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

Quick sips & bites of news about what’s going on around the Phoenix restaurant community, breweries and wineries.

Keeler Hospitality Group founder passes away

The Arizona restaurant community lost a good one this week when Paul Keeler sadly past away. He spent his career in the hospitality industry around the country running hotels & restaurants. He & his family owned Liberty Station Tavern in DC Ranch & Terravita, both in north Scottsdale and Keeler’s Neighborhood Steakhouse in Carefree. They also owned to restaurants around the country. My condolences go out his family.

Serrano’s “Pink Out” in memory of Stephanie Serrano is tomorrow

All four locations will remember co-owner Stephanie who passed away from breast cancer 2 years ago this month. A portion of proceeds from sales during the month of October special will be donated to local non-profit Check for a Lump. The October specials are Stephanie’s Stacked Enchiladas, Pink Out Margarita Sampler and Pumpkin Spice Churro Donut.

A few seats still available for Monday’s dinners.

Jewel’s Cafe in Phoenix is hosting San Francisco chefs Frank Gama & Victor Aguilera for cannabis infused dinners. There are two seating’s at 5 & 8 p.m. with details and how to reserve your seats in this post from a couple of weeks ago.

Gilbert Oktoberfest is next Saturday, October 23rd.

Local craft brewers, live music, food and games will be happening at Gilbert Regional Park next Saturday from 2 – 9 p.m. Tickets are $12 and on-sale now with children under 12 free.

Carlson Creek Vineyard releases new wines

Four hearty & bolder red wines are now available for the cooler temperatures. 2018 Rule of Three $33- 45% Malbec, 33% Grenache & 22% Syrah 2018 Malbec $47, 2019 Cabernet Sauvignon $45 and 2020 Odyssey $50- a blend of Cabernet & Malbec. All wine make for great holiday gift giving and go well paired with the flavors of holiday meals. Wines can be purchased online or at their Scottsdale, Cottonwood or Willcox tasting rooms.

Don’t forget to check out my podcast Pulling Corks & Forks: The Podcast with Sandy Wasserman to hear from those in our community. Please subscribe, like & comment.

Crust Simply Italian to open 3rd location with more planned

Authentic Italian food continues to be one of the most popular segments of the restaurant industry and its going to continue if Mike Merendino has his way. He’s the owner of Crust Simply Italian, the restaurant he started in 2007 in Scottsdale. Merendino, a first generation Italian-American plans to open his third location in mid-2022 in Gilbert with as many as 8 more around Arizona.

He opened a second location, in downtown Chandler location a few years back along with The Ostrich, his speakeasy cocktail bar which will also open in Gilbert. The Ostrich serves classic cocktails such as an Old Fashioned and an Aviation along with creative signature cocktails as well.

Crust Simply Italian
Owner Mike Merendino. Photos courtesy of J. Martin Harris Travel & Leisure Photography

Merendino knows what it takes to run an Italian restaurant as he grew up in his father’s pizzeria on New York’s Long Island. He attributes this to why he’s seen increased sales in the last year as other restaurants have struggled. A wide variety of dishes on the menu with many entrees under $20 is one of the reasons for Crust Simply Italian’s success. “We took off some of the higher-end menu items and focused on what we do well: chicken Parmesan, pizza and lasagna,” Merendino said. “We also really stepped up our salads and lighter Italian fare.” The restaurant also caters private parties and corporate events which has also helped the restaurants bottom line.

Merendino gives credit to his investors who believed in him and gave him the resources to hire and train a great staff who he treats like family. Without those investors and their confidence he doesn’t feel he’d be able to expand to more locations in the coming years. Crust Simply Italian opens daily at 11 a.m. and The Ostrich opens at 6 p.m. during the week and at 5 p.m. on Friday and is closed on Monday’s. The Gilbert location will be at the corner of Williams Field and Recker Roads.

