Austin, Texas based Hai Hospitality plans to open its first Arizona restaurant later in 2023 when Uchi opens in Old Town Scottsdale. It will be the James Beard award winning restaurant groups sixth location of its flagship restaurant and will be located in the previous Bandera restaurant at Scottsdale Rd. and 1st St. Hai also operates Uchiko, Uchibā and Loro Asian Smokehouse and bar.
“We’re both honored and excited to have the opportunity to bring Uchi even further ‘West’ to Scottsdale, said Hai Hospitality CEO Tony Montero. “I know Uchi will only add to the already vibrant and dynamic mix of destination dining, eclectic art, and nightlife in Old Town Scottsdale when it opens later this year, and we’re looking forward to bringing the distinct flavors, unique perspective, and unparalleled dining experience that is Uchi to Arizona,” he said.
What to expect at Uchi
“Uchi” translates to “home” in Japanese and is named after the little red house where Chef Tyson Cole opened the first Uchi in 2003. Cole’s non-traditional take on Japanese cuisine balances elevated dishes with relaxed service in a welcoming atmosphere. Guests dining at the restaurant can expect a menu that is updated daily and includes signature hot & cold tastings, sushi & sashimi, makimono, yakimono and tempura. A ten course seasonal omakase chef’s tasting, six course tasting and a six course vegetarian tasting will also be offered. Signature cocktails, sake, beer and wine will be ayailable to compliment the food.
The restaurant will seat 180 people and feature a sushi bar, cocktail bar, outdoor patio and private dining room. Phoenix based architecture and urban design firm AV3 Design and Tucson’s architect and design studio Hazelbaker Rush will design the restaurant. Two sculptural’s will flank both the sushi and cocktail bar along with wood ceilings and artwork and lighting fixtures from local artists.
Check out my podcast Pulling Corks & Forks: The Podcast with Sandy Wasserman to hear from those in our community. Please subscribe, like & comment.
Quick sips & bites of news about what’s going on around the Phoenix restaurant community, breweries and wineries.
1/2 off bottles of wine at Kasai for National Red Wine Day
Sunday August 28th the Japanese steakhouse in Scottsdale celebrates all day with $2 off all glasses and 1/2 all bottles of wine. Red wines make great pairings for several entrees including Caymus Cabernet pairs well with Mongolian Lamb Chops, Angeline goes well with Wagyu Sliders and Yolo with the NY Strip.
Schmooze welcomes back students & teachers this weekend
All students and teachers can get 15% off their order today through Sunday at the downtown Scottsdale coffee shop & cafe. Mention “Back to Schmooze” and present a valid ID when ordering to get your discount. Looking to buy gift cards? If so, their also offering a free $20 gift card when purchasing a $100 gift card. Both offers are only available in store when ordering from a team member.
Pork on a Fork gives police and fire personnel 50% off
The new Chandler location is saying “thanks” to all members on Tuesday & Wednesday August 30th & 31st. The first responders will need to show ID to get the discount.
Cult favorite peach topped pizza back at Myke’s Pizza
The popular downtown Mesa eatery brings back it’s uncommon fruit topped pizza. While supplies (peaches) last, usually into October, guests can get a pizza topped with aged Gouda and mozzarella cheeses, crispy sage, pistachios, and golden Utah peaches for $18.50. Owner Myke Olson was inspired by his mother’s peach pies she made when he was growing up in Utah. The pizza shop has gained national attention for his use of peaches and other fruits on his pizzas.
Koibito Poke offers student discounts at all locations
All Phoenix area locations offer students with ID 15% off your entire purchase daily from 2 – 5 p.m.
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.
Master sushi chef and owner Engin Onural is bringing his popular sushi restaurant Sandfish Sushi and Whiskey to Phoenix’s Melrose District come May. A hit in Palm Springs the experience includes hard to get Japanese whiskeys, the foundation of the restaurant’s cocktail program. Onural has been recognized by the Sushi Proficiency Institute and certified by the AJSA Sushi Skills Institute. He placed in the Best Chefs America Index in 2015 and was the recipient of the World Sushi Cup and Kuro-Obi Pin in 2017.
