Across the Pond to take over space vacated by Central Wine

The owners of Clever Koi and soon to open Fellow Osteria wasted no time when neighbor Central Wine closed to start working on cocktail bar Across the Pond. Slated to open in the fall Across the Pond will be an intimate cocktail bar that features 10 unique custom cocktails, Japanese whiskey, craft beers and wine.

Partners Nicholas Campisano and Joshua James have the designed space to give the bar a  “tropical mid-century modern” look.

“We’ve been looking to add a cocktail bar to the B&R portfolio for a while now, and had been looking all over the Melrose district,” James says, “But we always kept an eye on the Central Wine space. So when the previous tenant’s lease came up, it worked out great for both parties.”

Across the Pond bites and drinks menu

Traditional Japanese sushi (no rolls), bar bites and omakase a.k.a. “chef’s choice” dishes will be served from Clever Koi. The three types of fish used for sushi and omakase  will be sourced from local fish monger Chula Seafood.

James will create a cocktail menu with handcrafted selections that will emphasis Japanese whiskey and served in traditional highball style.

The name, James emphasizes Across The Pond is not a British-style pub, but a casual cocktail bar with Asian accents. “‘The Pond’ was always our nickname for Clever Koi on Central, so it was obvious to name it, Across The Pond.”

The 35 seat bar will be open Wednesday – Saturday from 4:00 p.m. til midnight. Across the Pond is at 4236 N. Central Ave. Phoenix 85012.

Former Z’Tejas chef opens Cocina Madrigal in south Phoenix

After years of honing his culinary skills in restaurants in Mexico City and the United States for somebody else, Leo Madrigal decided to take those skills and open his own restaurant. The Oaxacan born Madrigal did just that recently with the opening of his Cocina Madrigal on the corner of 16th St. & Wood in south Phoenix.

All photos courtesy of Kassidy McDonald at Evolve Marketing

The 1,900 sq. ft. restaurant seats up to 140 people once the patio opens including the bar that’s serving signature margaritas and a unique section of tequila. “From the moment our guests walk into the restaurant, I want them to feel welcomed, appreciated and at home. I’m so excited to share my commitment to service and high quality food at our new location in South Phoenix,” says Madrigal.

Cocina Madrigal signature dishes

Madrigal wanted to always share his vision of Mexican cuisine at his own restaurant after working in restaurants such as Z’Tejas, Eddie V’s and Taco Guild after arriving from Houston. The menu is inspired by growing up in Oaxaca and he giving it an American twist with such dishes as Oaxacan Con Queso with American & Oaxacan cheese, Mango Steak Salad, Tres Mushrooms Enchiladas and Grilled Elote with Cotija cheese.

Mexican food staples tacos, enchiladas and burros are given Madrigals twist as well.

Cocina Madrigal is open for lunch and dinner Sun.- Thurs. from 11 a.m. -10 p.m., Fri. & Sat. from 11 a.m. – 11 p.m. with Happy Hour Mon. – Fri. from 2:30 p.m. – 6 p.m.

Cocina Madrigal is at 4044 S. 16th St. Phoenix 85040. (602)243-9000 For more information check their Facebook page.

 

The Dressing Room founders to open daytime hangout The Larry

Riding on the success of their restaurant The Dressing Room the founders are opening The Larry a few blocks further south in downtown Phoenix’s warehouse district. The breakfast, lunch and happy hour hangout will be opening on Monday August 13th and will be open Monday – Friday from 7 a.m. – 7 p.m.

All photos courtesy of The Larry

The Larry in The Lawrence building

The owners chose the warehouse district for its tech focused business community and to create a sense of community south of downtown. Located in The Lawrence Building, The Larry will have both indoor and outdoor seating among its modern decor.

“The breakfast, lunch and happy hour concept is one that really resonates with the Downtown Phoenix crowd,” said owner Kyu Utsunomiya. “The Larry is that spot where you can come network during lunch hour or catch up with a friend over cocktails after work.”The Larry

What to eat and drink

Executive chef Luis Arellano has created a healthy and colorful menu of dishes from around the world including Soba Noodle Salad and Korean Fried Chicken sandwich. A revolving pizza selection will be available along with other dishes and several meals will be available for grab-n-go.

Soba noodles

Baristas will be serving desserts and preparing coffee drinks to give you the energy needed to get through the day. Specialty cocktails including Pisco Punch are also on the menu.

Grand opening week specials

To make good with the neighbors and make new friends The Larry will be offering a half price menu during opening week ending on Friday the 17th.