 

Walk-On’s Sports Bistreaux coming to Gilbert in January

Sports fans and Louisiana style cuisine enthusiasts will be able to enjoy both come January when Walk-On’s Sports Bistreaux opens in Gilbert. The Baton Rouge based restaurant was founded in 2003 by Brandon Landry, a former walk-on to the LSU basketball team.

“We are so excited to be able to bring Walk-On’s to the City of Gilbert and the state of Arizona,” said Franchisee Ken Weaver. “We are honored to be a part of this great community and to introduce the Taste of Louisiana with a game day atmosphere to this fast-growing city! We look forward to meeting everyone at the ceremony, as well as building our roster of all-star team members.”

In addition to Louisiana food staples including Crawfish Etouffe and Duck & Andouille Gumbo the restaurant will serve 48 beers on tap. Sports fans will be able to see every play from all Phoenix sports teams on 75 TVs. In the coming months the restaurant will be hiring over 200 people to join Walk-On’s team. A ground-breaking ceremony takes place this Thursday October 7th at 11 a.m. with local dignitaries and executives from the restaurant.

Walk-On’s Sports Bistreaux will be at 4828 S. Power Rd. Gilbert and a complete menu and more information can be found on their website.

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

Quick sips & bites of news about what’s going on around the Phoenix restaurant community, breweries and wineries.

Cooper’s Hawk Winery opens 2nd Arizona location

The one stop wine shop, tasting bar & full service restaurant open their 2nd location in Chandler next Monday September 27th. It’s their second location to open in less than a year as they opened in north Scottsdale in December 2020. See my Instagram for my sneak peek tour and tasting.

Today is Press Coffee’s “Day of Giving”

The locally owned coffee roaster & cafe is looking to raise $25,000 at its 8 valley locations today. This annual event is raising money for Southwest Autism Research & Resource Center (SARRC) and is donating 100% of today’s profits from on-line & in-store sales with other valley businesses offering to match Press’s donation.

Wren House Brewing beer pairing dinner at Liberty Tavern next week.

The tavern & smokehouse location at Terravita hosts a dinner with the local brewer’s craft beers paired with chef crafted dishes. On the evening of Wednesday, September 29th guests will enjoy 4 -courses that include Beer Battered Fish & Chips, Smoked Brisket Mole and more for $55++. Reservations are required and space is limited. Visit their website for more information.

Fired Pie is holding a hiring fair September 29th

The expanding fast casual pizzeria is looking to hire 2-3 people at each of its 21 locations around Phoenix and is welcoming people to come in and apply & interview next Wednesday. Back & front of the house, managers and shift leaders have openings and those interested can head to any location from 1:30- 6 p.m. on the 29th. Pay is up to $15/ hour plus $45 bonus after 45 days on the job. Shift meals and other benefits are are offered.

The Italian Daughter launches new dinner menu

The newish Italian restaurant in north Scottsdale has added several new dishes to it extensive menu. Look for dishes such as Prosciutto Wrapped Shrimp, Sicilian Seafood Salad, A Mozzarella Tasting Board, a 12 oz. Chicken Breast Marsala & Short Rib Porcini Ravioli and more.

Don’t forget to check out my podcast, Pulling Corks & Forks: The Podcast with Sandy Wasserman to hear from those in our community. Please subscribe, like & comment.

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

Quick sips & bites of news about what’s going on around the Phoenix restaurant community, breweries and wineries.

Grimaldi’s Pizzeria launches new menu

Earlier this week the locally owned pizzeria group debuted its new Fall seasonal menu. Buffalo Chicken Pizza, Green Apple Sangria, Caramel Apple Cheesecake and a Vodka Peach Mule are just a few of the new dishes & cocktails available until December 6th.

Creamistry to open first West Valley location

The ice cream shop that uses liquid nitrogen to make their delicious desserts opens at Park West, Saturday September 18th. Customers who show up between 12 – 2 p.m to the Peoria’s Park West entertainment center get a free small ice cream. There are 2 other locations in Gilbert and Scottsdale, no free ice cream though.

