Anoche Cantina coming to Mill Ave. in August

Bellevue, Washington based Ascend Hospitality Group is planing to open its first Arizona location in downtown Tempe later this month. Anoche Cantina will be the first of a new restaurant and nightlife concept from AHG’s Director of Marketing and Brand Design Shelby Elmore and will be the first concept she’s co-created. Located in the former El Hefe space Anoche will serve innovative Latin inspired food and cocktails including a build-your-own-margarita bar.

“We’ve had our eye on Tempe for a while and when the opportunity arose for us to take prime real estate on Mill Ave., we jumped at the chance,” said Elaina M. Morris, AHG CEO and president. “We couldn’t be more excited to bring, what we call, the ‘AHG Difference’ to the Valley and join such a thriving community.” 

Thomas Lawson, formerly of Riot Hospitality Group was brought on as AHG had wanted to partner with a local expert operator to help execute its vision.  “It’s nice to be a part of Mill Ave.’s resurgence, this is a great area with rich history,” Lawson said. “Anoche will provide a unique experience to help elevate the ever-expanding community. Through carefully crafted eats and one-of-a-kind nightlife, we look to not just breathe new life into the area but give the area what it’s been craving.”

The scene at Anoche Cantina

Anoche Cantina will have 5,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor space including a shaded patio to enjoy our nice weather. Those there for the nightlife will experience a high quality sound and lighting system that will make Anoche the best party on Mill Ave. Just in time for football season, a sports bar concept from AHG, six40rty is planned for a September opening next door. Large screen TVs, lawn games, upscale bar snacks and witty cocktails will be available indoors and outdoors at the 8,000 square foot sports bar. Both concepts are looking to hire front and back of the house team members and those interested can apply in person or email Lawson at thomas@ascendhg.com.

Anoche Cantina is at 640 S. Mill Ave Tempe 85281.

Caffe Vita joins the Phoenix coffee scene with 1st Arizona location

Phoenicians can’t get enough coffee and on Saturday July 30th there will be a new place to get your daily cup of go-go juice. Seattle’s Caffe Vita opens its ninth location nationwide and first in Arizona in the former Easley’s Fun Shop at 509 W. McDowell Rd. To celebrate their arrival, all day Saturday their giving away a FREE oat milk lattes.

Paying respect to the former tenant and its history in Phoenix, Caffe Vita is preserving several aspects of Easley’s including their signature bright yellow sign “Our business is fun”. Also renting out space in the building will be brewery Roses by the Stairs and men’s clothier Cave and Post.

“It was important for us to give a nod to the beloved business that once called this space home, and we worked with Carol Easley and family to preserve as much of the building as possible while constructing a space that’s uniquely Caffe Vita,” said Deming Maclise, Owner and CEO of Caffe Vita. “We think Phoenix residents will be pleasantly surprised at how much this space feels like an evolution of the location, rather than a takeover.”

Coffee and more at Caffe Vita

Beans will be roasted in a vintage Probat UG 22 and will be overseen by Director of Coffee Sam Spillman. Spillman is the 2019 United States Barista Champion and brings a wealth of knowledge and kindness to the job.

Guests can sip on signature coffee drinks such as Caffe Del Sol Espresso, single origin coffees and Oatdos. The latter is a cortado made with oat milk. Seasonal drinks including the Cold Brew Shandy and Prickly Pear tonic will be exclusive to the Phoenix location. To keep cool on hot days there will also be a selection of slushy drinks.

La Grande Orange Bake Shop, Yo Donut and Suss Pastries will provide locally made pastries and breakfast specialties. On the menu you’ll find a Prickly Pear Fruit Pocket, gluten free and vegan Passion Fruit donuts and more.

Caffe Vita will be open daily from 7 a.m. – 6 p.m. For more information visit 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.

February specials at Serrano’s

Throughout the month of February the family owned Mexican restaurants are featuring 3 dishes on the menu. Chichalada is a fried masa patty stuffed with chicharrones (fried pork bites similar to bacon), onion, cilantro and queso fresco, and topped with tomatillo sauce and crema is served with one side of your choice for $10.99.

