Stratta Lifestyle Kitchen to open in March from famed chef

James Beard award winning chef Alex Stratta is preparing to open his new healthy concept restaurant in Scottsdale early in 2020. When Stratta Lifestyle Kitchen opens it will serve dishes that he prepared to overcome colon cancer and lose over 100 pounds. Natural and seasonal whole foods will be on the menu with an emphasis on Mediterranean styled diet.

“My passions have always been found and developed in the kitchen,” says Stratta. “This new concept is so personal to me and I am thrilled to once again share my passions with our local and visiting diners who have come to expect, and deserve, an elevated yet wholesome meal in a quick-casual atmosphere.”

Healthy eating at Stratta Lifestyle Kitchen

The popular quick serve concept will let customers dine-in or take out, a departure for Stratta from his upscale dining days at The Phoenician and in Las Vegas. The menu will appeal to all diets and will include gluten-free, naturally dairy free and vegetarian dishes.  The menu will offer five sections including “To Share or Not to Share”, “Greens”, “Grains”, “Proteins” and “Sweets”.

“To Share or Not to Share” will include Vegetable and Potato Frittata, Baked Artichoke, Spinach and Goat Cheese Dip and more.

“Greens” include Beets and Apples with Arugula, goat cheese cracker, pistachios and balsamic crunch and more salad based dishes. “Grains” offers Vegetable Pistou Soup and Terra with wild mushrooms, green lentils, spinach, Brussel sprouts, asparagus and purple yams.

“Proteins” allows guests to choose from Alaskan Sterling Salmon, Free Range Chicken, Char-Grilled Strip Steak, Grilled King Trumpet Mushroom and more. “Proteins” can be customized with sauces including Moroccan Spice Tahini, Chimichurri and Balsamic Honey Vinaigrette.

Indulge in healthy desserts with “Sweets” including Goat Cheese and Honey Panna Cotta, Warm Walnut Date Cake and Pistachio Baklava.

Stratta Lifestyle Kitchen will be at 8260 N. Hayden Rd. Scottsdale.

Dog Haus to open in Gilbert at SanTan Village in coming weeks

You’ll want to be sent to this Dog Haus but you’ll have to wait ’til it opens. The gourmet hot dog, sausage and burger concept announced it will open at SanTan Village this fall. Gilbert residents Andi and Damon Ott will be the franchisee’s bringing this Pasadena based craft casual concept to the east valley. The modern industrial designed restaurant will include a dog friendly patio, HD TVs and a beer garden. There is a Dog Haus at The Scottsdale Quarter, Yuma and a Phoenix location is in the works.

Guests can expect a full menu of hand-crafted sausages, Angus beef hamburgers, corn dogs, must have sides and shakes. The menu will also include plant-based proteins from Impossible Foods and Beyond Meat. All meats are hormone and antibiotic free and come served on King’s Hawaiian rolls. 24 craft beers will be on tap with an emphasis on locals beers and signature Haus Cocktails are created by Phil Wills seen on Bar Rescue.The restaurant is currently accepting applications for front and back of the house positions. Interested applicants can send a resume to santanvillage@doghaus.com

“We are excited to bring Dog Haus’ one-of-a-kind creations to Gilbert,” said Franchisee Andi Ott. “We have found the perfect location, so the next step is to hire an awesome team that shares our core values of serving great food, giving back and having a good time. We’re looking for people that are excited to work with the brand that’s continually raising the gold standard for hot dogs, sausages and burgers – creating ambassadors to help us introduce ‘The Absolute Würst’ to East Valley.”

Brat Haus Biergarten SantTan Village is at 2224 E. Williams Field Rd. Gilbert.

 

Commander Hamburger opens inside The Churchill

Chef Bernie Kantak and partner Andrew Fritz have stepped out of their comfort zone of full service restaurants to open their first casual concept, Commander Hamburger. The two own the critically acclaimed restaurants The Gladly in Phoenix and Citizen Public House in Scottsdale. The superhero inspired burger stand opened this week in downtown Phoenix’s The Churchill, an opened air shipping container food court.

