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.

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.

 

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.

 

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.

PHX Beer Co. goes to the dogs

The Scottsdale location with its dog friendly patio is now serving grass fed burgers ($8) and grilled chicken ($5) for man’s best friend. They’ve also started making their own dog bones for purchase at all locations. Puppy friendly ingredients include the breweries spent grain, peanut butter, whole wheat flour and eggs. A portion of sales of single 3 oz. or 18 packs bones are donated to the Arizona Small Dog Rescue.

Los Sombreros Mesa Grand Opening party

Wednesday December 16th is the Grand Opening of the third location of the regional Mexican restaurant. From 11 a.m. – 9 p.m. guests can get 50% off food & drink when you dine-in or take-out except for family meals. Reservations are recommended. The celebration continues Thursday – Sunday with House Margaritas only $3.

Pedal Haus Brewery celebrates with Ugly Sweater Party

The downtown Tempe brewpub celebrates its 5 year anniversary with its traditional party. Wednesday December 16th party goers can win $50 for the Ugliest Sweater, enjoy live music starting at 6 p.m. and Happy Hour all night starting at 3 p.m. VIP tickets are $5 and includes 2 drinks and slice of cake with proceeds going to Rob Dollar Foundation.

Koibito Poke bottles 2 popular sauces.

Customers can now take a bottle or 2 home with them of Island Teriyaki or Spicy Shoyu sauces. Both are gluten-free and made with natural ingredients for the best tasting and healthy sauces. Each bottle is $6.99 and can be purchased at any of their locations around the valley.

New seasonal menu at Pita Jungle

Customers favorite dishes from the past are now on the new “Pita Jungle Favorites, Hello Again” menu at all Phoenix, Tucson and Flagstaff locations. The new Mediterranean Ramen joins the return of Seared Ahi Tuna Hummus, Burrito of the Sea and Baba Gnoosh.

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 has new winter menu

All seven Arizona locations roll out a new holiday season inspired menu on Tuesday December 1st. Enjoy the Chicken Alla Vodka Pizza (sounds crazy good) with a warming Ginger Apple Jack cocktail. The  “Crafted Comfort” menu include salads, desserts and cocktails that will be available until March 1st.

Fresh Take Meal Prep gives a meal when you buy 10

The community minded spinoff of Aioli Gourmet Burgers partners with Valley Youth Theatre and HopeKids raise money and provide meals for families of sick children. When 10 meals are purchased in December from FTMP an 11th will be given to a HopeKids family. 5 meals are $40, 10 meals are $74 and 100 meals are $140. VYT will hold a virtual concert on December 19th and money raised will go to HopeKids. The goal is to provide 200 meals to families.

Sphinx Date Co. offers online holiday deals this weekend

Through Monday November 30th the retailer of locally made goods offers FREE shipping orders over $65 with promo CODE JOY20. Get $5 off purchases when you spend $25, using CODE 5OFF. Shipping within Arizona is only $5 and will automatically be deducted from your order.

Crumbl Cookies gives 20% off on National Cookie Day

Friday December 4th locations in Scottsdale, Tempe, Ahwatukee, Mesa Red Mountain, Signal Butte and Queen Creek will sell boxes of four packs for 20% off the regular $11.98 price. Choose from over 120+ flavors that rotate weekly.

3 Man Blend Bourbon Dinner at Hearth ’61

75 people will enjoy a reception and 3-course dinner on Thursday December 4th that will be paired with special bourbon cocktails. Chef Charles Wiley, Food & Beverage Manager Jim Gallen and Bill Nassikas’s Maker’s Mark bourbon will be featured along with a Zoom call from two Beam Suntory female Master Distillers. Reservations for the dinner are $180 all-inclusive per person and bottles of 3 Man Blend will be available for purchase.

 

New menus and a new look welcome back the Wrigley Mansion

The famed Wrigley Mansion re-opened this week with new lunch, dinner and beverage menus after almost a year’s worth of renovations. A new Sunday brunch menu will debut on November 29th from Chef de Cuisine Ashley Goddard.

Guests will be welcomed with a new driveway approach along with new and improved indoor and outdoor spaces and a new Garden Terrace. Guests will be able to view the finishing touches being put on the highly anticipated Christopher’s at the Wrigley Mansion.

“Our team has been hard at work evaluating our property, procedures, service, and completely re-imagining the Wrigley experience,” says General Manager Vinnie Walia. “After months of renovations, careful consideration and implementation of public health safety measures, we are excited to reopen to serve our beloved members and community.”

Chef Goddard’s new gourmet menus at Geordie’s Restaurant & Bar will include Autumn Pizza, Braised Rabbit Leg Ragout and Steamed Clams. CEO and Wine Director Paola Embry spent her time planning to increase the wine offerings to over 12,000 bottles. New wines included are from Arizona wineries which Embry visited and built relationships to support the local industry.

