Undertow goes above ground with pop-up in Scottsdale

The popular and award-winning cocktail bar Undertow has taken its below ground concept to street level with a pop-up at the Hotel Valley Ho. From August of 2016 to December 2020 was housed below Sip Coffee & Beer Garage in Phoenix, a converted quick oil change business. With Covid-19 taking over 2020 owners Rich Furnari and Jason Asher decided to move Undertow next door to its Century Grand location.

In addition to the new Undertow, Century Grand will be adding new concepts Platform 18 and The Grey Hen Rx with construction ending in March. Until then Undertow has taken over the former Trader Vic’s restaurant at the Scottsdale hotel for a 4-day a week “Best of Menus Past” pop-up.

“UnderTow has a strong following, and we always wanted to have a little more space to accommodate additional guests and larger parties, all without compromising the intimate guest experience” says Furnari. With UnderTow’s lease ending in 2020, and our difficult decision to permanently close the restaurant element of Century Grand, there was a prime opportunity to re-locate UnderTow into a larger space in the same geographic neighborhood. In addition, the more flexible physical infrastructure in the new location will allow us to continue to offer our guests the most advanced and enjoyable immersive environment for years to come”.

The two have worked day and night with Hotel Valley Ho’s Food and Beverage Director Andre Nicholson to bridge the gap until construction ends in Phoenix. Housed in the Sands venue at the hotel, the pop-up will be open Thursday through Sunday serving many retired top-selling signature cocktails. Limited food will be served from local chefs who will rotate their own pop- up restaurant. A Sunday market could also be added once things are up and running and the tiki/tropical decor from local artists gives Undertow its laid back vibe.

Hotel Valley Ho is at 6850 E. Main St. Scottsdale 85251 and you can find more information about the pop-up at their website.

Peter Kasperski returns to the valley’s dining scene with Character

2020 brought many surprises good and bad to the valley’s dining scene. One of the biggest surprises was the return of restaurateur Peter Kasperski in December. He and valley mixologist Richie Moe III have again joined forces to open Character Distinctive Dining in the Roosevelt Arts District. The two have known each other for over 30 years going back to their days in Chicago when Moe’s father was Kasperski’s mentor.

Moe helped Kasperski open Cowboy Ciao in the 1990s then Kazmierz Wine Bar before they went their separate ways. Moe had gone on to open and run cocktail programs at Citizen Public House, The Gladly and Bourbon and Bones. Kasperski has been lying low the last few years plotting his next move since he closed Cowboy Ciao.

Photo courtesy of Modern Vision Media

Downtown Phoenix’s Character Distinctive Dining is a classic American dinner house with cuisines from around the world made using modern cooking techniques. Kasperski’s love for eclectic wines and Moe’s inventive cocktail list have also made their way downtown from Scottsdale. Some will see similarities with Cowboy Ciao especially the popular dinner events. One of those events is the monthly Somm Showdown with Peter Kasperski and a local wine sommelier go head to head picking the best pairings for a five-course dinner. The first Somm Showdown is Sunday January 24th 2021 with Synergy Fine Wines’ Steve Cannon. Seating is limited to 30 people and dinner is $90 ++ per person.

The pair are also opening Alias, a speakeasy, later this year out back of Character. Three nights a week Moe and Chef Justin “Red” Hauska will create mixology/gastronomy dinners pairing cocktails and food with science and surprises. After dinner starting at 9 p.m. Alias will become a craft cocktail bar until 2 a.m.

Character / Alias is at 218 E Portland St. Phoenix, AZ 85004. For more information check their website, Facebook and Instagram.

 

The Watermark Tempe to welcome Dog Haus Biergarten in early 2021

Restaurants are putting 2020 behind them and moving forward with new locations in 2021. Dog Haus, the gourmet hot dogs and sausages fast casual concept will open another location along Tempe Town Lake at the new Watermark Tempe. Expected to open in early in the New Year Dog Haus joins Sweet Republic Ice Cream, Monroe’s Hot Chicken and Crumbl Cookies at the mixed-use development.

The Watermark Tempe Dog Haus will be franchisee Jeron Boemer’s second location in Arizona, his first is in Yuma and opened in 2015. “I am excited to bring Dog Haus’ unique and delicious offerings to the Tempe community. Having found this ideal location, I know the Dog Haus culture of serving excellent food with welcoming service in a fun atmosphere will be embraced by the vibrant and growing Tempe neighborhood.”