“We put an incredible amount of care and attention to detail into everything we do from start to finish at Sandfish to ensure an impeccable experience when guests dine with us,” says Chef Onural. “We look forward to creating an environment where the residents of Phoenix can enjoy an intimate date night or a special celebration.”
What to expect at Sandfish Sushi and Whiskey
Guests dining at Sandfish will be taken on a culinary journey that will tantalize all the senses. The expertly curated menu starts with Spicy Tuna Tostada, Stuffed Zucchini Blossoms and more. Signature rolls are where Onural lets his creative senses flow with The Experiment Roll (snow crab with mango, avocado and cucumber topped with tuna, jalapeno, cilantro and yuzu aioli) and the Baby Langoustine Roll (crab meat and avocado topped with tempura-style baby langoustine, spicy aioli, teriyaki sauce and micro greens).
Braised and grilled Spanish Octopus and Hamachi Kama (yellowtail collar) are just a couple dishes that aren’t sushi. Salads, sushi rolls and carpaccio are featured on the menu. The adventurous may opt for the Omakase Chef’s Tasting Menu which includes popular dishes with a few surprises from Onural. Save room for the signature Matcha Cheese cake for dessert. The bar will include signature and classic cocktails, sake, beer, wine and mocktails. Whiskeys from around the world will also be available.
Sandfish Sushi and Whiskey will be at 4232 N. 7th Ave. Phoenix and is currently hiring staff for all positions. For more information visit their website.
The intersection at 44th St. & Camelback Rd. has always been one of the busiest in Phoenix and will get even busier when the mixed-used development The Grove opens later this year. The first restaurant to announce it will open there will be the Japanese bistro Pyro from Omaha-based Flagship Restaurant Group.
“The Flagship Restaurant Group team and I are very excited to bring Pyro to The Grove,” said Nick Hogan, CEO and co-founder of Flagship Restaurant Group. “We felt that it was the right time to bring our brand-new concept to this location, as there is much development taking place in-market and residents and travelers in Phoenix are always looking for the right mix of creativity coupled with responsibly-sourced fare. Everything we serve our guests is fully transparent, from the farms the vegetables come from to the areas where each of our fish is sourced. We are looking forward to another new chapter in the city.”
Flagship’s other concepts in Phoenix are Châm Pang Lanes, Palma and Ghost Donkey in the Roosevelt Row Arts District.
What to expect at Pyro
When opened Pyro will be 4,200 square feet including large outdoor patio with an open hearth and full bar. The restaurant uses an open flame for cooking sustainably sourced seafood and proteins. The fire will give each dish its own unique layers of flavor and texture. The cocktail bar will offer classic and signature cocktails from a wide variety of spirits and wine.
“The Grove is dedicated to bringing innovative and exclusive dining options to the Valley with a sophisticated flair,” said Mike Ebert, managing partner at RED Development. “Pyro is setting the standard for the caliber of culinary offerings we’ll be welcoming at The Grove, we couldn’t be more honored to announce an original concept as the first restaurant to call it home.”
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
As live events continue returning fans of Asian food will want to circle Saturday, January 29th on the calendar. That’s when the Metro Phoenix Night Market returns showcasing a variety of food and culture from China, Korea and other Far East and southeast Asian countries. The Press Room in Tempe will host the event that starts at 4 p.m. for early admission ticket holders.
Vendors will offer at least one menu item for $5 or less with beer and cocktails also available for purchase. A curated market with local artists will be showcasing their work at the outdoor event. All vendors will accept cash or credit but cash is suggested and parking is free.
Early admission tickets are $14.99 to get in at 4 p.m., General Admission starts at 5:30 p.m. and tickets are $10. Happy Hour starts at 8 p.m. and tickets are $6.00 and children aged 7-12 are $4.00. Children under 7 are free. Tickets prices don’t include sales tax or a booking fee. You can purchase tickets to the Metro Phoenix Night Market here and get more information and stay updated at their Facebook page. The Press Room is at 3125 S.52nd St. Tempe 85292.
Downtown Phoenix’s Bitter & Twisted Cocktail Parlour has joined forces with the award-winning Aioli Gourmet Burgers for a new menu to pair with their cocktail program. The newly re-vamped menu was created by Aioli’s Executive Chef Vicktor Velez.
