Firecreek Coffee Company opens first Phoenix location

Flagstaff’s Firecreek Coffee Company has opened its first Phoenix area location and fourth in the state, this week on Thomas Rd. and 46th St. It’s Founder’s Mike Funk’s second go round in the Phoenix coffee community after he opened Cafe Tech in downtown Phoenix in the early 1990s. He gained his coffee “know how” in the 1980s when he was in the coffee industry where else, in Seattle. He moved to Flagstaff to open his first location in 2008 with locations in Sedona and Cottonwood soon following.

“It’s extremely rewarding to be back in the Phoenix area and to be continuing the Firecreek Coffee legacy here in the Valley,” says Mike Funk, founder of Firecreek Coffee Company. “We can’t wait to introduce our unique culture to the Arcadia neighborhood and look forward to becoming a part of the community for years to come.”

Funk has been in every aspect of the coffee industry including building espresso carts, importing coffee machines, opening coffee bars and supplying hotels & restaurants with premium coffee. He plans to open other Phoenix area locations and a roasting facility at 16th St. & McDowell Rd. which will also double as event and concert venue. Firecreek Coffee Company

Firecreek offers small batch coffee, small bites and sweet treats made by pastry chefs in the morning and afternoon. Guests can enjoy quiche, toast options, salads, Paninis and pastries with their coffee drinks. Consumers have been buying whole beans at AJ’s Fine Foods and Whole Foods throughout Arizona and Firecreek supplies other coffee shops with their beans.

The Phoenix location is opened from 7 a.m. – 3 p.m. with plans for longer hours in the future to offer craft cocktails and more. For more information visit their website.

 

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.

 

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.

Oktoberfest at Pedal Haus Brewery October 2nd

Hard to believe its October and that means beer, brats and polka music in downtown Chandler. Saturdays celebration will include award-winning locally brewed beer and locally made brats from Von Hanson’s Meats along with pork schnitzel. Live music, a sausage eating contest and a stein hoisting contest are all part of the festivities. The Tempe location will be hosting its festival Saturday the 9th.

Wild Arizona dinner with Chef Brett Vibber hosted at Pillsbury Wine Company

Good news, two of my podcast guests are collaborating during the Willcox Wine Festival Weekend that’s coming up on October 16th & 17th. Sam Pillsbury’s award-winning winery is hosting a 6-course Wild Cuisine Dinner prepared by Chef Vibber. The $65 per person dinner starts at 5 p.m. and includes a glass of Rose 20. Bottles of wine are available for purchase and camping overnight is only $15. To see the full menu and purchase you tickets click on this link.

Smokin’ hot new menu items at Trapp Haus BBQ

Pitmaster Phil “The Grill” Johnson is adding to his menu starting today with Chicken Fried Nachos ($9.99) and more later this month. With Thanksgiving fast approaching (Yay!!) the downtown Phoenix restaurant debuts on October 18th a 1/2 lb. Cajun Fried Turkey Breast ($12.99) and a Turkey Monte Christo (13.99). Check out my interview with Phil here.

Press Coffee opening new downtown Phoenix location

The coffee roaster is opening its 9th location next Friday, October 8th at Van Buren and 2nd Street. During the opening weekend the community minded business will sell $1 drip coffees with 100% of its profits going to Pawsitive Friendships. The local non-profit provides animal assisted therapy for children with special needs. The downtown location will be open 7 days a week until 4 p.m.

Cooler weather means the return of farmers markets

The High Street Farmers Market returns this Sunday, October 3rd and goes through the Spring. Get locally sourced and made food, art and more from 10 a.m. – 1 :30 p.m. The Old Town Scottsdale Farmers Market returns Saturday October 2nd from 8 a.m. – 1 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.

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.

Mesquite Fresh Street Mex opening 8th location in Northwest Phoenix

The locally owned Mr. Mesquite has announced it’s now going by Mesquite Fresh Street Mex and will open its 8th location at the end of August. The grand opening is scheduled for August 28th at 10:30 a.m. at 1730 W. Happy Valley Rd. Phoenix.

“We are thrilled to expand the Mesquite brand in Arizona with our eighth location,” said Ahmad Alatrash, co-founder of Mesquite Fresh Street Mex. “Northwest Phoenix is a thriving area with strong businesses, services and a great community around it. We look forward to connecting with residents and sharing our authentic meets modern Mexican concept with the neighborhood.”