Joining gourmet hot dogs on the menu will be Black Angus burgers, one of a kind fried chicken creations, side dishes and 24 craft beers on tap. Signature Haus cocktails are being crafted by Phil Willis of “Bar Rescue”. The 2,444 square foot restaurant includes a full bar and dog friendly patio.

Guest’s favorite hot dogs include Sooo Cali, with wild arugula, avocado, tomato, crispy onions and spicy basil aioli, and the Reservoir Hog, featuring a Polish kielbasa, Haus chili, Haus slaw and yellow mustard. Haus burgers include The Freiburger®, with white American cheese, fries, Haus slaw, fried egg and mayo, and the Holy Aioli, with white American cheese, smoked bacon, caramelized onions and garlic aioli. Burgers are made with beef from humanely raised Black Angus cows and all sausages and hot dogs are free of added nitrates and made with hormone- and antibiotic-free meat.

Dog Haus Tempe Biergarten will be at 430 N. Scottsdale Rd 85281. For more information and updates visit their website.

Belle’s Nashville Kitchen brings honkytonk to Old Town

Old Town Scottsdale went a little bit country last month when honkytonk themed Belle’s Nashville Kitchen swung its doors opened. Comfort food classics with a Nashville twist are served day and night from award-winning Chef Samantha Robert’s kitchen.

Longtime Scottsdale residents may remember the building its housed in, the popular Lulu Belle’s, the Gay 1890’s themed restaurant and bar in the 1960s- 90s. The back bar still remains from its original use as owner Mike Haley wanted to celebrate the buildings history and kept the part of the name as a reminder along with the bar and front striped facade. Much of the wood is re-claimed from Haley’s patio at his home in California. It wouldn’t be a honkytonk without live music and dancing that is being phased in with local musicians. Guitars line the back wall as do wagon wheels on the walls opposite the bar.

Chef Roberts previously developed menus for Scottsdale’s Riot Hospitality Group (El Hefe, Riot House & Dierks Bentley’s Whiskey Row) where she won the 2017 Foodist Award for “Best Chef”. The menu includes Nashville favorites Kool-Aid Pickles, a Nashville Hot Chicken sandwich, Honkytonk Fries and Jambalaya. Other favorites include a Poke board and Mac n Cheese Sandwich. Don’t miss out on Pig Candy, thick cut bacon candied in-house and topped with Pralines. Weekend brunch is served with Hot Chicken French Toast, Belle’s Biscuits and Gravy and Cowboy Breakfast.

Whiskey and bourbon signature cocktails including the Cold Brew Old Fashioned, The Pal Manhattan are served as are other classic cocktails.

Belle’s Nashville Kitchen is at 7212 E. Main St. Scottsdale 85251. Their open Monday – Thursday from 11 a.m. – 1 a.m. Friday til 2 a.m. Saturday from 9 a.m. – 2 a.m. and Sunday 9 a.m. – 11 p.m. For more information visit their website.

Sips & Bites: News you can use from the Phoenix restaurant community

Quick sips of news about what’s going on around the Phoenix restaurant, beer & wine community.

20% off your at OHSO Brewery Arcadia donated to AAWL

To celebrate Oktoberfest the brew pub with dog friendly patio will donated 20% of sales from 4-8 p.m. Sunday October 18th to the Arizona Animal Welfare League. AAWL is the state’s largest & oldest no-kill shelter saving thousands of lives.

Local pumpkins sourced for Los Sombreros dishes

Abby Lee Farms and Crooked Sky Farms have provided all three of the Mexican restaurants with pumpkins for 2 seasonal dishes. Pumpkin Soup ($10) and Pumpkin Flan ($8) will be available until October 31st. The feature is part of the restaurants Los Local Love program helping to support Arizona farms and foods.

Fall weather brings seasonal food to Trapp Haus BBQ

With the return of cool weather the popular downtown Phoenix BBQ joint has brought back its popular Texas Burnt End Chili. $6.99 gets you cup and $9.99 gets you a bowl of the juicy & tender beef brisket ends. Wash it down with a Wicked Caramel Apple Cider cocktail for $10. The Fall favorite is made with cinnamon whiskey, apple cider and a caramel drizzle.

Burnt End Chili

Chase’s Diner dishes out Pumpkin Pancakes in October

If pumpkin spice your seasonal favorite head to the Chandler diner who is serving up stacks of their pancakes made with the ingredient. The rich & fluffy pancakes are dusted with powdered sugar and served with real whipped cream sweet butter and maple syrup. A short stack of 3 is $8.79 and a combo plate with 2 pancakes, 2 eggs and bacon or sausage is $8.39.

