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.

Whiskey Wednesday’s at Belle’s Nashville Kitchen

The Scottsdale hony tonk bar offers up flights of 4 tastes of whiskey’s every Wednesday for $35-$45. Saturday 3/27 is International Whiskey Day and Belle’s is celebrating with 4 signature whiskey cocktails. Tuesday 3/30 is National Hot Chicken Day and several choices (sandwich, tenders & salad) are on their menu to celebrate with.

Jersey Mike’s donating all sales to Phoenix Children’s Hospital

All 45 sandwich shops around Phoenix will donate 100% of sales on Wednesday 3/31. The day of giving is part of Jersey Mike’s 11th annual month of giving in March and is supported by local valley owners Duane Layton, Bill Mapes and Josh Barton.

New menu items at Trapp Haus BBQ

Phil “The Grill” updated the menu at his Roosevelt Row BBQ joint to include  Chicken Fried Corn & Chicken Fried Pickles and Family Style smoked meats by the pound for dine-in or to-go. New Philly Crack Wings flavors include Jamaican Jerked, Nashville Hawt and BBQ. Wash it all down with the new vodka based Purple Rain cocktail.

Orin Swift wines paired at Match Market & Bar dinner

No foolin’ around on Thursday April 1st when the downtown Phoenix restaurant inside the Found:RE Hotel pairs 5-courses with red & white wines. $99++ gets you a seat at the table that starts at 7 p.m. Seats can be reserved here and for more information click here.

LDV Winery re-opens tasting room on April Fool’s Day, seriously

No joke here when owners Peggy Fiadaca and Curt Dunham re-open their downtown Scottsdale tasting room after almost a year. Covid-19 and structural issues had them closed longer than expected but they’re glad to be back open seeing friends and pouring their award-winning wines.

 

 

Cooper’s Hawk Winery & Restaurant opens in Scottsdale

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.

Cooper's Hawk Winery & Restaurant
Mexican Drunken Shrimp

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.

 

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/.

Trevor’s Liquors to offer retail and a beer & wine bar in south Scottsdale

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.

Rift Tap and Wine Bar opening in south Scottsdale

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.

Rift owners Damien Kanser and Jon Coppins

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.

Spirit of Arizona Tours announces wine tours to Scottsdale & Verde Valley

Bookings are now being taken for Spirit of Arizona Tours new experiences to old town Scottsdale and to the Verde Valley.

The Verde Valley Winery Tour includes spending the day visiting 3 wineries between Jerome and Sedona, visit Cottonwood for shopping, lunch and more wine tasting and an interpretive tour of of the Sonoran desert and the Verde Valley. Tours leave the Phoenix area at 8:30 a.m. and return between 6 – 7 p.m.  Cost is $129 per person.

The Scottsdale Wine Tasting Experience visits up to 4 tasting rooms, checking out Scottsdale landmarks & points of interest and time to do a little shopping. Drop off and pick up is available when per-arranged. The tours are 3 hours long and are multiple times a day for $60 per person.

Wine tastings are not included in price as individuals can determine what and how much they want to drink. To book these or any other Spirit of Arizona Tours visit their website.

 

Salut Kitchen Bar owner shows his European flair with new look

When Romain Lauro bought Salut Kitchen Bar two years ago he brought with him over 25 years of restaurant experience. For the Lyon, France native his love for food came early, at the age of 3 and easily as Lyon is the capital of the food world. Much of his life Lauro worked for his father serving ice cream at young age then taking over at his father’s fine dining restaurant Comme en Provence. He sold the restaurant after 20 years to fulfill his dream of coming to the United States.

“As a longtime restaurant owner in France, I am committed to bringing the elements of the high-quality dining experience to Salut Kitchen Bar,” said Lauro. “From adding new lights to changing the interior to a light, relaxing color scheme, I want Salut to be a place guests can enjoy an affordable, but delicious scratch made meal in a comfortable atmosphere.”

Salut Kitchen Bar
Saltimbocca di Marsala. All photos courtesy of PBS Studio 3 and Amanda Moore at Evolve Marketing.

What’s new at Salut Kitchen Bar

Salut Wine Bar is known for scratch made Mediterranean and American cuisine and been awarded “Best Wine Bar in Tempe”. Known for bruschetta, salads, sandwiches, gourmet tapas and an extensive wine list from around the world.

Most changes guest will see are to the interior and exterior of the restaurant. Wood accents, new lighting, landscaping and more will give guests an excellent wine and dining experience. Chef Trayton Hutchinson oversees the kitchen and makes sure the food is up to Lauro’s high standards.

Salut Kitchen Bar offers daily lunches for $9.99, daily happy hour from 3 -6 p.m. and weekly specials. Wednesday’s give guests the opportunity to choose a bruschetta board or Salut sampler & a bottle of wine for $25. Weekend brunch is offered from 9:30 a.m. – 2 p.m. Salut Kitchen Bar is at 1435 E. University Dr. Tempe 85281. For more information and to stay up to date on weekly specials visit their website.

 

Carlson Creek’s Scottsdale tasting room has 3rd anniversary celebrations

Carlson Creek Vineyard’s is celebrating the 3rd anniversary of its Scottsdale tasting room. Throughout the month of July daily and weekly events and tastings are planned. Wine Society members and the public are welcome to celebrate with them. Photo courtesy of Jenelle Bonifield of Food & Lifestyles AZ.