“Bitter & Twisted has always been committed to innovation and constant evolution with the ultimate goal of providing a world-class cocktail lounge experience here in Phoenix. With their food truck roots and success now as top flight restaurateurs, I knew Tom and Kyle were the perfect partners for the B&T kitchen, and Chef Vicktor has created some amazing new dishes and flavors,” says proprietor Ross Simon, who also notes that B&T founding chef, Bob Tam, remains a partner at B&T, while also having more “freedom and opportunities to concentrate on his other businesses and partner projects.”
New dishes at Bitter & Twisted
Chef Velez’s new menu is inspired by his travels through Japan, Hong Kong and the Philippines while still keeping with Aioli’s co-owners Tommy D’Ambrosio and Kyle Hollenbeck vision of sourcing fresh, seasonal & local ingredients. Guests to Bitter & Twisted can enjoy dishes such as Togarashi Tuna Tataki, one of Velez’s favorites on the new menu, along with Korean French Fries, Korean Loaded Nachos, Truffled Mac & Cheese and of course an Aioli burger.
“It’s a huge honor for us to have this opportunity to partner with Ross at Bitter & Twisted. I’m proud to see Chef Vicktor’s growth and development in this role as he continues to create new and innovative dishes,” said Tom D’Ambrosio, Owner/Chef of Aioli Gourmet.
The award-winning cocktail bar has also updated their hours of service from Tuesday through Thursday (4 – 11pm food served till 10pm) and Friday and Saturday (4pm – 1am food served till 10pm), with Happy Hour served Tuesday through Friday (4 – 6 pm). Bitter & Twisted Cocktail Parlour is located at 1 W. Jefferson St. (Jefferson & Central) Phoenix. For information check their website.
As we said goodbye to April we said hello to the first Arizona location of contemporary Japanese restaurant JINYA Ramen. Downtown Chandler’s New Square development is where franchisee Daradee Olson opened the 40th location of the concept that was founded in 2010. Olso discovered the concept while vacationing in Utah and having lived & traveled in Southeast Asia she wanted to bring the concept home to Arizona.
JINYA Ramen offers bowls of broths slow cooked for 20 hours and handmade noodles. Fuji water is used for broths because its 99.9% free of impurities and noodles go through a special aging process before they are cooked. 12 signature ramen are on the menu and including chicken, pork and vegetable based broths. Guests can customize their bowl with more than 25 add-ons. In addition to ramen guests can order starters, salads, small plates and rice bowls that can be prepared vegan or vegetarian.
Local and Japanese craft beers, wine and signature cocktails are available at the bar. The sake menu has been curated by both Olson and General Manager Stephanie Daniels who are certified sake sommeliers.
According to Olson, “After eating at JINYA for the first time, I knew this was the style of ramen I had been searching for in the United States. When I returned home, I immediately began the process of bringing a JINYA Ramen Bar to the Valley.” Olson is so passionate about the concept she has plans to open four more locations in greater metro Phoenix over the next four years.
Guests can enjoy themselves inside the 60 seat restaurant that includes a ramen bar or on the patio with views of downtown Chandler. The modern & sleek atmosphere includes lively music and views of the kitchen in action from the ramen bar. JINYA Chandler is at 130 S. Arizona Avenue, Chandler, Ariz., 85225. For more information, call 480-758-5198 or visit their website.
Founder & CEO Scott Stuart has opened the second location of his popular Scottsdale sushi & Asian style restaurant, Wok ‘N Roll in Phoenix at the corner of Thomas & Central. Known for its sushi, Chinese food, sports and rock n roll music Stuart opened his first location at Miller & Camelback Rds. in June ’18.
“Wok ‘N Roll combines two of my passions: great Asian food and classic rock ‘n roll. When we decided to open in Scottsdale, the name was a natural. We serve delicious sushi and Chinese favorites and put a smile on our customers’ faces with a bit of edgy irreverence.” says Stuart.
