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.
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.
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.
We’ve here about the demise of many small businesses from the pandemic, especially the toll taken by restaurants and food related businesses that relied on walk-in business. As many fall, others will rise taking advantage of the new reality of on-line ordering and contact-free delivery. The new Mad Flavors Coffee offers the both when it delivers cold brew and whole bean coffee to your door.
What’s not to like about the gluten-free, un-sweetened, zero calorie, dairy-free & vegan half gallon and gallon containers of cold brew. Mad Flavors has started with 4 flavors of cold brew Horchata, Peanut Butter & Jelly, Costa Rican and Strawberry Mocha and 15 flavors of single origin whole bean in 12 oz. bags.
“I’m thrilled to finally launch Mad Flavors. I’ve been in the coffee business for over 10 years in Phoenix, so, being able to bring my own brand to fruition and share my passion for flavored coffee with my community is something myself and my family are very proud of. I can’t wait for everyone to try it,” says founder Astro Alvarez.
“Nuestro amor, nuestra pasión. Our cold brew flavors are what set our company apart from the rest. We source only the highest quality beans and roast them daily right here in Phoenix. We flavor our coffee with no added sugars, syrups, or sweeteners,” continued Alvarez.
Coffee drinkers can get FREE delivery in the Phoenix area based on the daily delivery zone found on the website. Outside of Phoenix Mad Flavors Coffee will deliver beans for home brewing. The cold brew can be strong so drinkers can adjust strength by adding to your desired strength and flavor. Flavors will be added to on a regular basis.
With all the new development in the southern part of Scottsdale new businesses are opening to provide amenities in one of the hottest neighborhoods in the valley. With the new Papago Plaza under construction and other developments along Scottsdale and McDowell roads residents new and old will have a new wine and beer retailer when Trevor’s Liquors opens in November. It will be joining RIFT Tap & Wine Bar which just opened nearby that I posted about in July.
Trevor’s is the sister to Prescott’s Park Plaza Liquors & Deli and is owned by Jeff McDonald and Trevor Philips. Over 15,000 sq. ft. of space will include a large selection of single barrel bourbons and Arizona’s largest selection of agave. Beers will be housed in a walk in beer cave and and 50 reach in cooler doors. Trevor’s will also offer a 400 sq. ft. cigar humidor and a dedicated cigar patio. A craft beer and wine bar with a covered beer garden patio will let customers to enjoy beverages and socialize.
There’s a game area with corn hole boards and a rotating schedule of food trucks will be scheduled for customers. Trevor’s will be at 7340 E. McDowell Rd. 85257. For more information check out their website.
If all goes as planned with the expiration of the current Covid-19 lock down on Monday July 27th south Scottsdale could have a new beer and wine bar in early August. Regardless of the lock down Rift Tap and Wine Bar opens for curbside pick-up and delivery that same Monday. Rift is the brainchild of owners Damien Kanser, a wine industry veteran and friend Jon Coppins, the winemaker at Su Vino Winery.
Named after a Phish album that inspired Kanser since his childhood, Rift converted a spot that was a convenience store at Fillmore and Scottsdale Rd.. With little or nothing for craft beer and wine between old town Scottsdale and Tempe they felt this would be the perfect location for their neighborhood bar. The neighborhood is home to many service industry people and young professionals who have had nowhere to gather since Papago Brewing Co. closed a few years ago.
Rift will feature affordable wines and beers from local brewers and wineries and from across the country and the world. 25 beers on tap will be poured along with wines by the glass as guests gather at the 23 seat bar, high top tables or couches. Food trucks will be scheduled for guests to enjoy a bite to eat with their beer and wine. Coolers will house cold beers to go along with a few racks of retail wines. Kanser envisions Rift’s retail component as a quick grab n go for people to purchase on a regular basis to enjoy with dinner or by the pool. They’re sourcing limited production small batch beers directly from brewers giving the shop a unique selection by the bottle and tap.
The wine club at Rift Tap and Wine Bar
This fall Rift will house a studio for their “Spilling the Truth” podcast they started in late 2018. Windows to the studio will allow guests to view podcasts live with brewers and winemakers joining the podcast.
Two wine clubs will be offered featuring local wines and wines to a national audience based on wineries visiting the podcast.
Rift is at 431 N. Scottsdale Rd. Scottsdale 85257. For updates check out their Facebook page.
Donut fans back east and in southern California know about the popularity of Duck Donuts. Arizona will have “Warm, Delicious Made-to-Order” donuts starting Saturday December 21st when the first Arizona franchise opens in Chandler.
The 1,053 square foot store will welcome their first customers at 8 a.m. at Fulton Ranch Towne Center at Arizona & Ocotillo. Customers will watch as their donuts go from dough to warm, delicious donuts then topped however you like. The vanilla cake donuts can be turned into donut sandwiches and donut sundaes to go with their signature coffees.
Franchisee Daniel Bruno says “While living in Charlotte, North Carolina, we vacationed to the Outer Banks while my wife was pregnant with our first child. She was craving sweets and I suggested Duck Donuts. While waiting in line you could smell the aroma of warm donuts and from that moment I was hooked. Once we moved back to Arizona, my wife was pregnant with our second child and craved Duck Donuts again! Once I realized we did not have a nearby location, I quickly started my inquiry into bringing the Duck Donuts brand to Arizona, and now we are officially ready to provide the Chandler community, friends and family our warm, delicious and made-to-order donuts.”
