A new culinary team takes over when Ghost Ranch re-opens.

When the popular south Tempe restaurant re-opens in mid-January guests will see new faces in the front and back of the house. Executive Chef David Mora, Sous Chef Tyler Moonsoo and Pastry Chef Lisa Graf are new culinary team and General Manager Ashleh Robles runs the front of the house.

Mora will run the kitchen was born in Colombia and raised in Florida where learned to love the diversity of food. He started his restaurant career in Miami before making his way to Arizona. He’s worked at Flagstaff’s Copa Cafe, Mariposa in Sedona and was sous chef at Palo Verde and chef de Cuisine at The Spotted Donkey at The Boulders in Carefree. “I’ve spent more than a decade exploring the complexity of southwest cuisine and I am thrilled to bring what I’ve learned to Ghost Ranch,” Mora said. “I know the restaurant has quickly become a staple in the Tempe community and I hope to continue serving the area authentic dishes with innovative twists.”

Sous Chef Monsoo will help Mora develop and execute the dishes of Ghost Ranch. He has over 15 years of experience in Arizona at The Boulders, Ah-So Sushi and Steak, Obon Sushi and Ramen and Wrights Kitchen at The Arizona Biltmore from Waldorf Astoria.

Pastry Chef Graf rounds out the new culinary team. A native of Colorado, Graf draws inspiration from traveling as a teenager through Europe, learning and tasting local foods. Back in the states she re-located to Santa Fe, New Mexico to launch her culinary career as a pastry chef. After earning her pâtissier certificate she ran pastry programs at James Beard Foundation recognized restaurants La Boca and the Compound. She’s also worked at Mama’s Fish House in Maui and Scottsdale’s Roka Akor and Hotel Valley Ho.

Tempe native Robles takes over as General Manager running daily operations and administration. Starting her career in the hospitality industry at 17 she’s dedicated her career to to customer satisfaction and enjoyment. Her experience in psychology, finance and event planning give her know how to continue to keep customers happy. Customers will notice her creative cocktails, menu pairings and attention to detail in the dining room. She’s worked for more than 10 years in in several roles in high-end lounge, club and bar settings around town.

Ghost Ranch is at 1006 E. Warner Rd. Suite in Tempe. For more information visit their website.

Zoom out of 2020 and into 2021 for a return to normal

Who thought that on December 31st 2019 the word “Zoom” would become a household name and conjure up flashback’s to the PBS children’s show from my youth. 2020 has been a crazy year we all want to put behind us, the year started like any other with plans for travel, eat my way food festivals and anticipating new restaurant openings. Two months in things changed and 2020 wasn’t going to be typical year. It got serious for me when around St. Patrick’s when the NBA put the season on hold. Before you knew it lock downs were in place, toilet paper was at the top of every bodies doomsday “must have” list and distilleries were making hand sanitizer.

Zoom to a virtual happy hour then a Teams meeting as businesses learned to pivot their business model on a moment’s notice. April and May were like a hazy version of Groundhog’s Day and I was foodie version of Bill Murray’s character. Eating in parking lots and collecting plastic utensils became the norm, taking out from neighborhood favorites wondering how dine-in restaurants are adapting. Some restaurants took a hiatus to figure it out, others stocked up on to-go containers and others closed all together. Food festivals and small, medium and large gatherings were cancelled on a daily basis as many still are into early 2021.zoom

In mid-May when Governor Ducey lifted restrictions while adding new restrictions for restaurants we wondered if we would dine-in and was it safe even wearing masks and washing our hands. I thought I would still do take-out and eat in parking lots or take food home. On Day 2 of dine-in I found myself sitting at the bar alone at The Stockyard’s Restaurant for a burger. To this day I haven’t been afraid to dine-in early and before restaurants get crowded by 2020 standards. By the time summer rolled around more people were venturing out & about and us foodies started to gather. Not at festivals but cautiously as new restaurants began to open after several delays.