The Phat Elvis is part of the Girl Scout Cookie Dessert Challenge and features Tagalongs Graham cracker crust, peanut butter cheesecake, whipped cream and crumbled Girl Scout Tagalongs mixed with bananas and topped with chocolate ganache, brown-sugar bacon and a bonus Tagalong cookie for $7.99. The Strawberry Margarita is the Drink of the Month is $6.99.

All four locations are looking to hire both front and back of the house employees with on the spot walk in interviews every Wednesday from 2 – 4 p.m. Apply online if you can’t get to there on Wednesday’s.

Outdoor dining coming to Nook Kitchen

The Arcadia restaurant will increase capacity by 50 seats when their new covered patio opens. Owner Frank Vairo always envisioned al fresco dining at the restaurant but couldn’t get the city of Phoenix to approve it until it became a necessity during the Covid outbreak. The restaurant remains open for dinner and late night dining on Friday & Saturday’s til 2 a.m. during construction with reservations recommended.

Brick Road Coffee opens in Tempe

Co-owners and husbands Gabe Hagen and Jesse Shank opened their new coffee shop with the Wizard of Oz philosophy of acceptance and self-realization. All are welcome to enjoy a sense of community and art with their daily cup of Joe. Custom made murals by local artist Paige Reesor and L.A. artist Corrie Mattie adorn the walls and gender neutral restrooms. Coffee is supplied by local roaster CULT Artisan Beverage Company and pastries are from Tempe’s Squarz Bakery. Brick Road is on Rural Rd. just south the the 60 Freeway.

Koibito Poke adds a Keto bowl to the menu

Those on the high fat, low carb Ketogenic diet can now get the cauliflower based bowl packed with tuna & salmon, cucumber, green onion, kale, brussel sprouts, Sriracha aioli and topped with sesame seeds. The Keto bowl is available for dine-in, take-out and delivery.

LDV Winery receives 2 awards from prestigious wine competition

The San Francisco Chronicle 2022 Wine Competition announced the Arizona winery took home a gold and silver medal for their 2015 “The Signature” Petite Sirah in the $46 and over category and their 2015 Petite Sirah in the $40- $45.99 category. The competition had 45 judges from the trade, media, retail and hospitality industry and more 5,800 wines from North America were entered.

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.

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.

Fab Chef’s Table offers gourmet food delivery service

Phoenix’s Fabulous Food catering just started the new high-end gourmet meal prep and delivery service, Fab Chef’s Table. The scratch made meals focuses on nutritious and delicious meals that are allergy sensitive. Unlike other meal prep services, it doesn’t rely on specific diets or calorie content but does also offer vegan and vegetarian options.

“As a full-service catering company with a restaurant that was completely shut down due to COVID-19, we’re grateful we were able to keep most of our key staff,” says Chantal Hause, who owns Fabulous Food with husband Skip. “We found that while we couldn’t help execute large events for our clients during this time, they still wanted to enjoy our food so we came up with a solution.” The couple started Fabulous Food in 1996 serving corporate clients with individual fresh made meals for employees and family meals during Thanksgiving, Christmas & Easter. They also over food activities such as cookie making kits with everything you need to decorate desserts.

With feedback from their catering clients, they took popular dishes and created them for home delivery making it easy for customers to heat and eat. All meals are photo ready and memorable, delivered to your front door by the company themselves without any third party delivery. Fab Chef’s Table has a wide delivery area throughout the valley and is willing to work with customers outside the delivery area mutually beneficial to both.

To read more about Fab Chef’s Table or to place an order visit their website.

 

Valley Coffee Co. to offer coffee, craft beers and all day eats

The valley’s crowded coffee scene will get a little more crowded when Valley Coffee Co. opens for business at Portland St. and Central Ave. The pet friendly coffee shop welcomes local residents and visitors to stay and enjoy not only the food and drinks but the art from local artists.

“Valley Coffee Co. has a little something for everyone whether stopping in on the way to work or relaxing with friends and family after a long day,” says Owner Donny Peper, an NAU graduate who grew up in the Valley and resides in the neighborhood. “We’re proud to work with local vendors to feature the best of Arizona food and drink, and we can’t wait to welcome our neighbors and new friends.”

