Foodies don’t care about a little rain at Day 1 of Devour Culinary Classic

Many of Saturday’s events around Phoenix were cancelled but don’t mess with foodies and our food festivals but that’s what the weather gods did on day 1 of Devour Culinary Classic. A rainy morning forced Desert Botanical Garden staff, Local First Arizona and purveyors to scramble to but it didn’t deter those in attendance. Umbrella, tents and raincoats were busted out to minimize the rain and puddles.

Here are a few of the many highlights of day 1. Be sure to check back for sunnier day 2 and for more images and commentary check my Instagram @SandyWass  Facebook page & Twitter @SandyWasserman

Bar Magic serving up Hurricane Cocktail in the VIP Lounge with Mardi Gras theme
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Prep & Pastry Churro Cronut & Blueberry Scone
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Scandinavian Sushi coming to Scottsdale later this year from Sandfish Sushi & Whiskey
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AZ Wilderness PB & J Burger
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A leaky tent didn’t dampen the spirits of L’Auberge de Sedona Chef Morgan serving her delicious dessert
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T. Cooks Arcadia Orange Bombe- white chocolate, Grande Marnier mouss, hazelnut & citrus curd
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Dust Cutter Restaurant’s confit pork belly, masa, chorizo & roasted poblano gremolata
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Lincoln Steakhouse Surf & turf- Lobster Escargot & Beef Tongue Popover
Love seeing all the color exhibits and art at the Desert Botanical Garden

FRANCINE from restaurateur Laurent Halasz to open in April

Every few weeks it seems another restaurant is opening at the new luxury wing at Scottsdale Fashion Square. Come late April we’ll have a new restaurant from Fig & Olive and Farmhouse owner Laurent Halasz. FRANCINE will join Nobu, Toca Madera and other restaurants that have opened in recent months. This will be Halasz’s most passionate project serving cuisine from the south of France where he grew up. Halasz also owns several locations of FIG & Olive and L.A.’s Farmhouse.Francine

“Everything on my mother’s table was fresh, seasonal, and full of flavor, and that is exactly what FRANCINE will offer our guests,” says Halasz. “We are so excited to bring our new take on classic French Mediterranean and open FRANCINE this April in Scottsdale.”

The fine dining restaurant will serve lunch and dinner with guests gathering in the plant filled restaurant of 5,000 square feet. In his youth Halasz’s mother would host meals around beautiful foods and draws inspiration and pays homage to those days with friends and family.Francine

Signature dishes to be on the menu include Zucchini Terrine, Grilled Octopus, Salmon Carpaccio and Seared Duck a la Provencal. A less formal lunch will serve a selection of pizza, salads and shareable dishes.

Check back for updates about the opening or head to their website.

The Stillery coming to new development in downtown Chandler

A new development in downtown Chandler just snagged the popular Nashville bar and restaurant The Stillery to move in. When it opens this fall at the New Square mixed use development downtown it will be its first location outside of Nashville. Other tenants include a Hilton Garden Inn, the first hotel built downtown since the San Marcos Resort over 100 years ago and the 10 year old DC Steakhouse moves south of its current location.

Chandler residents Steve and Alane Kovach founded The Stillery and once opened it will serve elevated comfort food and be the largest music venue in Chandler. Signature dishes include Nashville hot chicken, double stacked burgers, wood-fired pizzas and more. Grab a southern style cocktail, beer or moonshine at the horseshoe shaped bar before you hit the dance floor.

A stage, lighting and a state-of-the-art sound system will give downtown Chandler an indoor venue for live music. The historic neighborhood is popular with music & food festivals at Dr. A.J. Chandler Park and restaurants and bars .

New Square started construction in 2018 and is a partnership between local developer Spike Lawrence Ventures and HCW LLC. The development is slated to have tenants move in this spring with a grand opening celebration on March 25th.

“At New Square, we’ve brought together a selection of businesses that fill a need and bring great meaning to the community. The Stillery is such an exciting addition and will help to further elevate downtown Chandler’s dining and nightlife scene,” said Spike Lawrence, founder of Spike Lawrence Ventures. To stay up to date about The Stillery’s open date head to their website.

 

 

MIXT brings fast casual farm to table healthy food to Scottsdale Quarter

California based MIXT is almost ready to open its newest restaurant on March 7th at the new wing of Scottsdale Quarter. It will be the fast casual farm to table concept’s first restaurant in Arizona and the 16th since the company was founded in 2005 by Leslie and David Silverglide. The other 15 locations are in California and Texas.

“We’re beyond excited to bring MIXT’s delicious, sustainable, healthy food to Scottsdale,” says MIXT CEO Leslie Silverglide. “We’re looking forward to serving the growing number of Arizonans looking for fresh, delicious, and fulfilling meals that fit a health-conscious lifestyle.”

The high quality sourcing of ingredients translates into healthy grain bowls, salads, sandwiches and protein plates. MIXT tries to source as much as possible locally for its scratch made dishes. The menu changes when the seasons change with the availability of produce. Salads are customized to your liking with over 75 ingredients to choose from. MIXT Market Plates include herb roasted grilled chicken and Steelhead trout that are paired with house-made sauces.

