menu creativity and more they’ve received numerous accolades in the catering industry including being named “International Caterer of the Year” by International Catering Association.

In addition to catering they also operate Palette at the Phoenix Art Museum and is the museum’s daytime caterer.  The Farm at South Mountain is also part of the Santa Barbara Catering family.

For more information visit their website.