Twin Peaks Restaurant is raising money for National Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Donate by putting a name of someone on a pink ribbon to be put on the dining room wall of the 3 locations around Phoenix. All money collected in October will be donated locally to the Phoenix chapter of the American Cancer Society. On October 24th the restaurants participates in Strides Ride for Phoenix.

 

Black Angus Steakhouse now has Happy Hour To-Go Packs

You can celebrate Happy Hour from the comfort of your own home with the new Happy Hour To- Go packs from Black Angus Steakhouse. Whether your’e watching the game or hanging with the family, score the new To – Packs every day from 3 – 9 p.m.

For just $29.99 you can get Black Angus Steakhouse favorite appetizers such as Loaded Potato Skins, Three Cheese Garlic Bread, Crispy Fried Garlic -Pepper Zucchini and a Steak Quesadilla. You can’t have happy hour without something to drink and choose a 4-pack of beer or bottle of house wine. For $5 more customers in Arizona and California can get small batch cocktails like Strawberry Lemonade and the Gold Strike Margarita. Cocktails serve 6-7 people each.

There are 4 Black Angus Steakhouse’s in Arizona in Arrowhead, Chandler, Goodyear and Superstition Springs. Other locations are in New Mexico, California, Washington and Hawaii.

You can order your To-Go Packs online or by calling each restaurant directly. To-Go Packs are available through the end of 2020.

National Tequila Day off the menu cocktails at Taco Guild

Central Phoenix’s Taco Guild has one of the best tequila collections in town with over 200 bottlings. On National Tequila Day, next Friday July 24th the restaurant is offering off the menu cocktails for tequila enthusiasts. As you sip on tequila and pair them with tacos you can flip through the leather bound “Tequila Bible” to see all the favorite tequila brands and exclusive bottles.

National Tequila Day cocktails include The Beginner made with blanco tequila, strawberry, lime & agave. The Purist mixes El Tesoro Reposado with Topo Chico bottled water and a slice of orange. The Sophisticated is a tequila old fashioned with barrel aged Patron Anjejo. All three cocktails are $10.

Prefer your tequila neat or by the shot, enjoy Fortaleza Blanco ($9), El Tesoro Paradiso ($15) or Tapatio Reposado for $8. Top secret tequila flights are available so just ask one of the restaurants tequila connoisseurs about them.

National Tequila Day will be celebrated all day from 11 a.m. – 10 p.m. with happy hour from 2 p.m. – 6 p.m. Taco Guild is at 546 E. Osborn Rd. Phoenix 85012.

 

Local restaurants re-opening for takeout and delivery

While many local restaurants switched gears to pick-up, delivery and even selling groceries last month many shut down to assess the situation. Several of those that shut down are re-opening this week for pick-up and delivery. While it’s still unknown about the future of restaurants Gov. Ducey will meet with restaurants and the Arizona Restaurant Association in coming weeks to set a plan for re-opening dining rooms. These local restaurants have re-opened this week for takeout.

Hand Cut Chop House has re-opened with touchless takeout, curbside pick-up and free delivery from Uber Eats, DoorDash, Postmates & Grubhub. A limited menu of food and drinks are available daily from 11 a.m. – 8 p.m. Place an order by calling 480-494-2008. 7135 East Camelback Road #154 Scottsdale, Arizona 85251

Dierks Bentley’s Whiskey Row in Gilbert is offering a limited menu of a la carte offerings and family meals. Off the menu customers can choose from appetizers, salads, sliders, entrees and dessert. Larger portioned family meals of a Whole Chicken Meal, a All American Burger Meal and Three Cheese Mac & Cheese feed 4 – 8 people. Bottles of wine & liquor, cocktails & cocktail kits and growlers of beer are also available to go. You can order online or by calling (480) 476-8595. Pick up is available as is free delivery from Uber Eats, DoorDash, GrubHub and Postmates. The other locations will open at a later date. 323 N Gilbert Rd, Gilbert 85234.

Little Miss BBQ‘s Sunnyslope location is testing drive thru pick up of limited amount of sandwiches and Green Chile Burritos today & Saturday. All orders must be placed online for pick up from 11 a.m. – 7 p.m. No walk up and no delivery. 8901 N 7th St Phoenix, AZ 85020.