I’m still not sure what my final meal will be for 2020 or my first meal of 2021. Still pondering my future meals I’m looking for what 2021 will bring. Less Zoom meetings for sure, in the food world I’m curious how Arizona’s new legalization of recreational cannabis will open new opportunities for cannabis infused meals, foods and restaurants. What new restaurants will be anticipated and which favorites will close their doors. What will the long term effect will 2020 have on local businesses and society? Many un-answered questions going forward into 2021 but I do know one thing……in order to survive we MUST eat and drink. Cheers and to a better 2021!!!

Atlas Bistro owner takes over AZ Wine Co. renames it Atlas Wines

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.

 

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.

Start 2021 off celebrating National Bloody Mary Day

New Year’s Day lands on a Friday in 2021 so nobody is in a hurry to get back to work so continue celebrating the New Year with a Bloody Mary. U.S. Egg, Pedal Haus Brewery, Angry Crab Shack, Grimaldi’s Pizzeria and Twin Peaks are all celebrating the A.M. cocktail favorite. Signature Bloody Marys are shaking up your morning as you get ready for what 2021 has in store.

Restaurants continue open new locations around the valley.

Not only is Dog Haus opening a new location but so are Z’ Tejas, Angry Crab Shack & Thai Chili 2 Go. The popular Southwestern & Mexican cuisine restaurant is opening a new lakeside restaurant in February at Scottsdale’s Mercado de Lago on Hayden Rd. at Via de Ventura. Angry Crab Shack has already started serving seafood and its popular Seafood Boils at its 12th Arizona location in Laveen. Thai Chili 2 Go is opening its 11th quick casual restaurant in Gilbert on December 30th.

Still time to order take-out or make a reservation for NYE.

Restaurants continue to take reservations and planning for take-out food as we say good bye to 2020. This updated list has restaurants around the valley serving up your last meal of 2020.

Restaurants continue to give and give in the holiday season.

In November Dominick’s Steak House, Ocean 44 and Steak 44 raised over $64,000 for local charities. Make A-Wish Foundation Arizona, PANDA and The Phoenix Heart Ball/ American Heart Association will benefit from the money raised.

Grimaldi’s Pizzeria has raised over $110,000 in 2020 for No Kid Hungry through its fundraising initiatives. May 2021 be as generous to the local community from Phoenix restaurants.

The Watermark Tempe to welcome Dog Haus Biergarten in early 2021

Restaurants are putting 2020 behind them and moving forward with new locations in 2021. Dog Haus, the gourmet hot dogs and sausages fast casual concept will open another location along Tempe Town Lake at the new Watermark Tempe. Expected to open in early in the New Year Dog Haus joins Sweet Republic Ice Cream, Monroe’s Hot Chicken and Crumbl Cookies at the mixed-use development.

The Watermark Tempe Dog Haus will be franchisee Jeron Boemer’s second location in Arizona, his first is in Yuma and opened in 2015. “I am excited to bring Dog Haus’ unique and delicious offerings to the Tempe community. Having found this ideal location, I know the Dog Haus culture of serving excellent food with welcoming service in a fun atmosphere will be embraced by the vibrant and growing Tempe neighborhood.”

Joining gourmet hot dogs on the menu will be Black Angus burgers, one of a kind fried chicken creations, side dishes and 24 craft beers on tap. Signature Haus cocktails are being crafted by Phil Willis of “Bar Rescue”. The 2,444 square foot restaurant includes a full bar and dog friendly patio.

Guest’s favorite hot dogs include Sooo Cali, with wild arugula, avocado, tomato, crispy onions and spicy basil aioli, and the Reservoir Hog, featuring a Polish kielbasa, Haus chili, Haus slaw and yellow mustard. Haus burgers include The Freiburger®, with white American cheese, fries, Haus slaw, fried egg and mayo, and the Holy Aioli, with white American cheese, smoked bacon, caramelized onions and garlic aioli. Burgers are made with beef from humanely raised Black Angus cows and all sausages and hot dogs are free of added nitrates and made with hormone- and antibiotic-free meat.