An accountant by trade, Wok ‘N Roll isn’t Stuart’s first restaurant as he opened O’Malley’s Sports, Spirits and Grill in Phoenix. He left the industry to raise his daughter then jumped at the opportunity to take over the former J’s Kaiyo Sushi. The fun and casual restaurant offers build-your-own rice & noodles bowls, traditional Chinese dishes and sushi. Starters such as Big Eye Tune Poke, Cucumber Salad and wings also adorn the menu. His fondness of Classic Rock can be found in his signature cocktails with names such as “2 Tickets to “Paradise” and “Smokin in the Boys Room”.
“Last year, when we were allowed to offer take-out only, I’d DJ on the patio in Scottsdale. People gathered in the parking lot. Then I did pig roasts for fans to recall the scents of our kitchen. More people gathered. As a result, when we were able to increase occupancy, we came out of COVID strong.”
The Phoenix location is larger than the Scottsdale location at 4,000 square feet and includes a lot of rock & roll memorabilia and lyrics of favorite songs on the wall. “Wok ‘N Roll appeals to boomers AND the younger crowds who grew up hearing their parents’ brand of rock music played over the years. It’s a fun, welcoming atmosphere and rewarding for us because we appeal to a wide range of patrons. We’re very excited to bring our concept to Central Phoenix.”
Wok ‘N Roll Phoenix is at 2801 N. Central Ave. Phoenix 85004. For more information check out their website or follow them on Facebook and Instagram.
Saturday February 27th bring the newest location of Beard Papa’s famous cream puffs to the Scottsdale Quarter. Started in 1999 as small bakery in Osaka, Japan they’ve grown to over 400 locations in 15 countries and territories. Known for creating the “world’s best cream puffs”, guests customize their own cream puff with unique and traditional flavors.
Guest chooses from 8 cream puff shells that include Oreo cookie crumble eclair, green tea eclair and more. Then choose the fillings from seasonal to traditional flavors.
“The cream puffs are far from your traditional frozen puff found in the freezer aisle. The recipe is simply addicting. I’ve never met anyone that has tried Beard Papa’s that doesn’t crave it again the days following,” says Tucker Kaufman, a marketing representative for the franchise. “The product is unique in that there is nothing else like it on the market. From the high-quality ingredients used in the custard filling to the puff shells that are freshly baked throughout the day, the Beard Papa’s experience is unmatched.”
The first 100 people in line at Beard Papa’s on Saturday will receive a free swag bag and everybody gets a free cream puff with purchase. For more information visit their website.
Quick sips & bites of news about what’s going on around the Phoenix restaurant community, breweries and wineries.
New Year, new menu at Kasai Japanese Steakhouse
The Scottsdale teppanyaki restaurant added several new dishes and a dozen cocktails to its menu. Coconut Chicken Skewers, Lobster Fried Rice and Kabayaki Scallops are just a few of the new dishes. Cocktails include the Woodsman & Sweet Orchard which uses Japanese whiskeys and other ingredients. A full list of sake and Japanese whiskey are available.
Keto friendly bread now available from Mediterra Bakehouse
The family-owned artisan bakery now sells breads for those who follow a keto diet. Keto wheat flower is lower in carbohydrates and rich in protein. Sunflower, flax and sesame seeds are added for more nutritional value. Each loaf is $8 and can be found at local farmer’s markets, AJ’s Fine Foods, Divine Bakery, Luci’s Healthy Marketplace and Le Grande Orange.
Michael Waltrip Brewing Co. partners with Mobetta Golf Tour
Golfer John Daly co-founded the tour has named the NASCAR champions “Two Times” beers “Official Beer of the Mobetta Tour”. A Phoenix brewery and taproom are in development.
Match Market & Bar to host Great Gatsby dinner
The signature restaurant at the Found:RE Hotel will be transformed into an epic event on Saturday February 6th. A Gatsby inspired five-course dinner paired with themed cocktails of the times will be served to those in attendance. Dinner is called for 7 p.m. and is $75 per person and can be purchased here.
Morning Squeeze coming to downtown Phoenix
The popular breakfast and lunch spot will open its 3rd location in the Spring at 1st and Washington streets. Known for playing 70s and 80s music the new restaurant will include an indoor and outdoor bar, grab n go area for take- away food and ample outlets to plug in your devices for people to meet, eat & work.