An entire years worth of coffee(1 cup per week) is being given away and you can get in on it by going to their website to enter.

The Larry is at 515 E. Grant St. Phoenix 85004.

 

Ramen Hood opens serving Build-Your-Own-ramen bowls

The fast casual Build-Your-Own restaurant concepts seem to be catching more steam as Ramen Hood opened in north Scottsdale recently. The strip mall shop off the loop 101 at Frank Lloyd Wright Blvd. already has a captive audience.

Ramen Hood
All photos courtesy of Ramen Hood

Guests enjoy ramen bowls made with authentic Japanese ingredients along with rice bowls and Japanese specialties including Gyoza, Karaage Fried Chicken and  Steamed Bao. Wash your meal down with the popular Asian soft drink Ramune aka Marble soda or a Japanese tea.

Why Ramen Hood?

“Ramen is one of my most favorite foods in the world. Every time I visit Japan, my first stop is finding a mom and pop ramen restaurant. The best ones are always very low-key, no frills, but always have long lines,” says James Xie, owner of Ramen Hood. “I realized there isn’t really anything comparable in Phoenix. I want people here to know what real ramen is like, and to not be intimidated in trying new styles and flavors.

Ramen bowl with tofu

Walk up to the counter at Ramen Hood and pick a Ramen or Rice bowl then add a protein(Cha Siu Pork, Tofu, etc) broth, sauce and toppings and in minutes you’ll have an Instagram worthy meal.

“Ramen can be way more exciting than the instant packets we ate in college. And at Ramen Hood, we make it just as easy to enjoy!”

“I’ve spoken to many ramen chefs throughout Japan who graciously gave me advice on combining different ingredients, as well as helped me come up with a few new ideas to create the perfect bowl of ramen,” says Xie, who has worked in the restaurant industry since he was 15. “I think it’s these trade secrets that will really make Ramen Hood stand out in the Valley and resonate with people who may not be familiar with traditional ramen.”

Ramen Hood is in the Gateway 101 shopping center at 15807 N. Frank Lloyd Wright Blvd. Suite 105. Scottsdale 85260. For more information check out their website.

 

 

 

The new The Latin Kitchen has a familiar taste to it.

It’s been 3 years since the closing of Phoenix favorite Havana Cafe by owner BJ Hernandez and fans of her Latin style cuisine were wondering if we’d ever taste her food again. Thank god Hernandez is back in the kitchen as co-owner of the recently opened The Latin Kitchen in Mesa with her recipe book dusted off and cooking.

The Latin Kitchen
Photos courtesy of The Latin Kitchen

The Latin Kitchen dishes

Hernandez will be serving her popular made from scratch Cuban cuisine along with Latin American dishes that regulars of Hernandez’s cooking will recognize along with new dishes. Fans will smile with the return of her signature Cuban sandwich, empanadas, Ropa Vieja and more from here ever-changing menu.

Lighter and hearty dishes are also available taking into consideration people’s dietary needs including gluten-free wraps and salads.

Don’t worry dessert will be served including Flan, Tres Leches and Lime Tart. After a successful lobster dinner recently special dinners are planned including a pig roast, “Havana Nights” and Paella dinner.

A full bar is available that will feature Latin inspired cocktails such as the Mojito, sangria and other classic cocktails.

New to Mesa

Why Mesa after the success in north Scottsdale and along the Camelback Corridor in Phoenix Hernadez says “Originally I started looking in Scottsdale, but the rents were too high for what I wanted to do, a casual place where you could eat delicious, healthy and authentic food at a great price.” She then partnered with restaurant industry veteran Elisa Nolan to get the new restaurant opened.

Near the Tempe border The Latin Kitchen seats 115 up to people in two dining rooms and the bar. Currently serving only lunch Hernandez will serve dinner once the summer comes to an end.

The Latin Kitchen is close to the Loop 101 at 540  W. Broadway in Mesa. For more information call 480-306-7266 or check out their website.

EVO’s owner opening Breadwinner in downtown Phoenix

Nick Neuman owner of Scottsdale’s EVO has set his sights like many on downtown Phoenix with the August opening of Breadwinner. The sandwich focused hangout will be in The Churchill, the trendy retail & restaurant complex built with shipping containers on the northeast corner of 1st St & Garfield(901 N. 1st St.).

Serving lunch, dinner & weekend brunch Breadwinner will serve handcrafted sandwiches, wraps and salads of the traditional variety with Neuman’s creative twist. Expect the likes of oven roasted turkey, Cuban, Muffeletta or roast beef sandwiches or wraps ($9-$12) along with hearty side dishes, fresh salads and non-alcoholic beverages.

