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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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/
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.
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.
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.
“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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.
The games have begun for the month-long Cactus League season and Phoenix area restaurants are tempting baseball fans and locals to stop in with food and drink specials. Here are a few local restaurants to cheer your favorite team at before or after the game.
Cactus League food specials
Fired Pie’s locations in the Phoenix area are offering game day ticket holders 10% off when they dine in after the game. To find a location near you check their website.
Thai Chili 2 Go is giving away a free dumpling appetizer at all 5 valley locations with purchase and a game day ticket stub. To find a location and hours check here.
Mesa’s Cider Corps is extending their hours thru March 31st and offering a $1 off all pints when you bring in a same day ticket stub from Mesa’s Hohokam Stadium and Sloane Park. Hours are 11 a.m. – 11 p.m. Mon. – Sat. with food trucks on site Fri. & Sat. http://cidercorpsaz.com/
One of Tempe’s newest restaurants Quartiere welcomes baseball fans to come check out their community driven Italian restaurant. Until April 1st fans can bring any 2018 Spring Training ticket stub for 1/2 off an appetizer or entrée when you purchase an entrée. Pizzas, pastas, salads and more are available at Quartiere
McFate Brewing is bringing fans attending games at Scottsdale Stadium a pop-up beer garden beyond the center field fence at The Clayton House. On game day the beer garden opens 90 minutes before game time with live music, food and of course beer. No ticket necessary. The Clayton House is at 3719 N. 75th St. Scottsdale.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.