The 1,930 square foot fast casual restaurant will serve meats grilled over mesquite wood for a unique and smoky flavor. Tacos, killer burritos, protein bowls and quesadillas make up the menu. Family meals will also be available and tacos start at $2.19 each. All ingredients are of the highest quality and a prepared every day.  Grand opening celebrations will include giveaways and the first 200 people will win a free taco for week for six months.

The restaurant is looking to hire 30 people for the new location joining over 150 other employees throughout Arizona. “We are seeking ambitious and driven individuals ready to join a collaborative team,” said Naser. “We pride ourselves in a family-driven environment and place a large emphasis in creating a supportive and fun atmosphere for our staff.”  For more information about job openings and the grand opening 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.

Enjoy the dog days of summer with a new Trapp Dawg at Trapp Haus BBQ

The downtown Phoenix BBQ joint is offering 3 new all beef brisket hot dawgs for a limited time starting Monday August 2nd. These dawgs are available 7 days a week for $7.99 each. The Lou — topped with potato salad and crispy fried onions. The Jersey — topped with crispy potato and cheddar cheese sauce. The Village — topped with BBQ baked beans and jalapeño honey slaw.

Hearth ’61 Sunday Supper Club with guest chef Sean Currid

The Maple & Ash Executive Chef will join Chef Chuck Wiley’s team to create a 5-course menu paired with Australian wines from Barossa Valley selected by Mountain Shadows F & B manager Jim Gallen. Reservations  are required for the Sunday August 15th dinner that starts at 6 p.m. Seats are $149 ++ per person and can be made by calling 866-572-8774. To see the pairing menu visit their website.

Chompie’s hiring fair for new Phoenix location and other locations

All four valley locations and the soon to open north Phoenix location is looking to hire back & front of the house help. They are holding a 3 day job fair at the Embassy Suites at 4415 Paradise Village Pkwy S. Phoenix 85032. 80 employees are needed for the new location with additional employees needed to support the growth at other locations. The job fair is Monday, August 2nd 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Tuesday, August 3rd 9:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. & Wednesday, August 4th 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Candidates should come prepared with a resume and be prepared to interview with hiring done on the spot.

Eat Up Drive- In is now open for lunch.

The fast casual Arcadia Lite restaurant that opened in March is now open for lunch and extended their hours 7 days a week from 11 a.m. – 9 p.m. The restaurant features individual and family style meals for dine-in or to-go.

Grimaldi’s Pizzeria to support the American Heart Assoc. in August

For all 31 days in August guests who donate $5 will get a $5 Bounce Back card to use at any Grimaldi’s nationwide (except To-Go locations in Austin TX & Scottsdale AZ and NYC, NJ & CT locations) until Dec. 31st 2022. Guests can donate up to $25 to get $25 Bounce Back per visit.

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.

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.

Macayo’s Mexican Food returns to Scottsdale with new location

The 75 year old restaurant has opened its newest location at Loop 101 & Shea Blvd in Pima Crossing. Known for such dishes as Green Chile Pork Stew & Chicken Poblano the menu is the same as the other locations around the valley.

Summer Supper is back on the menu at Marcellino’s Ristorante

From now until Sunday September 15th guests can opt for the 3-course meal for $44. Several choices from the Antipasto and Second Course menu that include homemade pasta.

Their private dining room is available on Tuesday’s through July and Tuesday & Wednesday’s in August for dinner and a movie. Parties of 8-10 people can reserve the room at no cost but dinner service is required. Call 480-990-9500 to make a dinner reservation or to reserve the room.

Elote Pizza back by popular demand at Fired Pie

All 21 locations of the locally owned fast casual pizza concept has brought back the street corn inspired and topped pizza (and more toppings) for a limited time. The pizza can be made with tradition, cauliflower & gluten-free dough.

Summer cool down seasonal menu at Thirsty Lion Gastropub

The Phoenix area’s 4 locations will start serving the new dishes from July 8th – September 19th. Spicy Shrimp Ceviche and Seared Atlantic Sea Scallops are a couple of the new dishes. Cocktails including Raspberry Mint Mule-jito and Jalapeno Paloma Margarita are a couple of the new adult beverages available.

July 4th celebrations around Phoenix

As you can imagine many Phoenix restaurants and bars are celebrating the red, white & blue with traditional foods, beers and more. Have fun and stay safe. Happy birthday America.

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.