After guests order and pay at the counter their meal will be delivered to them at communal style dining tables in The Churhill’s courtyard.

The sense of community at The Churchill is part of the attraction to Neuman where Breadwinner employees will give 4 hours a month to community service as part of their monthly  “social rent”.

 

Clever Koi partners to open Italian concept at Scottsdale’s Skysong

It’s good to see when successful restaurateurs plant their flag in re-vitalized neighborhoods, especially if you live in one of those neighborhoods. That’s been the case in my backyard the last year in south Scottsdale, specifically on the Skysong campus.

Born & Raised partners Joshua James & Nicholas Campisano

The public private partnership at McDowell & Scottsdale roads has seen the opening of Bitters Bar & Food, an original concept and the third location of New York Bagels & Bialys. Come September they will be joined by Fellow, an osteria & cocktail bar  from the team that’s brought us Clever Koi.

Fellow at Skysong

The all day hang out spot will cater to guests that will want to dine-in on pizza, pasta, salads and cocktails along with those on the run that want to grab n go breakfast and premium coffee drinks. The custom designed 5,000 square feet restaurant is expected to be enjoyed by office workers at Skysong along with residents from surrounding neighborhoods.

This is the third restaurant for the newly founded Born & Raised Hospitality and its partners Joshua James and Nicholas Campisano after their two Clever Koi’s in Phoenix and Gilbert. James known for his mixology skills behind the bar will craft the cocktail menu and build craft beer and around the world wine list.

With high ceilings and communal space Fellow is being designed by architects Local Studio who designed the first Clever Koi in central Phoenix. The design highlight will be a big wooden cube over the bar where 3-D Arizona landscapes of iconic Arizona locations.

With a few months before opening there are always unknowns about certain details at Fellow but on thing is for sure they will be a welcome addition to the neighborhood.

PNPK opens in north Scottsdale featuring Craft Sliders and Deviled Eggs

PNPK owner Kellie Pruitt took a personal tragedy and turned it into something positive when she re-opened her Grape Bistro as the new PNPK after a 2 year hiatus. The new full service restaurant and wine bar in north Scottsdale opened in late March on the southeast corner of Scottsdale Rd. and Pinnacle Peak.

Tragedy to PNPK

When a family tragedy occurred in July 2016 Kellie stepped away from running her Grape Bistro to heal. Hiking the nearby Pinnacle Peak(hence the name PNPK) on a regular basis helped her heal and realize something good should come of her situation.

“Earlier this year, I knew I either needed to close or do something new, in part to throw myself into something creative to help myself heal,” said Pruitt. “PNPK has been transformational for me, and now I hope for the Airpark restaurant scene as well.

Bruschetta flight

Flights of sliders and deviled eggs

With its close proximity to the Scottsdale Airport, Pruitt figured flights of sharable plates would be the way for her new place to take off.

The restaurant features 13 Sliders to build a flight from and  7 Devilish Eggs to choose from along with Bruschetta Flights, Charcuterie Flights and more for guest to enjoy a variety of flavors.

Deviled egg flight

Guests can mix & match sliders served on petite Brioche buns such as Crispy Hot Fried Chicken, Short Rib French Dip, Bacon Jam with Angus Beef just to name a few of the variety of proteins between the buns. Sliders can also be served on gluten-free buns or lettuce wraps.

The deviled eggs are not your traditional  eggs with specialties being the Asian Wasabi and citrus slaw, Smoked Salmon with capers & chives and White truffle oil and chives. During Happy Hours guests can enjoy three eggs for $5.

Signature cocktails

Wine, cocktails and beer

Custom wine & beer flights focus on craft beers and wines from around the world. With 30 wines by the glass and 150 more selections by the bottle offering wine drinkers good value or the opportunity to splurge on that special bottle.

The creative cocktail menu pays homage to the surrounding desert and mountains with drinks that include…..

  • The Granite Summit: Bourbon mixed with fresh cherries that have been muddled with vanilla, a touch of sugar and topper of club soda
  • The Trailblazer: Gin combined with fresh strawberries, lemon, basil and a hit of club soda
  • The Gila Monster: A combination of jalapeño simple syrup, grapefruit juice, lime, tequila and sparkling wine (named because it’s got bite!)
  • Hi Jolly: Veev Acai Liqueur is the star here and mixed with fresh mint, lemon and blueberries for a “spirited” antioxidant kick.