Geordie’s serves lunch Tuesday-Saturday from 11 a.m.-2 p.m. and dinner Tuesday-Saturday from 5-9 p.m. Brunch is served on Sundays from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Happy hour specials in the bar is Tuesday-Saturday from 3-6 p.m. and all day Wednesday. Jamie’s Wine Bar is open Tuesday-Saturday from 3 p.m.-close. Afternoon tea service is available Thursdays and Fridays from 2-4 p.m. For more information and to make a reservation head to www.wrigleymansion.com/.

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.

Wildflower adds new hearty menu items for winter

The locally owned specialty bakery known for its handcrafted artisan breads and more has added 8 new items to its menu. The festive foods include breakfast items, sandwiches, salads, pastas and toasts. There are 16 locations throughout Phoenix and Arizona.

Friendsgiving at Pedal Haus Brewery

Thanksgiving Eve friends and family can gather on the patio for a socially distanced celebration during happy hour. From 3:30 til closing on Wednesday November 25th enjoy happy hour specials, the new Peppermint Porter and live music. The celebration at the Chandler location goes until 10 p.m.

Aridus Wine Company ends its 8th harvest

The award-winning winery ends the 2020 grape growing season with almost 86 tons of grapes. This was their 4th harvest picking grapes from the estate’s 40 acres of vineyards in southern Arizona that started on August 22nd. 72% of the grapes picked will be for red wines, 26% for white wines and 2% for rose.

FRANCINE Restaurant opens patio for dining

You can now enjoy lunch, dinner or brunch at the French Mediterranean restaurant outside on the new patio. Located at the luxury wing of Scottsdale Fashion Square seats 28 people in the relaxing and beautiful setting. Seating is by request with reservations recommended.

Serrano’s closes Tempe location until early 2021

The 6440 S. Mill Ave. location has closed for dine-in and take-out to undergo a major renovation. A major renovation needs to completed and the 4 other locations are open for dine-in, take-out and curbside delivery.

The Mick Brasserie & Bar, a welcome addition to McCormick Ranch

Any restaurant that’s opened in 2020 faces more challenges than the day to day challenges associated with the restaurant industry. Open in an Arizona summer and you could be behind the eight ball even more. Those challenges haven’t seemed to put a damper on the opening of The Mick Brasserie & Bar in Scottsdale’s McCormick Ranch neighborhood. The modern French inspired restaurant opened last August and on a recent Wednesday night guests seemed to be enjoying as if were 2019.

The Mick Braaerie & Bar
Pate de Campagne. All photos courtesy of Shoshana Leon

Owners John Krause and Chef Brent Menke are serving colorful, small and shareable plates that’s globally inspired and locally sourced. The menu aims to please all with vegan and vegetarian dishes along with plenty for meat and seafood lovers. The two longtime friends date back to The University of Arizona where they were fraternity brothers before both wound up in Rhode Island. Menke cooked on yachts before opening The Farm Table in northwestern Massachusetts. Krause has had several careers and this is his first foray in the restaurant business.

The Mick Brasserie & Bar menus

On my recent visit my guest and I arrived towards the end of happy hour and enjoyed glasses of house wine with our Pate de Campagne, a healthy portion of pork pate wrapped in bacon with pistachios, Shiitake mushrooms and foie gras. Served with pickled red onions, stone ground mustard, cornichons and toasted sourdough bread. A fan of wild mushrooms we ordered Wild Mushroom Napoleon which I was left to enjoy myself as my companion isn’t a fan of the earthy delights. The Bacon Tarte was plentiful and filling.

We split the Duck Confit Moroccan Pastilla which we both wished we had all to our self. The pickled pineapple was unique touch to the filo wrapped duck, julienne vegetables and agrodolce. In typical European style The House Julienne Salad was brought after our meal. Chef Menke loves to say, “Food is better when shared.”

The Mick Brasserie & Bar
Duck Confit Moroccan Pastilla

The Mick has an extensively researched wine and craft beer list from around the world including 50 wines by the glass and 24 beers on tap. Four retail refrigerators allow for wines and beers can be sold to take home with you. The spacious patio allows for comfortable outdoor dining while the modern art filled indoor interior offers a well-lit enjoyable dining experience.

The Mick Brasserie & Bar is at 9719 N. Hayden Rd. Scottsdale 85258. Hours are Tues.- Fri. 3 p.m. -9p.m. Sat. 10 a.m.- 9 p.m. and Sun. 10 a.m. – 3p.m. Brunch is served early on weekends and happy hour is from 3 p.m. – 6 p.m. To view the menu and more information check their website.