Much like the pairs other restaurants and comic books Commander Hamburger should have a cult like following. Guests can expect hamburgers and chicken sandwiches on Noble Bread buns, fries, Danzeisen soft-serve ice cream and more. Fans of Kantak know of his famous Original Chopped Salad and they shouldn’t worry as he’s saved the day as it’s on the menu too. The atmosphere will be of the vintage comic style. Commander joins 9 other small businesses at The Churchill and the only one focusing on burgers.

“Let’s bring back memories of sitting in your best friends’ basement, trading cards, flipping through comics and watching old-school cartoons,” said Kantak, of the vibe at his latest endeavor. “Throw a great hamburger in that scene and we’re set.”

Commander Hamburger and The Churchill is at 901 N. 1st St. Phoenix 85004. For more information check out their website.

Little Cay Latin Caribbean Kitchen opens today in Scottsdale

There’s new restaurant opening today at the intersection of Tatum and Shea Blvd. Little Cay Latin Caribbean Kitchen is the the first restaurant by Ben Sinion, former General Manager of The Wrigley Mansion.

The fast casual concept will transport you to Cuba, Puerto Rico, Jamaica and beyond with its classic and contemporary Caribbean and Latin dishes. A meat filled Cubano sandwich, Jerk Chicken, Mofongo( smashed plaintains, think guacamole) and vegan friendly dishes are among the authentic dishes. You can’t go the tropics without tropical cocktails or a cold beer, rum based sangria and more are available.

Little Cay Latin Caribbean Kitchen
Cubano sandwich. Photos by Debby Wolvos

It’s a laid-back concept,” said Sinon. “Guests can grab-n-go, dine in and it’s perfect food for a party.”

Stop in during opening weekend a get a FREE plantain appetizer. Choose from the Tostones, Marquitas De Platanos or Maduros.

Little Cay Latin Caribbean Kitchen is at 4912 E. Shea Blvd. #108 Scottsdale 85254. They’re open daily from 11 a.m. – 9 p.m. For more information and to see the menu check out their website.

 

What the cluck! Koi Poke now offers chicken for its bowls

Poke the trendy bowl with raw fish, rice and assorted healthy toppings is getting a makeover. At least at Koi Poke as they’re now offering chicken as a protein instead of fish at their 5 Phoenix area locations. Guests can add grilled white meat chicken in three portion sizes to their white or brown rice or spring mix base, Small (4 oz.) $9, Medium (6 oz.) $11 and Large (8 oz.) $13.

Fresh lobster, Yellowtail, shrimp, Hawaiian tuna and more fish toppings are always available.

After adding your protein you can top it with any or all of the toppings available. A few of the toppings include kale, Brussel sprouts, cucumber, jalapenos, cilantro and more. Looking to “sauce it up” you can add teriyaki or house made Sriracha aioli to your bowl and finally garnish it with crispy onions, garlic or other options.

Koi Poke has locations at……

DC Ranch 18221 N. Pima Rd., #100-105, Scottsdale 85255 480-209-1137

Arcadia 4280 E. Indian School Rd., #108, Phoenix 85018 602-368-2222

The SHOPS Gainey Village 8977 N. Scottsdale Rd., #500, Scottsdale 85253 480-306-8440

The Plant 4041 S. Gilbert Rd., #1, Chandler 85249 480-361-6533

Scottsdale Waterfront 7135 E. Camelback Rd., #175, Scottsdale 85251 480-454-4957

For more information check out their website.

VooDoo Daddy’s Steam Kitchen spices it up in Tempe

Restaurateur Ron Lynch is no stranger to opening restaurants having opened over 100 Tilted Kilt’s across the country.  Having left Tilted Kilt, Lynch has opened VooDoo Daddy’s Steam Kitchen. The restaurant on Elliot Rd. near Costco serves up Cajun, Creole & Caribbean cuisine.

VooDoo Daddy's Steam Kitchen
Jambalaya. Photos credit Janet Zhou-Wilt

“We are excited about our location and have really put a lot of work into this menu,” said owner and founder, Ron Lynch. “If there’s one thing to know about Cajun food it’s that the dishes have to be just right. Our patio will be a place for families to people watch, sip some custom blended ice teas, porch wines, nitro cold brew coffee or a craft beer and enjoy a nice bowl of gumbo or jambalaya.”