Dog Haus Tempe Biergarten will be at 430 N. Scottsdale Rd 85281. For more information and updates 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.

Z’Tejas launches seasonal menu

The Chandler and Phoenix locations debut a new Winter menu on Monday December 28th. Chipolte Short Ribs, Posole and Grits & Lobster are just a few of the new dishes that use traditional Mexican and Southwestern ingredients. Two new specialty drinks have also been added to keep you warm.

Holiday gifts still available from Garden Bar

Cocktail kits and grazing boxes are available for your favorite foodie or mixologist. Perfect for staying at home and enjoying the holiday’s cocktails kits from mixologist Kim Haasarud include ingredients and a how-to video.

Gabriella’s launches weekend brunch

The Scottsdale restaurant that opened earlier this year now offers brunch on Saturday’s and Sunday’s. From 9:30 a.m. – 2 p.m. guests can enjoy such dishes as a Crab & Lobster Benedict, Gabriella’s Chicken Hash and Lemon Poppyseed Pancakes with Berries. Enjoy those and more with Bottomless Mimosa’s for $18.

Barro’s Pizza raises money for St. Mary’s Food Bank

The locally owned pizza restaurants bested 2019’s donations by over $50,000. Through the 2020 Doran Barro Holiday Hunger Fight over $335,000 was raised at the families 44 locations in Phoenix and Tucson on December 1st when all sales where donated to the food bank.

Kasai Japanese Steakhouse donating to Arizona Children’s Association.

Through Christmas Eve a $1 from each teppan meal will be donated to Arizona’s oldest and largest foster care organization. Also every Tuesday and Wednesday in December the Scottsdale restaurant has been hosting foster family’s for dinner.

 

 

Devour at Home, a virtual Devour Culinary Classic coming in February

2021 is almost here but we’re not out of the woods yet from Covid-19 so virtual get togethers are still happening in the new year. Continuing to support local restaurants Local First Arizona announced their annual Devour Culinary Classic is going online with Devour at Home the weekend of February 27-28.

Each day local chefs will prepare and have delivered a special prix-fixe meal to enjoy in the comfort of your own home. There will be a limited amount of meals offered with each meal being $200 and feeds 4 people. Each meal includes wine glasses, warming instructions, chef bios, a 2021 Devour at Home place mat and a commemorative thermal tote.

Chefs participating in Devour at Home include Danielle Leoni of The Breadfruit & Rum Bar, Stephen Jones of The Larder +Delta, Silvana Salcido Esparanza of Barrio Cafe and others. Attendees can show off their plating skills from home to win prizes selected by the chefs and other virtual experiences. The nationally recognized event plans to return in person when CDC guidelines allow.

The participating restaurants will receive 100% of all proceeds from the weekend’s event. You can order your meals starting on February 15th and get more information at https://www.devourphoenix.com/.

 

Belle’s Nashville Kitchen brings honkytonk to Old Town

Old Town Scottsdale went a little bit country last month when honkytonk themed Belle’s Nashville Kitchen swung its doors opened. Comfort food classics with a Nashville twist are served day and night from award-winning Chef Samantha Robert’s kitchen.

Longtime Scottsdale residents may remember the building its housed in, the popular Lulu Belle’s, the Gay 1890’s themed restaurant and bar in the 1960s- 90s. The back bar still remains from its original use as owner Mike Haley wanted to celebrate the buildings history and kept the part of the name as a reminder along with the bar and front striped facade. Much of the wood is re-claimed from Haley’s patio at his home in California. It wouldn’t be a honkytonk without live music and dancing that is being phased in with local musicians. Guitars line the back wall as do wagon wheels on the walls opposite the bar.

Chef Roberts previously developed menus for Scottsdale’s Riot Hospitality Group (El Hefe, Riot House & Dierks Bentley’s Whiskey Row) where she won the 2017 Foodist Award for “Best Chef”. The menu includes Nashville favorites Kool-Aid Pickles, a Nashville Hot Chicken sandwich, Honkytonk Fries and Jambalaya. Other favorites include a Poke board and Mac n Cheese Sandwich. Don’t miss out on Pig Candy, thick cut bacon candied in-house and topped with Pralines. Weekend brunch is served with Hot Chicken French Toast, Belle’s Biscuits and Gravy and Cowboy Breakfast.

