The once legendary AZ Wine Co. is no more as Todd Sawyer, owner of the award-winning Atlas Bistro has bought the boutique wine shop. After several months of re-modeling Atlas Wines is reminiscent of AZ Wine’s early days of mid 1990s.
The original AZ Wine Co. has played a big part in the local wine community as it was one of only a few places in the Phoenix area to get hard to find wines and Arizona made wines. Young wine geeks would shop the aisles, read labels, speak with knowledgeable staff and even “try before you buy” wines. Restaurateurs, future sommeliers, chefs and more knew they could find good wines at reasonable prices at the south Scottsdale shop. As time went by the valley grew, wine became mainstream and consumers would start to buy wine at big box stores or other wine shops/bars closer to home.
I had a first-hand look as I was an early employee at AZ Wine Co. learning about wines and becoming a resource to regular customers or someone just stopping in for a gift. To this day have friends I met working their and bump into customers around town asking for wine advice and reminisce about the good ‘ol days.
Gone are the living room sofas, rows and rows of wines, storage space and large wine bar. Sawyer reduced the square footage by 2/3rds and got rid of dead inventory and hopes a local restaurant will take over the left over store front.
Atlas Wines compliments Atlas Bistro
The wine shop plays an integral part to Sawyer’s Atlas Bistro as the small restaurant doesn’t serve wine and the wine friendly menu had customers bringing their own wine (BYO) or buying a bottle or two at AZ Wine. It was a no brainer for him to take over the shop to compliment the restaurant as he was sharing the wine buying for several years. Local wine geek Jock Wulffson continues to help Sawyer with wine buying and with customer relations. Wulffson himself is well known in the local wine community as he’s been involved with local wine & food groups and owned his own wine shop before coming to AZ Wine Co.
Customers will still find food worthy wines from across the globe from reputable wineries and lesser known, small production wineries. Craft beers from Arizona along with imported and domestic beers are available in the refrigerator. Several hundred labels are on shelves from everyday drinkers at under $20 to highly rated and sought after wines costing the price of a monthly car payment. The small wine bar will pour a selection of wines and beers once Covid-19 restrictions allow for.
Sawyer hopes to be re-opening Atlas Bistro in the near future for dinner and once opened it will provide European styled appetizers at the wine bar.
Atlas Wines is at 2515 N. Scottsdale Rd. Scottsdale 85257. (480)423-9305. Follow them on Facebook, Instagram or see their website.
The first Arizona location of Cooper’s Hawk Winery & Restaurant opens in Scottsdale this week offering upscale dining, a tasting bar and wine shop. This is the western most and 43rd location of this unique dining concept that opened its first location in 2005.
“Scottsdale and the surrounding Phoenix area has gained a national reputation for fine-dining experiences, making it a natural fit for the Cooper’s Hawk brand,” founder Tim McEnery said. “The year-round beautiful weather, scenic surroundings and its residents’ active lifestyle were also very appealing.”
Cooper’s Hawk Winery & Restaurant food and wines
The menu has something for everyone no matter your diet and dishes have wine pairing recommendations. Signature dishes include Mexican Drunken Shrimp, Dana’s Parmesan-Crusted Chicken and Shrimp & Scallop Risotto. The menu includes an impressive choice of 4 risotto dishes.
Cooper’s Hawk wines are sourced from across the country then crushed, fermented and bottled at their Illinois winery. Master Sommelier Emily Wines, yes really her name, helps grow the wineries wine club, trains staff staff on wines and helps guests enjoy their experience. Currently there are over 450,000 wine club members, the largest wine club in the country who enjoy discounts, perks and unique experiences and travel opportunities. A full bar is available for those looking for something other than wine.
Entering the restaurant you’re welcomed in the Napa Valley styled wine bar and wine shop before entering the restaurant. Guests can try wines with the help of well trained staff with wines and accessories are available for purchase. One need not dine at the restaurant in order taste wines or make a purchase although the aromas coming from the kitchen will easily change your mind to stay and enjoy a meal.
A Chandler location is planned for 2021 and is in development with a Phoenix location to follow. Cooper’s Hawk Winery & Restaurant is at 7361 E Frank Lloyd Wright Blvd, Scottsdale, AZ 85260. For more information visit their website.
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.
The hospitality industry continues to adapt to the changing dining habits due to the pandemic that has burdened 2020. The latest is downtown Phoenix’s FOUND:RE Phoenix Hotel which signature restaurant Match Restaurant & Lounge has transformed into Match Market & Bar. The new quick service and to-go dining concept debuted Monday October 12th after the hotel re-opened on October 1st.
“Match Market & Bar is designed to fill a much-needed void in the downtown dining and marketplace scene,” says Tim Sprague of the FOUND:RE Phoenix Hotel. “MMB is a warm and inviting spot for neighbors and hotel guests alike to gather for a relaxed, comfortable and casual meal and cold drinks; a convenient place to pick up a unique gift or a specialty ingredient for a recipe; or a late-night pit-stop to grab an in-room or on-the-way-home midnight snack.”