Kombucha on tap, house made iced teas & lemonade, local beers and boutique wines are offered with lunch and dinner. MIXT

MIXT Salet

No miss-spelling, MIXT offers a Salad Valet for those on the go who place orders on their app or on-line. You won’t need to leave your car as the Salet will bring your order right to you when you pull up to the “take-out zone”. Looking to stay, MIXT has an inviting modern look to dine inside or out to enjoy your chef created meals.

With its sustainable business practices MIXT is the first multi-unit concept to become a Certified B Corporation. Not only is the food good for you, it’s good for the community as well.

MIXT will be open daily from 11 a.m. – 9 p.m. Check out their website for more information or to fill out an application as they are hiring 50 staffers.

Nobu Scottsdale opens Monday and is taking reservations

The new luxury wing at Scottsdale Fashion Square is buzzing with excitement as world renowned chef Nobu Matsuhisa opens Nobu Scottsdale on Monday January 27, 2020. The sushi and Japanese cuisine restaurant has begun taking reservations for this highly anticipated opening. His first restaurant opened in New York City in 1994 with partners Robert DeNiro and Meir Teper, the trio now have restaurants on 6 continents.

“Scottsdale is a very special city, and a location we have been looking forward to opening for a very long time,” said Chef Matsuhisa. “Scottsdale is a truly unique destination for a special kind of luxury and Fashion Square is at the center of it all,” he said.

Chef Nobu made a name for himself in the 1990’s when he put his take on classic Japanese cuisine and sushi using new flavors and cooking techniques. He’s built a loyal following at over 40 restaurants and hotels around the world.

Nobu Scottsdale will have classic dishes such as Yellow Tail Sashimi and Black Cod with miso along with dishes only found in Scottsdale. Local ingredients will play a big role on the menu and cocktail program. The cocktail program continues to evolve as mixoligists from around the world continue to curate it.

“Each location has a unique menu that is influenced by global trends as well as the local scene,” says Nobu. “We look forward to bringing guests the signature dishes they have come to love, along with new dishes exclusive to Nobu Scottsdale.”

Nobu Scottsdale is taking reservations for dinner and can be made by calling 480-581-0055 or by visiting their website.

 

Plant based GuacStar Kitchen to open first location in Tempe

One of the biggest trends in 2019 was plant based foods and soon the first plant based restaurant in Arizona will open in Tempe. When GuacStar Kitchen and Cantina opens near ASU at University & Rural Roads it will be a one of a kind eating, drinking and entertaining restaurant.

Partners James Carlin, Tom Cerino, Randy Feldman, Suzanne Davis and Julie LaRussa look to re-define plant based restaurants with an upbeat and hip concept found in N.Y.C and L.A. “GuacStar’s goal is very simple – to show the masses that you don’t have to sacrifice your taste buds or your wallets by eating plant-based cuisine,” said Carlin, GuacStar co-owner. “Our mission is to make healthy food sexy and to create an exciting, unpretentious plant-based dining destination where the overall experience counts just as much as the food.”

Executive Chef Vincent Contreras has created plant based versions of classic Mexican cooking. The full-service restaurant will also have a beer, wine and cocktail program.

GuacStar Kitchen and Cantina will have a contemporary decor with soft lighting, raw materials and a warm, inviting atmosphere. The restaurant will be open for lunch, dinner, weekend brunch and late night dining.

GuacStar Kitchen and Cantina will be at the Cornerstone Mall at 930 E. University Dr. Tempe 85281.

Copper Mule Kitchen & Bar opens in north Scottsdale

Regional cuisine is served up at a restaurant that recently opened in north Scottsdale. Copper Mule Kitchen & Bar is owned R Squared Restaurant Concepts’ Christi & James Rice and James’s brother and sister in-law John & Erin Rucker. Their New American menu is full of dishes from states that the 4 have previously lived of New York, Texas, Mississippi, New Mexico & Arizona.

“Through the places we have lived before Scottsdale, we’ve grabbed flavors from our life experiences,” says co-owner Christi Rice. “Our menu and our specialty cocktails express all the culinary adventures we’ve had and what we’ve learned about food in other areas of the country. We also have fun infusing spirits into our culinary creations.”

All photos courtesy of Christi Rice

Copper Mule Kitchen & Bar serves lunch and dinner daily with happy hour in between from 3-6 p.m. Guests can expect dishes such as the Cay Shrimp Salad, Lemon Dill Grilled Salmon, Midwest Angus Beef Burger and AZ Ale Fish & Chips along with pitas, sandwiches salads and more. $2 off all appetizers during happy hour includes favorites Montauk Fried Olives, Delta Deviled Eggs and chicken wings.

With a name like Copper Mule it comes as no surprise the cocktail menu offers 9 mule cocktails. Irish and Kentucky Mule’s join signature cocktails from around the country including The Georgia Peach, The Tipsy Texan and more.