Russ DiGilio founded Duck Donuts in 2006 in Duck, North Carolina. He decided to open the first shop when he couldn’t find warm, delicious donuts on the Outer Banks while on a family vacation. There are now 87 locations in 26 states and 3 countries with more on the way. Duck Donuts Chandler will be open 7 days a week at 4040 S. Arizona Ave. Suite 8. Find more about them at their Facebook page or the company website.
When Little Rituals opened last week in downtown Phoenix it raised the bar for other hotel bars. Located on the 4th floor of the Courtyard by Marriott/Residence Inn the cocktail bar is the mastermind of mixologists Aaron Defeo and Ross Simon. DeFeo is no stranger to hotel bars as he was property mixologist at Tucson’s Casino del Sol Resort. Simon is the owner of downtown’s Bitter & Twisted Cocktail Parlour.
The bar joins Broken Shaker ( Miami, L.A., Chicago & NYC) and Death Co. (NYC & Denver) to offer guests and locals a unique hotel bar experience. Open daily from 4 p.m. – 2 a.m. guests can expect 30 custom cocktails along with beer, wine and gourmet bites from consulting chef Bob Tam. Interesting touches at the independently owned bar include hand stamped ice, espresso martinis on tap and a pairing menu.
Preparation and education is key
What you don’t see is as important as what you see and sip on. DeFeo and Simon have created a culture of extensive staff training and drink preparation. Cocktails are made with house-made foams, infusions, garnishes, syrups and more. The menu focuses on the use of aromatic vermouth’s and sherry’s.
The cocktails are in 6 categories with 5 cocktails each.
Daily Rituals (Boilermakers, Siroco Spritz and a precisely-chilled, grapefruit-finished Session Martini)
Delicious Rituals (exciting flavor combinations such as the honey, citrus and curry-spiced Daiqurry)
Cooling Rituals (heat-busting combos such as the frothy Amalfi Frappe or the cucumber-y Touch of Evil)
Stirred & Silky Rituals (elegant twists on classics such as the sherry-spiked Cask of Amontillado)
Indulgent Rituals (complex flavors such as the Cartographer with overproof rum, cardamom and creole bitters)
Shared Rituals (ever-changing selection of punches, pitchers and the aforementioned Bubbles & Fries)
Apertivo hour is from 4-6 p.m. daily and offers discounted prices on a rotating list of cocktails, beer, wine and bites.
The bar bites menu offers 10 dishes including Beet Carpacio, Millionaire’s Bacon Board and Carbonara Lo Mein from the Hong Kong born chef Tam. Make sure you save room for the High Spirited Desserts.
The hotel is at 132 S. Central Ave. Phoenix 85004. 602-603-2050. Visit the website and their Facebook page for more information.
After finding loyal fans for their cookie dough Scoopwell’s Dough Bar is opening Saturday January 12th at Phoenix’s Uptown Plaza. Kendra and John Scheer started Scoopwell’s Dough Bar in early 2018 as a pop-up at Tempe Public Market Cafe. The pop-up was a success selling out and the husband and wife team decided to open a permanent store front.
“We can’t wait to open in Uptown Plaza,” said Kendra Scheer. “Whether you checked us out earlier this year, or you’ve never tried edible cookie dough before, we promise to save you something sweet.”
Scoopwells’ offer 11 different dough flavors and even more sweet toppings. Gourmet flavors include Lemon Poppyseed, Brownie Batter and Rainbow Sprinkle are made from scratch. Delicious seasonal flavors and other year round favorites will be served. Mix-in Twix bars, peanut butter chips, pretzels and others for even more enjoyment.
When the doors open at 10:00 a.m. sharp the first 50 people in line will get Free Dough For A Year. The punch card they receive will be good for 1 small cup of dough a month. If you’re not one of the first 50, you’ll receive a free collectible gift and entered to win an Uptown Plaza gift bag.
For an even sweeter deal Scoopwell’s will be handing out gifts and giveaways all weekend long.
Find Scoopwell’s at 100 E. Camelback Rd #164 Phoenix 85012.
Downtown Chandler’s new Overstreet retail and dining spot just scored big with Flix Brewhouse as an anchor tenant. The nine auditorium movie house will include a restaurant and working microbrewery that will open this winter. Located at Chandler Blvd. and Arizona Ave. this will be the first Flix Brewhouse in Arizona.
“We’re thrilled to call Chandler our new home,” says Director of Marketing for Flix Brewhouse, Greg Johnson. “The East Valley is the perfect place for a dine-in movie-going concept. Plus, Chandler is already well-established on the national beer map, so we’re looking to really add to the city’s profile with our award-winning brews.”
What to expect at Flix Brewhouse
The state-of-the-art theater will offer dine-in food at every seat and offer first run movies on wide-format screens. Guests can order award-winning regionally inspired beers brewed in-house in small batches to compliment the gastropub food menu.
On the food side expect appetizers, wraps, salads, burgers, pizza and a brunch menu. A dessert menu and kid’s menu is also available. Flix Brewhouse sources regional produce and use scratch-made dough.
Each theater will include wide seats, ultra high resolutions 50 foot screens, Dolby sound technology and digital projection.
The Overstreet development will opening in December and you can get update’s for the Chandler location at their website.