Whiskey and bourbon signature cocktails including the Cold Brew Old Fashioned, The Pal Manhattan are served as are other classic cocktails.

Belle’s Nashville Kitchen is at 7212 E. Main St. Scottsdale 85251. Their open Monday – Thursday from 11 a.m. – 1 a.m. Friday til 2 a.m. Saturday from 9 a.m. – 2 a.m. and Sunday 9 a.m. – 11 p.m. For more information visit their website.

Around the valley restaurants serve Christmas & New Year’s Eve meals

Restaurants around the valley are getting ready to give 2020 one last “f**k you” as they prepare the last meals of the year. Christmas (Xmas) and New Year’s Eve (NYE) menus are planned and restaurants are taking reservations and orders for dining in or taking out for your holiday dining. These restaurants are doing the cooking for you but you need to get your reservations or orders in soon before it’s too late.

The Roaring Fork– Scottsdale- NYE – Dine-in 12/31

The Boulders Resort & Spa- Grill Kitchen- Carefree (Xmas & NYE)– Dine-in on 12/25 and 12/31. Take-out on 12/25

Miracle Mile Deli– Central Phoenix (Xmas)- Take-out order by 12/22 for pick-up on 12/24.

Belle’s Nashville Kitchen– Scottsdale (NYE)- Dine-in 12/31

Vicino’s Local Italian– Scottsdale-(NYE)– 12/31 Dine-in

Peacock Wine Bar– Gilbert- (NYE)- Take-out order by 12/29, for pick-up 12/31.

Trapp Haus BBQDowntown Phoenix – (Xmas Eve & NYE) Take-out, pick up on 12/24 & 12/31.

Romeo’s Euro Cafe– Gilbert- (NYE)- 12/31 Dine-in.

PHX Beer Co.- Scottsdale- (NYE)- Dine-in or take-out on 12/31 and 1/1/21.

The Thumb– North Scottsdale (Xmas Eve)- For pick-up on 12/24

T. Cook’s at The Royal Palms Resort & Spa – Phoenix (Xmas & NYE) -Dine-in 12/25 and 12/31.

Marcellino Ristorante– Scottsdale– (Xmas & NYE) Order by 12/22 pick-up 12/23. Dine- in 12/31

Match Market & Bar– Downtown Phoenix (Xmas)- Dine-in 12/25, take-out order by 12/19 pick up 12/24.

SanTan Brewing Co.– Chandler & Phoenix (NYE)– 12/31 Dine-in & take-out.

Hotel Valley Ho– Old Town Scottsdale (Xmas)– Dine-in 12/25, take-out order by 12/21.

Fleming’s Prime SteakhouseGlendale, Chandler, Scottsdale & DC Ranch – (XMas Eve & NYE) – Take-out 24 hour notice. Dine- in 12/24 & 12/31.

Sanctuary on Camelback Mountain Resort & Spa– Paradise Valley(Xmas) & (NYE) – Dine-in on 12/25 and 12/31.

Rusconi’s American Kitchen– Phoenix/Paradise Valley (Xmas Eve) & (NYE) – Dine-in on 12/24 and 12/31.

The Craftsman Cocktails & Kitchen– North Scottsdale (NYE)– Dine-in 12/31

Aioli Gourmet Burgers– Phoenix (Xmas) – Order by 12/17 pick-up or delivery on 12/23.

Cowboy Club– Sedona (NYE) – Dine-in on 12/31

Phoenix City Grille– Central Phoenix (Xmas) – Order by 12/18 pick -up 12/24

Taphouse Kitchen– Phoenix & Scottsdale (Xmas Eve) – Dine-in on 12/24

Liberty Station Tavern- Scottsdale (DC Ranch & Terravita)(Xmas) – Order by 12/20 for pick-up 12/24.

 

 

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.