 

Vicinos Local Italian brings food & hospitality to the neighborhood

Steve & Maria Winters and David & Debi Henry have been friends and colleagues for over 25 years before they decided to open Vicinos Local Italian together in early 2020. They have over 100 years of restaurant experience and it shows in their hospitality whether you’re joining them for a meal or a glass of wine. “Vicino” means “neighbor” and it’s like they’re welcoming you into their home at their north Scottsdale restaurant.

Open 7 days a week at 11 a.m. for lunch, happy hour and dinner Vicinos Local Italian, formerly Vito’s, keeps it simple serving classic Italian dishes and pizzas made fresh and with the highest quality of ingredients. The restaurant re-opened in mid- September with a new menu and a few of David’s favorites are Fettuccine Alla Bolognese, Pork Chop, any of the hand stretched pizzas, Bruschetta Burrata & the Calamari Fritti.

Ribeye. All photos courtesy of Vicinos Local Italian

A reasonably priced and extensive wine list with selections from around the world will complement any meal. Tuesdays and Wednesdays guests can enjoy a bottle of wine for half off any bottle priced at $50 or less. On Monday’s guests who dine-in get a free appetizer with 2 entrees. Happy Hour is offered 7 days a week from 3 p.m.- 6:30 Tuesday – Saturday and all day Sunday and Monday.

Catering at the restaurant or in the comfort of your own home, delivery & pick up is available. Vicinos Local Italian is at 10999 Frank Lloyd Wright Blvd. Scottsdale 85259. (480)664-8260. To view the menu and for more information visit their website.

 

“Chopped” champion Chef Nick LaRosa has a new menu at Nook Kitchen

Arcadia’s Nook Kitchen has re-opened this week with a new menu from Chef Nick LaRosa. The restaurant moved to a new larger location along Indian School Road in December and was humming along as it did at the old location when Covid- 19 broke out. They did take out until several nearby restaurants were hit with the virus and owner Frank Vairo and partners decided to close for the summer.

Nicholas Winger, managing partner, said: “We can’t wait to welcome back our guests.  We are operating with limited-seating and dining socially distanced due to pandemic regulations, so we encourage reservations, especially with our small dining room. It fills up quickly.”

What’s on the menu from Chef Nick LaRosa

With the opening comes a new menu of Italian favorites with a modern twist from LaRosa. House made pastas and fresh ingredients are on the menu such as Casarecce Bolognese for meat lovers and Veggie Campanelle for vegetarians. Napolitano styled pizzas are still coming out of the pizza oven along with entrees such as pan-seared salmon, a double bone-in pork chop and the Nook Burger.

LaRosa was champion of the Food Network’s “Chopped” in 2017 and has earned other local accolades.

Chef Nick LaRosa
Aracini

“We’re excited and want to shout from the rooftops that ‘we’re back!’ ” LaRosa said. “And we’re really happy to be back, too.  The time off has given us the opportunity to add new menu items, plus fantastic desserts and still focus on the dishes we know our patrons love. “The specialness of our food is Italian with a twist.  If you want to eat hearty, we’ve got it.  If you’d rather eat light, we’ve got that too in spades.”

The menu also includes appetizers including Brussel Chips, Aracini and more. Exciting new desserts include a gelato flight from Cool Gelato and Nook’s version of Affogatto. Sommelier Matthew Wohleb has created a new and old world wine list to compliment the cuisine and mixoligist Gabe Chavez mixes up the cocktail program.

Nook Kitchen opens Wednesday thru Sunday at 5 p.m. and is at 4231 E. Indian School R. Phoenix 85018.

September brings the return of Arizona Restaurant Week

One of the most popular events among the Arizona restaurant community is Arizona Restaurant Week. The 10 day culinary event returns Friday September 18th – Sunday the 27th around the state. Like the June event participating restaurants will offer dine-in or take-out 3 course meals along with liquor to-go. According to the Arizona Restaurant Association almost 80 restaurants have already signed up to participate.

“We feel not only gratitude but also great pride in the fact that the local dining community has showed up again and again in support of our industry since closures and limited re-opening mandates,” says Arizona Restaurant Association President and CEO Steve Chucri. “We are thrilled to see that dining out — whether that means in-restaurant or getting take-out — is still such an important part of people’s lives.”

The modified event started to include take-out options due to the uncertainty of 2020’s Covid – 19 pandemic. Restaurants create 3-course menus for $33 or $44 per person for the September event with wine at an additional cost. Reservations are recommended for those looking to visit a new restaurant or return to a favorite one.

To see participating restaurants and menus head to the Arizona Restaurant Association’s website. The website is updated as new restaurants sign up.