Valley Coffee Co. sources their coffee from Flagstaff’s Firecreek Coffee Roasters and offer local craft beers, kombucha and wines. Light bites and snacks from Scottsdale’s Squarz Bakery include pastries & baked goods and meat pies. Specialty coffee blends, mushroom jerky, gourmet treats and merchandise are available on the shelves for purchase. Artlink Phoenix curated art features the people, places and things found around Phoenix.

Day to day operations and customer satisfaction will be overseen by manager Jace Musfelt who is hiring and those interested can send an email to dt@valley-coffee.com  for more information. Valley Coffee Co. is at 100 West Portland Street and open Monday through Friday from 6:30 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday from 7:30 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. For more information visit 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.

nomada Provisions, a local market opens in Phoenix

The culinary team at Scottsdale’s Nonna Urban Eatery has opened their newest venture nomada Provisions in central Phoenix. The local market will offer the neighborhood coffee, wine crafted foods and more 6 days a week. Owners Valentina Huerta and Chef Gian Franco Brugaletta hope to spark customer’s creative side offering unique labels of cheeses, charcuterie, oils & vinegar and other high end pantry items.

“As we reach a pivotal point for the food and beverage industry, in a post pandemic world, we feel a ‘nomadic’ approach to food is much more aligned with today’s reality,” says Huerta of their new concept. “nomada is intended to allow consumers to explore, travel and dream through food and beverages as ingredients in addition to creating a practical way to access fresh carefully crafted, ready-made options for those with little time to cook. In a way, nomada will continue a primordial love affair with all things gourmet, bon viveur and bon vivant.”

nomada Provisions food & beverage offerings

The market will have ready-made foods, heat & serve foods and retail products with the gourmet foodie and home chef in mind.

Menu items include Dips & Spreads – Hummus, Baba Ganoush and Chicken & Duck Rillette. Seasonal Salads and Bowls featuring a variety of fresh and grilled vegetables, whole grains, salmon and more. “In-Betweens” including the Hummus and Vegetable Wrap and the Chicken Caesar Wrap. Proteins include Half Roasted Chicken or the Duo of Pan Seared Salmon. Fresh pasta will be available including Beet Campanelle, Tagliatelle and Squid Ink or Turmeric Rigatoni complemented by Nonna’s Tomato Sauce, Creamy Parmesan Sauce or Pesto. A variety of sushi and weekly soup will also be on the menu.

The couple is fond of coffee and wine and consider them magical beverages that transport you around the world. Guests can enjoy a cup of coffee, espresso, cappuccino or an Americano while shopping or linger in the cozy coffee lounge. The Arabica and robust beans are hand picked from passionate farmers in the country of origin. Lesser known varietals of wines from small producers from around the world will be stocked to compliment foods without breaking the bank.

nomada Provisions is at 3410 N. 24th St. Phoenix 85016. They are open Tuesday – Sunday from 7 a.m. – 9 p.m. A full menu and information can be found at their website.

Central Kitchen virtual food hall opens in Chandler with 4 concepts

Virtual kitchens/food halls continue to gain popularity with the local restaurant industry. Concept Entertainment Group (CEG), owners of Thirsty Lion Gastropub have opened Central Kitchen, a virtual food hall from the kitchen of Chandler’s Thirsty Lion. Arizona is the 4th state to open Central Kitchen which was launched late last year in Oregon then Texas and Colorado. Guests can order from five concepts Soy Joy Kitchen, Southern Jewel, Killer Wings, Pizza & Spice and Thirsty Lion.

“We’ve been fostering the idea of a kitchen focused on takeout and delivery for the last year,” said John Plew, president and CEO of Thirsty Lion Gastropub. “The pandemic put the process into hyper speed, and we saw this as the perfect opportunity to pivot with the climate and launch an idea that aligns with current consumer demands. Central Kitchen fills a need in the restaurant space by providing multiple culinary offerings from one hub. Guests can order the food that everyone in their home is craving under one ticket.”

