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.
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!!!
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.
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/.
Rumors started earlier this week that the popular Tucson fast food chain would be making its way up I-10 to open locations in the Phoenix area. Rumors became facts when it was announced that 5 locations would open in the second quarter of 2021. eggee’s is known for its Ranch Fries, grinders and frozen fruit drinks will open locations in Phoenix, Mesa, Scottsdale and 2 in Gilbert.
“We look forward to becoming a part of the Phoenix metroplex, through job creation at our five new restaurants, charitable giving, and of course, our trademark frozen eegees,” said CEO Ron Petty.
The chain has opened over 20 locations around Tucson since 1971 and have seven more planned around town in 2021. It’s received several Tucson foodie awards including “Best French Fries” and “Best Fast Food”. In 2019 Food and Wine magazine named it “Best Fast Food” in Arizona. The company has donated over $3 million dollars to Tucson area charities and has several corporate initiatives benefiting the local community. The company started a recycling program in 1987 and strives to be a zero waste company.
Updates and details of the upcoming Phoenix openings can be found at their website as they become available.