Don’t forget National Hamburger Day Saturday

The popular comfort food is being celebrated September 18th around town with specially made burgers at Hopdoddy Burger Bar and other burger joints around Phoenix.

Romeo’s Euro Cafe 3rd Tuesday wine dinner is happening

3 courses paired with wines from New Zealand and California at Romeo’s monthly dinner is next Tuesday the 21st. Reservations are needed for dinner at the downtown Gilbert restaurant. Dinner is $39 per person.

Arizona Restaurant Week starts tonight

For the next 10 nights, restaurants feature specially created 3 course menus at $33, $44 or $55. 150+ restaurants are participating the Fall 2021 culinary event. Reservations are highly recommended and a full list of restaurants and their menus can be found at their website. The Arizona Restaurant Association has partnered with the HonorHealth Foundation to raise money for Desert Mission Food Bank during the next 10 days.

Don’t forget to check out my podcast, Pulling Corks & Forks: The Podcast with Sandy Wasserman to hear from those in our community. Please subscribe, like & comment.

Hot Dog Days starts Friday September 3rd at Joe’s Farm Grill

Labor Day weekend we un-offically say “good bye” to summer and “hello” to a month long of gourmet hot dogs and sausages at Gilbert’s Joe’s Farm Grill. From September 3rd til October 3rd celebrate the return of Hot Dog Days with six delicious specially created all-beef, natural cased premium hot dogs & sausages from Phoenix’s Schreiner’s Fine Sausages.

Each Hot Dog Days special come with a side of French fries or another side from the menu. Each hot dog is $12 or a combination of 2 for $18 and a special Peach Melba Shake to wash it down is only $5.50.

Hot Dogs Days gourmet dogs

The six hot dogs are….

Cheddar Coney Dog — A grilled hot dog smothered with mild homemade Michigan Coney sauce and yellow mustard then topped by a quarter-pound mountain of finely shredded Tillamook cheddar cheese; served with diced onions on the side.

Danger Dog — A jalapeno-stuffed, bacon-wrapped fried hot dog with atomic horseradish, honey mustard, homemade sweet-hot pepper relish and a heap of finely shredded ghost pepper jack cheese; served with extra relish on the side.

Carolina Blue Dog — A grilled dog topped with a generous portion of Joe’s signature BBQ pulled pork, tangy blue cheese crumbles, and hand-cut sweet coleslaw then drizzled with Joe’s Real BBQ sauce and homemade coleslaw dressing; served with extra Joe’s Real BBQ sauce on the side.

Sonoran Dog — A long-time Joe’s Farm Grill favorite, this (slightly) new and improved recipe features a jalapeno-stuffed, bacon-wrapped fried hot dog with homemade Farm beans, queso de cotija, pico de gallo and finished yellow mustard and a sour cream-mayo drizzle; served with whole fried peppers on the side.

Big Fat Greek Dog — Schreiner’s smoked Greek-seasoned pork sausage topped with cucumber tzatziki sauce, drizzled with yellow mustard, and then piled high with Joe’s Greek fries (featuring garlic sauce, feta, tomatoes, Kalamata olives, and fresh herbs); served with extra sauce on the side.

Italian Sausage Dog — A fresh sweet Italian link baked into Joe’s fresh-made focaccia dough with pepperoni, marinara, and creamy brick and pecorino-Romano cheeses, then topped with sautéed onions and peppers; served with side of mild Giardiniera (*This hot dog requires a slow hand but is worth the wait! Please allow for slightly longer service time.).

Phoenix Vegan Restaurant Week launches mid-September

Two of the valley’s vegan advocates have come together to launch the first Phoenix Vegan Restaurant Week September 12th- 18th. Chef & author Jason Wyrick and vegan taste maker and owner of Phoenix Vegan Jozh Watson launched the week long culinary event to bring more attention to plant- based restaurants, foods & cooking.

According to Wyrick, “Phoenix Vegan Restaurant Week is a celebration of plant-based cuisine in Phoenix. We want to raise awareness about everything vegan that’s now available in our city, get everyone excited, and out-and-about trying all of the great dining options.”