Lynch brought with him James Heyl to prepare the menu full of savory and spicy dishes. Heyl brings with over 25 years of restaurant experience. Dishes include Po’ Boys, gumbo, red beans & rice and pan roasts from the restaurants steam kettles.

The bright yellow 3,150 square foot restaurant is decorated with murals of late night jazz players dancing on piano keys. Dark wood floors and brick walls adorn the inside of the fast casual restaurant.

VooDoo Daddy’s Steam Kitchen official grand opening

VooDoo Daddy’s Steam Kitchen is now open but will have an official grand opening on Thursday May 16th at 11 a.m. That day a portion of the proceeds will be donated to the Tempe Diablos. The 501-c non-profit civic organization enhances and promotes the Tempe community. In 2018 the Diablos donated $900,000 to Tempe area charities for scholarships, teacher awards and needs based services.

VooDoo Daddy's Steam Kitchen
Pork Po’boy

“The recipe for a great restaurant is incredible food and drinks, a perfect location and rich atmosphere,” said Lynch. “VooDoo Daddy’s has all of that and more. We couldn’t be more excited for this launch.”

VooDoo Daddy’s Steam Kitchen is at 1325. W. Elliot Rd. Suite 106 Tempe 85284. The restaurant is open Sun. – Thurs. from 11 a.m. – 9 p.m. & 11 a.m. – 10 p.m. Fri. & Sat. For more information see their website.

Scottsdale restaurants gear up for Russo & Steele auto auction

2019 starts relatively quick here in Scottsdale with many of our valley’s activities kicking off. Before the PGA and MLB take the stage car enthusiasts flock to Scottsdale for 2 weeks in January. Russo & Steele start the auction season off on January 12th at Salt River Fields then Barrett- Jackson returns to north Scottsdale.

Whether you’re on your way to the auction or just bid on your dream car you need to eat and there are plenty of local restaurants on the way.

All photos courtesy of Kassidy McDonald & Evolve Public Relations

Local eateries near Russo & Steele

Within a few miles there are plenty of Scottsdale restaurants to feed all appetites.

Babbo Italian Eatery– 8840 E. Talking Stick Way. Scottsdale, AZ 85250

Fired Pie at Mountain View 9619 N. Hayden Rd. #101
Scottsdale, AZ 85258 Ph. 480.948.0808

Pomo Pizzeria Scottsdale8977 N. Scottsdale Rd.

Fired Pie at Fashion Square Mall. 7014 E. Camelback Rd,
Scottsdale, AZ 85251. Ph 480.874.4203

Hash Kitchen– 8777 N. Scottsdale Rd. Scottsdale 85253.

U.S. Egg- North Scottsdale- 7119 E. Shea Blvd. Scottsdale 85253

Headed to Barrett-Jackson

Some of the same restaurants have location further north and can accommodate those heading to Barrett-Jackson at Westworld.

Grimaldi’s at The Scottsdale Quarter.- 15147 N. Scottsdale Rd. Scottsdale. 85254

Twin Peaks– 8787 E. Frank Lloyd Wright Blvd. Scottsdale 85260

BLK Live– 7301 E. Butherus Dr. Scottsdale 85260

Fired Pie at Raintree- 14740 N. Northsight Blvd. Scottsdale 85260.

Fired Pie at Zocollo Plaza– 15425 N. Scottsdale Rd. 85254.

 

 

 

 

FREE food as Thai Chili 2 Go opens its first Phoenix location

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.

 

BBQ, smoked meats and a pitmasters journey at Naked BBQ

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.

Naked BBQ

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.

Brisket, ribs and pork shoulder in the smoker

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.

Naked BBQ
Tray 2

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.

The 2 locations of Naked BBQ are..

2340 W. Bell Rd Phoenix 85023 Lunch only Mon. – Fri. 11 a.m. – 4 p.m. or til the meats gone. Fri. & Sat.  11a.m. 8 a.m.

10240 N. 90th St. Suite 105. Scottsdale 85258. Sun – Thurs 11 a.m. – 8 p.m. and Sat. & Sun. til 9 p.m.

 

 

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.