All menus include scratch made dishes created by Keith Castro, CEG’s VP of Food and Beverage Executive Chef. Guests can order take-out and delivery from one central website with ease and efficiency.

Soy Joy Kitchen specializes in rice bowls, sushi, ramen and other Asian favorites. Southern Jewel offers Southern fried chicken, Nashville hot chicken, sliders and Southern specialties. Killer Wings serves boneless and traditional wings with a variety of house made sauces. Pizza and Spice has a large selection of gourmet specialty pizzas and salads. Don’t forget burgers, salads, sandwiches and more from the Thirsty Lion and vegetarian options are available from most concepts. Starting January 26th Central Kitchen will offer 25% off each to-go meal ordered at the central website.

 

Tru Tacos PHX pop-up from Jewel’s Bakery starts in December

Taco pop-ups are quite popular these days with gourmet tacos being served up in parking lots, residential drive ways and wine & beer bars. Looking to show off their taco game Justine & Misa Trujillo are launching Tru Tacos PHX pop-up on Friday December 4th at 6 p.m. Serving tacos on the patio outside their Jewel’s Bakery & Cafe. They’ll be drawing from age old family recipes  serving three tacos to start….. carne asada, al pastor & nopal (cactus) tacos. Covid-19 delayed the opening but the two felt now was the right time to share their family recipes.

“The concept of Tru Tacos PHX was born the moment I took my first bite of the al pastor tacos that my husband’s family had prepared for dinner. This recipe has been passed down through the years, with each generation perfecting the original recipe even more. These tacos are the kind you can only get “from mom,” as you can taste the care and heart that goes into each taco, says local chef and co-owner, Justine Trujillo. “You can’t get a taco like this anywhere else.”

The weekly pop-up will be on Tuesday, Friday and Saturday nights starts at 6 p.m. until they sell out. Opening weekend guests will get 2 free tacos of their choice for take-out or enjoy on the patio. Tacos will be prepared on a charcoal trompo grill and served on house made corn tortillas. Salsa de Cacahuate, Salsa Verde and Jalapeno salsa and $2 margaritas, aqua fresca and seasonal local beers will be available.

Tru Tacos PHX is at 4041 E. Thomas Rd. 85008.For more information visit their website.

Dough Riders Wood Fired Pizza Co. rises out of pandemic

A year ago Arin Finger didn’t think he’d be making NY -style pizzas around town but he is. He’s one of many stories of 2020 who had to adapt when the global pandemic to over earlier this year. Finger, a franchisee of i9 Sports, a youth sports organization for over seven years knew how to run his own business and with a network of over 2,500 youths and their families, had what was needed to start Dough Riders Wood Fired Pizza Co.

“With no idea how long the closures would last and refund requests pouring in, I had to do something to support my family and my key employees,” says Finger. “Dough Riders is a solution to a need that developed out of COVID-19 — providing families with wholesome food without leaving home — and we’re proud that we can do something during these times that reconnects neighborhoods and communities.”

Dough Riders signature pizzas

He approached i9 Sports soccer instructor Codey Stetler who had a culinary background at his family’s pizzeria and the new business was born. Both Finger and Stetler are from the east coast and knew creating a menu for Dough Riders would be easy. The two now travel the valley with an 800 degree oven in tow making made-to-order pizzas, appetizers, salads and desserts for farmer’s markets, private & corporate events, outdoor concerts or any occasion is where you’ll find them.

Signature pizzas are made in less than 2 minutes including Elote, made with garlic oil, roasted corn and poblano, bacon, cilantro, Mexican cheese and lime crema; the Backyard BBQ, featuring Dough Riders’ signature BBQ ranch base, mozzarella, BBQ chicken, red onions, crispy bacon and scallions. Appetizers include Garlic Knots, Pepperoni Rolls and others and two salads are offered, The Signature and a Caesar. Save room for desserts, the Sweet Bacon Jammin’ and Stuffed Pizzelle Cookies.

To find Dough Riders Wood Fired Pizza Co. follow them on Facebook and Instagram and head to their website for more information.

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