Phoenix Vegan Restaurant Week
Simon’s Hot Dogs. Feature photo Maya’s Cajun Cuisine’s Po’ Boy

How Phoenix Vegan Restaurant Week works?

The pair are encouraging restaurants, coffee shops, bakeries, food trucks and others to showcase their plant-based cooking and more. During the week participants will be offering a specially created menu with breakfast & lunch offering at $20 and a 3-course dinner menu at $30.

“We want to position Greater Metro Phoenix as a premier, inclusive dining destination,” said Watson.

During the week diners can experience the growing Phoenix plant-based food scene visiting new establishments or returning to familiar ones. A a few of the participating eateries include: Beaut Burger, Brunch & Sip, Chilte, Dilla Libre, Early Bird Vegan, Earth Plant-Based, Giving Tree Café, Ground Control, Hot Sauce & Pepper, Maya’s Cajun Kitchen, Pachamama, Positively Frosted, Salvadoreno Restaurant, Shameless Burger, Simon’s Hot Dogs, The Nile Coffee Shop, Urban Beans Café, Tesoro Vegano, The Vegan Taste, Verdura, and Wok this Way.

According to Wyrick, “Restaurants are experimenting more with vegan cuisine and showcasing some really great offerings. Phoenix Vegan Restaurant Week allows them to cater to a growing clientele and test the waters for expanding their vegan selections.” For more information and to see additional participants head to their website.

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

Quick sips & bites of news about what’s going on around the Phoenix restaurant community, breweries and wineries.

Bring your favorite pooch to Morning Squeeze on August 26th.

Celebrate National Dog Day next Thursday at the popular breakfast & lunch spots locations in Scottsdale, Tempe & downtown Phoenix. Bring them by the restaurant for a free house-made biscuit or something else from the Tail Waggers menu. $.99 Mimosas for you, dog lovers.

Wine Tasting Wednesday Wine at The Mick

One of the best restaurants to open in 2020 is Scottsdale’s The Mick Brasserie & Bar and every Wednesday they host a tasting, usually wine, starting at 6 p.m. Chef Brent (check out my podcast with Brent) creates a special menu for the night and prices do vary week to week. Next Wed. Aug. 25th they’re doing a sake tasting, Sept. 1st- Chardonnays from around the world. Sept. 8th- South African wines, Sept. 15th– Winemaker from Smith/Deveraux Winery Sept. 22nd– Four Peaks Brewery. Visit their website for more information and to see their menu and other up-coming events.

The Buzz Eatery now open in Kierland Commons

After a soft opening in the spring the breakfast, lunch & early dinner spot is now open. Catch a “buzz” from their selection of coffee drinks, wine, cocktails & adult popsicles while enjoying bagels, acai bowls, baked goods, treats and more from their breakfast and all day menu. They open at 7 a.m. Mon. – Sat. & Sun at 8 a.m. and close daily at 7 p.m. For more information and to see the menu check out their website.

Dierks Bentley’s Whiskey Row adds new dishes to the menu

The Gilbert location added 7 new dishes recently from new Executive Chef Dustin Cooke. Sweet Chili Cauliflower, Bourbon Glazed Wings, Truffle Mushroom Burger and Maple Almond Salmon are few of the rock star dishes.

FRANCINE celebrates its 1st anniversary with new cocktails

The French inspired Mediterranean restaurant in the luxury wing of Scottsdale Fashion Square added new cocktails available through the Fall & Winter. The French Connection, an infused rum and St. Germain cocktail, Summer Thyme, uses a Silencio Mezcal base. Le Jardin combines Citadelle gin & yellow chartreuse San Remo is a premium whiskey-based cocktail and Archies Nightcap starts with Botanist Gin & Averna Amaro. All cocktails were created by bartenders Frank Soldano, Gage Myette, Trevyn StClair with the help of Executive Chef Brian ” Chef Archie” Archibald.