Quick service dining options
The artisan market offers quick service breakfast, lunch and dinner along with to-go meals and wine, curbside pick-up and a pantry with staples & gifts. Locals and hotel guests can expect trunk shows and pop-up shops that will feature gifts from locals and others like those found in the curated market. The comfortable bar and lounge features specialty cocktails, an extensive wine list, an inviting patio and nightly happy hour.
“We’ve recreated our signature concept to perfectly fit the neighborhood and serve the needs of our guests — whether they are business or social travelers.” say Sprague. Hotel staff is working hard to provide a safe and healthy environment by following strict CDC guidelines. The hotel is looking to hire in several positions throughout the hotel, market & bar. Qualified applicants can submit a resume to email@example.com
The Market and Kitchen is open from 5:30 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. daily; the Espresso Bar is open from 5:30 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. daily; and the Bar opens for service at 11:00 a.m. FOUND:RE Phoenix Hotel is at 1100 N. Central Ave. Phoenix 85003.
A sure sign of the change of seasons and cooler weather is the re-opening of farmers markets across the valley. Farmers markets feature locally grown produce and other food products and crafts and have become very popular in recent years. Several feature coffee, food trucks and have local restaurants preparing ready to eat breakfast, lunch or dinner. Others offer cooking demonstrations and seminars for the communities benefit. 2020/21 markets are following CDC guidelines with social distancing and wearing of masks to keep everybody safe and healthy. Many welcome dogs as long as they are on leashes. Markets if not running year round usually end before the summer heat kicks in in May.
The this Saturday October 3rd brings the re-opening of the Old Town Scottsdale Farmers Market. The popular market starts at 8 a.m. and runs until 1p.m. at 2nd St. and Brown.
The return of north Phoenix’s High Street Farmers Market is set for Sunday October 25th. Over a 100 vendors will be selling food, arts and more from 10:30 a.m. – 1 p.m.
Some farmers markets haven’t waited for the weather to cool down such as Momma’s Organic Market in Surprise. The new market started up at The Sterling Grove Market on Sunday September 6th. Momma’s market at Park West in Peoria kicks off Wednesday October 7th at 4 p.m. Their Glendale market at Arrowhead Town Center is open on Saturday mornings.
Arizona Community Farmers Markets organizes 10 markets in the Phoenix area including the Old Town Scottsdale Farmers Market. For information and their locations visit their website.
Quick bits of news about what’s going on around the Phoenix restaurant, beer & wine scene.
Sphinx Date Company announces re-opening
The Palm & Pantry market has re-opened Monday – Saturday from 9 a.m – 5 p.m. in old town Scottsdale. Just in time for the 2020 date harvest and leading into the holiday season.
Dutch Bros Coffee raises money for Phoenix Children’s Hospital
Friday September 18th all 28 locations will donate $1 from every drink sold to the hospitals Buck for Kids day of Giving.
Hopdoddy Burger Bar celebrates National Cheeseburger Day
The week of September 14th-18th the Scottsdale & Camelback locations are letting you double burgers in celebration. Get another patty for free when you order online and take your burger to go. Use promo code “double” at check out to redeem.
Milkshakes are only $4 at Miracle Mile Deli
Celebrate National Milkshake Day is Saturday September 12th and Miracle Mile Deli all month with a chocolate, vanilla or strawberry milkshake for a low price.
Duckhorn Wine Dinner at Tommy V’s in Scottsdale
The restaurant resumes its series of wine dinners on Thursday September 17th with the Napa Valley winery. Tables of 8 will be 6 feet apart and other safety precautions will be followed. The 5 course dinner paired with 5 wines is $90 per person plus tax & tip. To see the menu and make your reservation visit their website.
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.
Two locally owned family businesses joined forces when d’Vine Gourmet started selling Serrano’s Mexican Restaurant’s Original Salsa and Red Hot Sauce. Both businesses are based in Chandler and are passionate about supporting the local community. Serrano’s co-founder Evangeline “Eva” Serrano developed both recipes and her picture graces the label of both bottles.
“We’ve been sharing our salsa and hot sauce with our customers for more than 40 years now, and we’ve been fortunate to grow a robust fan following. We’ve even shipped our products across the country to those who want a taste of Arizona,” said Ric Serrano, president and CEO of Serrano’s Mexican Restaurants. “Offering our product at d’Vine is a natural extension of our product line, and we’re excited about the partnership with another Chandler-based, family owned business.”
d’Vine Gourmet was founded in 2003 by Denise McCreery to share her love of food, wine and unique culinary creations. d’Vine produces a line of jams, mustard, candies, spices and more in addition to selling local goodies like chocolates from Cerreta’s and Cactus Candies.
“We love everything about Arizona, especially the food! Visiting Serrano’s in downtown Chandler has been a family tradition for more than a decade,” McCreery said. “We are proud and excited to now carry their delicious salsa and hot sauce in our store!”
d’ Vine Gourmet is at 4955 S. Alma School Rd. 85248. For more information or to order online visit 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.