A favorite is the signature cocktail  “Tickle Me PNPK Punch” made with sparkling wine, Arizona Prickly Pear and ginger ale. A $1 of each punch is donated to The Friends of Pinnacle Peak Park which is a group of volunteers that help maintain and care for the trail on a daily basis.

PNPK is open daily from 11 a.m. – 10 p.m. with Happy Hour from 11 a.m. – 6:30 p.m. Find it at 23335 N. Scottsdale Rd. Scottsdale 85255. 480-305-0907. http://www.pnpkaz.com/

 

 

 

Chef Michael O’Dowd & Julian Wright to open Las Palmas Cantina in Chandler

Chef Michael O’Dowd is making his way back to the valley’s restaurant scene running the kitchen of restaurateur Julian Wright’s(Pedal Haus Brewery and others) new restaurant Las Palmas Cantina in downtown Chandler. When the restaurant opens in May it will serve coastal cuisine with Yucatan inspiration that Wright found when traveling to Playa del Carmen and Tulum areas of Mexico.

Executive chef Michael O’Dowd

O’Dowd returns to the valley after most recently working in Sedona at L’Auberge de Sedona as executive chef. When in Phoenix O’Dowd scored the coveted AAA Five Diamond  and Forbes Five Star Award  while executive chef at Kai at the Sheraton Wild Horse Pass Resort.

“I’m looking forward to being a part of downtown Chandler and to bringing one of my favorite regions of the world to this community,” said Wright. “ I love that Chandler is still very independent. Everyone is still very much your neighbor.”

Las Palmas Cantina menus

O’Dowd’s menu will highlight the “sand to table” concept with seafood from local fish monger Chula Seafood along with “high country” ingredients. Fish available will include Pompano, Triggerfish, Snapper and more for ceviche and other dishes.

Las Palmas Sandia cocktail

Sweet & spice are tastes you’ll find at Las Palmas Cantina with your shared plates and lighter dishes that will include a jerk chicken Shaken Greens and Cochinta Pibil.

“I haven’t really seen anyone in Arizona exploring this type of cuisine or region,” said O’Dowd. “Being able to learn about the culture and history of the Mayans and create a way to pay homage to the past while creating new ideas, dishes and flavors is what I thrive on.”

Just in time for summer, Las Palmas Cantina’s beverage program will offer refreshing tropical specialty cocktails and Mexican inspired craft beers brewed exclusively for Las Palmas. A selection of tequilas, mezcals and agua frescas will be offered and used as ingredients in the cocktail program.

Need a job

The 5,000 square foot restaurant is currently hiring and those interested can apply in person at the restaurant at 95 W. Boston in downtown Chandler on online at their website.

 

 

The Bar opens in Arcadia with The Dude watching over

The owners that have brought the Phoenix restaurant scene Arcadia’s and downtown Phoenix’s Nook Kitchen and the revamped Dilly Dally Lounge have opened The Bar.

Located along the bustling Indian School Rd. down the street from their other Arcadia restaurants The Bar pours “The Big Lebowski” inspired cocktails and plates up approachable bar food.

Owner Frank Vairo says, “We’re excited to add The Bar to our growing restaurant group and happy to be a part of this neighborhood. The Bar is a kitschy place for innovative cocktails along with familiar bar-style food that’s been elevated with fresh ingredients and house-made menu items.”

The Bar
Photos courtesy of Annie Marum

Cocktails at The Bar

Fans of the late ’90s cult film The Big Lebowski are encouraged to stop in after bowling a few games to sip on unique cocktails such as the “Dudebro” which combine Absolut vodka,  St. George coffee and Irish cream or The Bar’s version of the classic Margarita “Go With the Flow” which combines Absolut Lime vodka, Deep Eddy lemon, Aperol, sweet & sour juice and splash of soda over ice.

Not feeling “The Dude” in you, classic cocktails such as an Old Fashioned and others are prepared with enthusiasm and skill.

Approachable bar food

Using locally sourced ingredients for his house made dishes, chef Nick Larosa takes bar food up a couple of notches as he prepares comfort food staples. Scratch made potato skins & onion rings, Thick Cut Bacon BLT and the Double Decker American Burger on Noble Bread to name a few.

His proudest menu item is his own creation, John Blaze Honey  Hot Wings also known as “JBHH”. Hot wing fans will appreciate chef Nick’s signature dish and will notice how seriously he takes his mild and blazing hot wings.

A Cookies n Cream Reese’s Pieces Sundae is a good way to cure your craving for something sweet for dessert.

The Bar is open daily from 3 p.m. -2 a.m. and is at 3174 E. Indian School Rd. in Phoenix. Check out there website for more information.