Bowls of hot ramen continue to see its popularity grow even during the triple digit temperatures of an Arizona summer. That’s no more obvious than the success with JINYA Ramen Bar that opened its first Arizona location in Chandler in 2021. Last week franchisees opened their second location in historical Uptown Phoenix expanding its ramen culture around the valley. The concept was started by Tomo Takahashi in 2010 and has over 50 locations with more set to open. The Japanese philosophy of “kaizen”, meaning “continuous improvement” has JINYA giving the best ramen guests to enjoy.
“Since opening our first location in Chandler, Arizona 2 years ago, we’ve felt so welcomed by the community,” says owner Daradee Olson. “We’re excited to be in such a lively part of the city with our newest location so close to all of the economic development in the Central Phoenix area. The JINYA experience is like no other, and we just can’t wait to continue sharing it with local residents and all the visitors that flock to Phoenix from all over the world.”
At JINYA Ramen bar guests will experience a modern Japanese ambiance while enjoying their slow cooked ramen. The rich broth is simmered for 20 hours before being combined with noodles and toppings including chashu pork, a seasoned poached egg and more. The menu offers signature ramen bowls along with build your own bowls. Signature ramen bowls include Spicy Chicken, Shrimp Wonton and Spicy Umami Miso ramen. Vegetarian and gluten free bowls are also on the menu along with Small Plates and Chef Specials of Spicy Tuna Tacos, a JINYA Bun and Pork Spare Ribs. Rice and Curry Bowls are also popular dishes. A full bar is available to enhance the customer experience to pair with ramen or Japanese tapas.
The Phoenix location is at 5120 N. Central Ave. and is open seven days a week from 11 a.m. – 10 p.m. For more information and to view the menu visit their website.
Scottsdale’s Kasai Japanese Steakhouse is hosting its 2nd annual Fire & Fairways Charity Golf Tournament June 5th at Silverado Golf Club. The tournament will be raising money for Arizonans for Children, a 501(c)(3) non-profit that helps abused, neglected and abandoned children. Golfers will compete for prizes including a 2 year lease on a Cadillac, a golf trip to Pebble Beach, $10,000 cash and more.
“Kasai is eager to help make a difference for Arizona’s foster children,” said Owner Mike Russello. “In 2022, we raised more than $10,000 after costs, and we hope to continue to make a greater impact for our state’s most vulnerable populations.”
The tournament starts at 7:30 a.m. when a helicopter will drop hundreds of golf balls on a putting green with the three closet balls to the hole winning a prize. After the tournament Kasai Japanese Steakhouse will host lunch that will include sushi, teppanyaki, cocktails, raffles and prizes. Guests not playing in the tournament can attend at 12:30 p.m. by purchasing tickets online for $40 or the day of for $50. Guest’s tickets include a buffet lunch, a cocktail and a raffle ticket.
Registration for the tournament is $175 until May 31st. A Slow Roller rate of $225 will be available from June 1st-5th. Sign-in for the tournament will begin at 6:20 a.m. on the 5th. For more information or to register head to their website.
The locally owned fast casual Ramen Hood is celebrating the opening of its second location at 1940 W. Chandler Blvd. The first location of the build-your-own ramen shop opened in 2018 in north Scottsdale and and Founder and CEO James Xie couldn’t be happier. Xie was inspired by his love of food and Japanese culture when he decided to open the upscale concept.
“We’re excited to officially celebrate our second location in Chandler, and what better time than during National Noodle Month,” said Xie. “You don’t have to be an experienced traveler to enjoy real ramen – we use a combination of traditional and contemporary methods while using fresh, quality ingredients, just like ramen shops in Japan. Best of all, you can create your own signature bowl with as many ingredients as you want.”
To celebrate the opening and National Noodle Month a March 29th grand opening is planned from 4-7 p.m. 20% of the days proceeds will be donated to the Arizona Cancer Foundation for Children. Expect a ribbon cutting with the Chandler Chamber of Commerce at 4-5 p.m. and a ramen eating contest at 5:30. Those interested can see the rules on their Facebook page and contact the restaurant via social media. The first 25 to attend will receive a $10 gift card and all month long customers who mention National Noodle Month will receive 10% off. For more information visit their website.
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.
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.
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.”
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.