Don’t forget to check out my podcast, Pulling Corks & Forks: The Podcast with Sandy Wasserman to hear from those in our community. Please subscribe, like & comment.

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

Quick sips & bites of news about what’s going on around the Phoenix restaurant community, breweries and wineries.

Chino Bandido opens its new location

As featured in a March post, the locally owned Mexican, Asian & Jamaican fusion restaurant is now opened at its new Bell Rd. location. A larger kitchen and restaurant will be cranking out all the favorite dishes of the past 30 years.

Romeo’s Euro Cafe switches up calendar for Saturday dinner

The downtown Gilbert cafe has re-scheduled its weekly Thursday night dinner to tomorrow, Saturday July 10th. The 5-course dinner paired with wines will offer smaller versions off their everyday menu. Dinner starts at 6:30 p.m. and $39 plus tax and gratuity gets you a seat at the table. Call 480-962-4224 to make a reservation.

Pedal Haus Brewery helping to raise money for Show Low bike accident victims

The fundraiser takes place Saturday July 10th at the Tempe location at 6 a.m. for riders to get some much needed fuel (coffee & breakfast). The ride starts at 6:30 and the restaurant will open at 8:30 for the day. The local brewer is partnering with bicycle advocacy groups to raise money for victims of the June 19th accident when a truck drove into a group of 30 riders. 100% of the proceeds of Day Drinker Light Lager and 50% of the Bottomless Breakfast will be donated to the victims and their families. More information and to register can be found here. To make a donation click here.

Found:RE Hotel is Jamaican me crazy Saturday night

The 8th of its monthly Passport Series sets sail to the western Caribbean island. Match Market & Bar will become a tropical getaway from 6 -10 p.m. Saturday July 10th. Cuisine, cocktails and entertainment will be enjoyed for $15 including a cocktail. Collect stamps for your passport to win prizes and more. Register for the evening here.

Fired Pie celebrates 8 years with $8 specials on July 13th

All 21 locations are offering $8 Mac ‘N Cheese, Pizza and Salads for only $8 all day long. There is an up charge for cauliflower/gluten-free pizzas, limit one per customer and no 3rd party deliveries. For online ordering use promo code EIGHT.

Don’t forget to check out my podcast, Pulling Corks & Forks: The Podcast with Sandy Wasserman to hear from those in our community. Please subscribe, like & comment.

Frenchie Pizza bringing a French twist to pizza in Gilbert

The Buschetz family own and operate 3 restaurants in the East Valley and this week will add a 4th when they open Frenchie Pizza on Thursday July 8th. The restaurant will serve American thin sliced pizza along with “flammekueche” or “flammies” for short. The unleavened crispy flatbread is popular throughout the Alsace region of France.

Co-owner and Executive Chef Fabrice Buschetz is a native of France and relocated to Arizona from his home country in 2013 with his wife and co-owner Máiréad who is General Manager of all of the family’s restaurants. Says Máiréad “We’ve always used Fabrice’s past experiences in kitchens to develop concepts,” she said. “We have so many ideas in our head we could probably do 20 more different themes easily.” 

Traditional “flammes” will be served and often uses a tangy & creamy white sauce topped with smoked bacon and onions. Other versions on the menu include potato and mushroom toppings and Americanized version to include buffalo chicken and tomato & basil with honey Sriracha. Dessert “flammes” will include Nutella, caramelized apples, bananas and cream cheese. The American style pizza will be made with 00 flower and San Marzano tomatoes.

The fast casual concept offers pizza for take-out and will seat 30 people in the dining room that includes several TV’s. Six draft beers will be on tap along with single serve bottles of wine and a margarita machine will offer the frozen drink.

Frenchie Pizza is at 3765 S. Gilbert Road, Gilbert, AZ 85297 and will be open 7 days a week starting at 11 a.m. For more information check out their website.

Don’t forget to check out my podcast, Pulling Corks & Forks: The Podcast with Sandy Wasserman to hear from those in our community. Please subscribe, like & comment.