Scottsdale tasting room events

July 8-14: For current Wine Society members only, refer a new member and each will receive a complimentary bottle of 2013 Sauvignon Blanc

13th at 2pm:  Scottsdale tasting room’s 3rd Anniversary party featuring live music, food from Old Ellsworth Brewing Company and conversation with the winemakers (free to attend)

14th: All-day happy hour featuring $5 glasses of Sangiovese, Sauvignon Blanc and Rosé

July 15-21: Purchase a bottle of Carlson Creek wine + Queen Creek Olive Mill’s olive oil or vinegar and receive $5 off

18th at 6pm:  Wine Society members-only Library Wine Flight featuring five wines from the Carlson Creek library ($20/person)

July 22 – 31: Daily featured food and wine pairings ($15/person)

22nd: 2013 Sangiovese paired with garlic hummus, red pepper hummus, pesto and pita chips

23rd: 2013 Chenin Blanc paired with tortilla chips and date salsa from Sphinx Palm & Pantry

24th: 2014 Sauvignon Blanc paired with watermelon, feta and mint topped with Queen Creek Olive Mill’s balsamic vinegar

 25th: 2014 Rule of Three paired with chorizo, olive, mozzarella and parsley stackers

26th: 2015 Sauvignon Blanc paired with smoked salmon, cream cheese and cucumber bites

27th: 2014 Sangiovese paired with bleu cheese and dates from Sphinx Palm & Pantry

28th: 2017 Grenache Rosé paired with chocolate filled roll

29th: 2018 Chardonnay paired with butter and kettle popcor

30th: 2018 Sweet Adeline Riesling paired with spicy street corn

31st: 2015 Rule of Three paired with brie and Sauvignon Blanc fig preserves on a toasted baguette

July 25 at 6pm: Arizona Wine History class with Q&A and wine tastings ($10 for members / $15 for non-members)

The tasting room is at 4142 N. Marshall Way 85251. For more information, call the Scottsdale tasting room at 480.947.0636.

“Hot Brand” awarded to Aridus Wine Co. by Wine Business Monthly

Willcox’s Aridus Wine Company received national recognition in February when Wine Business Monthly named it a “Hot Brand”. The annual list is compiled with wineries, growers, vintners and wines that are making a statement in the wine industry.

“We are enormously honored and thrilled,” said founder/proprietor Scott Dahmer, “to be recognized by this honor, which comes on a national scale and in a field of very distinguished other contenders.”

Wine Business Monthly singled out the 2015 Syrah as part of the profile which was made by winemaker Lisa Strid. The syrah comes from several local vineyards and is usually the first reds to be harvested each year. Strid likes to pioneer new varietals to the area and likes working with the challenging climate of the region.

Part of consideration for the “Hot Brand” award was the growth of the winery and its commitment to offer all “estate sourced” wines. The high elevation winery and vineyards is in Chiricahua Hills appellation of southeastern Arizona.

Hot Brand choice

Erin Kirschenmann, Wine Business Monthly editor, explains that “every year,
when Wine Business Monthly “Our goal is to always represent the American wine industry. Often, that means discovering a new winery in an established region while also paying homage to the stalwarts who continue to move the industry forward. It means we look at wineries in non-West Coast, “traditional” winemaking states, or those who might be bucking a trend or trying new techniques.”

The winery was founded in 2012 as a custom crush facility for the regions wineries in what was an old apple warehouse. Aridus is Latin for “dry or arid”  which is what the terroir offers, good for winemaking.

The Aridus Tasting room in Willcox is at 145 N. Railview Ave. the winery is nearby. The old town Scottsdale tasting room is at 7173 E. Main St. 85251. For more information visit their website.

Merkin Vineyards opens its wine bar in downtown Scottsdale

Shelves are stocked, menus have been printed and Merkin Vineyards have opened their wine bar in downtown Scottsdale. The Jerome based winery flipped the “Open” sign Thursday March 14th as the bureaucracy paperwork was complete.

Wines from Merkin Vineyards and Caduceus Cellars will be poured their 7 days week. The location has a rich history in the Scottsdale wine community as the tasting room is housed in what was the wine eccentric restaurant FnB and most recently cocktail bar Counter Intuitive.

Merkin Vineyards wines

You’ll find mostly Spanish and Italian varietals poured at the wine bar from high elevation vineyards. Grapes for Merkin and Caduceus wines are grown at the wineries estate vineyards in Verde Valley and Willcox. The vineyards encompass 110 acres and the wines are made by MJ & Jen Keenan, Tim White and Erin Center. All wines are sustainably made.

A small menu of fruits, vegetables, meats and cheeses are available. The fruits and vegetables are grown at the wineries Verde Valley greenhouse, gardens and orchards. Other Arizona farmers provide for what they don’t grow.

Merkin Vineyards Old Town Scottsdale is open Sunday – Thursday 11 a.m. – 9 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday 11 a.m. – 11 p.m. It’ s at 7133 E. Stetson Dr. Scottsdale 85251 and you can visit their website for more information.