The family friendly, reasonably priced restaurant has a dog friendly patio. The Copper Mule Kitchen & bar is at 23335 N. Scottsdale Rd. Scottsdale 85255. For more information and to see the menu check pout their website.

Barrel & Bushel to open with the Biggest Patio Party

A new downtown eatery will be celebrating its long anticipated opening January 22nd with a big party. The “Biggest Patio Party” goes from 3 – 7 p.m. when Barrel & Bushel opens at the corner of 2nd St. & Adams welcoming the neighborhood with an all-day happy hour and more.

“Barrel & Bushel welcomes locals as the newest neighborhood hangout,” said General Manager Danielle Klus. “There’s something for everyone, whether you’re a beer fan, cocktail aficionado or just looking for a great meal in a casual yet buzzy environment.”

Chef Chelsea Cummings menu offers American comfort food with her personal twist. Dishes such as 72 Hour Pork Belly, Waffles & Ribs and a Bloody Mary Burger should make this a popular eatery in downtown Phoenix. At the bar you’ll find 11 Arizona beers on tap along with creative craft cocktails including “Tell Your Friends”. The unique cocktail features basil infused gin with St. Germain and peach. Deep selections of bourbon, rye & whiskey will also be offered.

During the Biggest Patio Party guests will enjoy complimentary passed bites, happy hour pricing and more. Barrel & Bushel expects to attract not only locals but downtown visitors and convention goers with its laid back atmosphere. The restaurant will offer lunch and dinner along with late night fare.

Barrel & Bushel is at 122 N. 2nd St. Phoenix 85004 and is open daily from 11 a.m. – midnight with happy hour from 3:30- 6:30 p.m Monday – Friday. For more information check out their website.

The Americano, an Italian steakhouse coming to Scottsdale in early 2020

The owners of Pomo Pizzeria, Mora Italian and Meat the Ball have announced their newest restaurant that’s expected to open in early 2020. The Americano will be a contemporary Italian steakhouse offering European style personalized service and the finest meats, seafood and more.

The restaurant will feature an open kitchen concept with a wood fired grill for preparing steaks and seafood. Testani Design Group and LGE Design Build collaborated on the interior design of The Americano. Dark gray and light green colors will set the tone for the large dining room. Modern art, crescent shaped booths and butcher block tables will be eye catching and functional. Seating will also be available at the island bar, in the lounge and on the patio.

A world class team at The Americano

Pomo Restaurant Group has brought together an impressive team to run The Americano. Canadian born Executive Chef Matthew Taylor comes from Mora Italian and with his team will serve steaks from purebred Piedmontese cattle & American Wagyu beef, pasta & antipasti and Mediterranean seafood. The restaurant will also have a raw bar and caviar service.

“We are thrilled to introduce our carefully curated menu to guests,” says Executive Chef Matthew Taylor. “The Americano will bring the best of both worlds from Italy and America to provide some of the finest steaks, seafood and pasta that Arizona has to offer.”

Swiss born Paride Guerra will serve as General Manager and comes from the Hays-Adams Hotel In Washington D.C. Guerra has worked in restaurants and hotels around the world including South Beach, Beverly Hills, Switzerland and Australia.

Elya Coffman will be re-locating from south Florida to serve as Director of Service & Beverage. Coffman has previously worked with Philadelphia’s Starr Group & the Michael Mina Group.

An Italian and American wine list will be curated by Head Sommelier Nicholas Padua. The wine list will feature vintage bottles along with wines from boutique and iconic producers. Padua has worked as a lead sommelier here in Scottsdale for the Michael Mina Group and Four Seasons Resort.

The Americano will be at 17797 N. Scottsdale Rd. Scottsdale 85255. For information about the restaurant and hiring visit their website.

Cock N’ Tails to rock the Uptown Phoenix restaurant scene

The popular 7th Street strip is packed with restaurants, some have survived the ups & downs and some replaced now shuttered eateries. Come mid-January, Cock N’ Tails will be the newest restaurant in the Uptown neighborhood. Taking over what was once Joe’s Midnight Run then another forgotten restaurant Cock N’ Tails brings a chef driven modern brasserie with its rock music theme.

Ahwatukee native and owner Kurt Johnson didn’t just come up with theme but lived it as a musician in L.A. I spent seven years in the music scene in LA working the Sunset Strip bar scene and recording music at my own studio in North Hollywood. Those years were some of the most amazing times in my life, I grew so much and really honed my craft,” says Johnson.

Executive Chef and friend Donna Sites is creating a chef driven menu of classic American fare and late night bites. Sites comes from Phoenix’s Kuber Hotels where she opened and operated several outlets for over a decade. Her menu will feature steaks, seafood, chicken pot pie, burgers and her version of pate and bone marrow.

“While I was in the studio recording I started thinking about the idea of opening a bar and how cool it would be to model that bar after what I was seeing and experiencing in the music scene. I wanted it to look and feel like being in the studio. That’s what I’m hoping people will take away from their experience at Cock N’ Tails”.

Cock N’ Tails is at Seventh Street and Bethany Home Road, 6101 N Seventh Street. For hours and more information check the website.