Comedor Guadalajara south of downtown Phoenix is back open for takeout. They have set up a drive thru in the parking lot. Phone orders are recommended and they ask if the line is busy please try calling back. 1830 S. Central Avenue, Phoenix AZ 85004. 602-253-8299

MIXT opened in March and quickly shut down has re-opened at Scottsdale Quarter. The fast casual farm to table restaurant offer salads, protein bowls, Kombucha, sandwiches and more. Hours are daily from 11 a.m. – 7 p.m. 15125 N Scottsdale Road Scottsdale, AZ 85254.

Osteria Mia opened this week for takeout in north Phoenix. Pizza, homemade pasta and more Italian delights. 2530 W Happy Valley Rd Phoenix AZ, 85085.  623-434-4604

Pedal Haus Brewery re-opened its Tempe and Chandler brew pubs this week. A full menu along with award winning cocktails and beers are available to go. Food & drink specials are also offered daily. The Tempe location at 730 S. Mill Ave. #102, Tempe 85281 is open Wednesday & Thursday 11:30 a.m. to 8 p.m., Friday and Saturday 11:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Sunday 11:30 a.m. to 7 p.m.

The Chandler location at 95 W Boston St., Chandler is open Wednesday & Thursday 4 p.m. to 8 p.m., Friday 4 p.m. to 9 p.m., Saturday: 11:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Sunday: 11:30 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Kawaii Sushi in Glendale is open, their Peoria location is temporarily closed. 6530 W. Happy Valley Road, Suite 112 Glendale, AZ 85310 (623)566-3888

Bottega Pizzeria Ristorante will open on May 5th for takeout. 19420 N. 59th Ave.
Glendale, AZ 85308. 623-777-1868

 

 

 

The largest BBQ event west of Texas moves to Tumbleweed Park

Update: Postponed, no new date set!

When the 11th annual KNIX BBQ & Beer Festival opens the gates at 12 noon on Saturday March 28th it will be at new location. The BBQ event has moved to the larger Tumbleweed Park in Chandler with 50,000 people expected to attend.

The festival is attracting pit-masters from around Arizona and the country for what’s been awarded “outstanding event of the year”. Over 12 cocktails and beers will be showcased to wash down your spicy, sweet & tangy smoked meats and more. Local BBQ joints include Bobby Q’s, Can’t Stop Smokin’ BBQ, Farm Boy Foods and Tom’s BBQ.BBQ event

Lee Brice and Craig Morgan will co-headline the event presented by iHeart Media and 102.5 KNIX. Country music fans will enjoy non-stop music from multiple stages throughout the 10 hour event. Country superstars Locash and Caylee Hammack will perform along with local talent Jim Bachman & the Day Drinkers, Blaine Long, Drew Cooper and Jacob Morris. Festival goers can enjoy the “For the Love of BBQ” Lounge, VIP tent, Kid Kick Back Zone or other areas.

“This is an incredible musical line-up,” said Landon Evans, owner of HDE Agency. “We are thrilled to partner with iHeart and KNIX to be able to bring this star-studded festival to Chandler for one of our largest events of the year.”

Tickets are on sale now and range in price from $15 for General Admission up to $150 for VIP. To purchase tickets or get more information for the largest BBQ event west of Texas head to their website. Tumbleweed Park is 745 E. Germann Rd. in Chandler.

Foodies don’t care about a little rain at Day 1 of Devour Culinary Classic

Many of Saturday’s events around Phoenix were cancelled but don’t mess with foodies and our food festivals but that’s what the weather gods did on day 1 of Devour Culinary Classic. A rainy morning forced Desert Botanical Garden staff, Local First Arizona and purveyors to scramble to but it didn’t deter those in attendance. Umbrella, tents and raincoats were busted out to minimize the rain and puddles.

Here are a few of the many highlights of day 1. Be sure to check back for sunnier day 2 and for more images and commentary check my Instagram @SandyWass  Facebook page & Twitter @SandyWasserman

Bar Magic serving up Hurricane Cocktail in the VIP Lounge with Mardi Gras theme
foodies
Prep & Pastry Churro Cronut & Blueberry Scone
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Scandinavian Sushi coming to Scottsdale later this year from Sandfish Sushi & Whiskey
foodies
AZ Wilderness PB & J Burger
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A leaky tent didn’t dampen the spirits of L’Auberge de Sedona Chef Morgan serving her delicious dessert
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T. Cooks Arcadia Orange Bombe- white chocolate, Grande Marnier mouss, hazelnut & citrus curd
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Dust Cutter Restaurant’s confit pork belly, masa, chorizo & roasted poblano gremolata
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Lincoln Steakhouse Surf & turf- Lobster Escargot & Beef Tongue Popover
Love seeing all the color exhibits and art at the Desert Botanical Garden