2020 brought many surprises good and bad to the valley’s dining scene. One of the biggest surprises was the return of restaurateur Peter Kasperski in December. He and valley mixologist Richie Moe III have again joined forces to open Character Distinctive Dining in the Roosevelt Arts District. The two have known each other for over 30 years going back to their days in Chicago when Moe’s father was Kasperski’s mentor.
Moe helped Kasperski open Cowboy Ciao in the 1990s then Kazmierz Wine Bar before they went their separate ways. Moe had gone on to open and run cocktail programs at Citizen Public House, The Gladly and Bourbon and Bones. Kasperski has been lying low the last few years plotting his next move since he closed Cowboy Ciao.
Downtown Phoenix’s Character Distinctive Dining is a classic American dinner house with cuisines from around the world made using modern cooking techniques. Kasperski’s love for eclectic wines and Moe’s inventive cocktail list have also made their way downtown from Scottsdale. Some will see similarities with Cowboy Ciao especially the popular dinner events. One of those events is the monthly Somm Showdown with Peter Kasperski and a local wine sommelier go head to head picking the best pairings for a five-course dinner. The first Somm Showdown is Sunday January 24th 2021 with Synergy Fine Wines’ Steve Cannon. Seating is limited to 30 people and dinner is $90 ++ per person.
The pair are also opening Alias, a speakeasy, later this year out back of Character. Three nights a week Moe and Chef Justin “Red” Hauska will create mixology/gastronomy dinners pairing cocktails and food with science and surprises. After dinner starting at 9 p.m. Alias will become a craft cocktail bar until 2 a.m.
Character / Alias is at 218 E Portland St. Phoenix, AZ 85004. For more information check their website, Facebook and Instagram.
Chef Bernie Kantak and partner Andrew Fritz have stepped out of their comfort zone of full service restaurants to open their first casual concept, Commander Hamburger. The two own the critically acclaimed restaurants The Gladly in Phoenix and Citizen Public House in Scottsdale. The superhero inspired burger stand opened this week in downtown Phoenix’s The Churchill, an opened air shipping container food court.
Much like the pairs other restaurants and comic books Commander Hamburger should have a cult like following. Guests can expect hamburgers and chicken sandwiches on Noble Bread buns, fries, Danzeisen soft-serve ice cream and more. Fans of Kantak know of his famous Original Chopped Salad and they shouldn’t worry as he’s saved the day as it’s on the menu too. The atmosphere will be of the vintage comic style. Commander joins 9 other small businesses at The Churchill and the only one focusing on burgers.
“Let’s bring back memories of sitting in your best friends’ basement, trading cards, flipping through comics and watching old-school cartoons,” said Kantak, of the vibe at his latest endeavor. “Throw a great hamburger in that scene and we’re set.”
Commander Hamburger and The Churchill is at 901 N. 1st St. Phoenix 85004. For more information check out their website.
Phoenix restaurant The Gladly celebrates its 5th anniversary and will offer fans 5 days of food and drink specials to celebrate. Kicking off Monday September 10th guests will be able to enjoy the popular Chopped Salad for $1 followed by these special below.
Monday, Sept. 10 – Enjoy $1 Original Chopped Salads (dine-in only; dinner service only; limit one per table).
Tuesday, Sept. 11 – Enjoy 50-percent off all draft cocktails including The Gladly Manhattan, Moscow Mule, Spiced Daiquiri, Penicillin, Thai Margarita and Aperol Spritz.
Wednesday, Sept. 12 – Enjoy $1 oysters during happy hour and dinner service.
Thursday, Sept. 13 – Enjoy $10 bottles of rosé.
Friday, Sept. 14 – Enjoy a special, signature dish from The Gladly’s Scottsdale sister restaurant, Citizen Public House, for one night only.
If you can’t make in during the week, stop in anytime during the month for a celebratory cocktail for only $5 created just for the anniversary.
“This is our way of saying thanks to the community, and to those who came through our doors over the last five years,” said co-owner Andrew Fritz. “We can’t wait for you to see what’s in store for the future.”