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.

New Year, new menu at Kasai Japanese Steakhouse

The Scottsdale teppanyaki restaurant added several new dishes and a dozen cocktails to its menu. Coconut Chicken Skewers, Lobster Fried Rice and Kabayaki Scallops are just a few of the new dishes. Cocktails include the Woodsman & Sweet Orchard which uses Japanese whiskeys and other ingredients. A full list of sake and Japanese whiskey are available.

Keto friendly bread now available from Mediterra Bakehouse

The family-owned artisan bakery now sells breads for those who follow a keto diet. Keto wheat flower is lower in carbohydrates and rich in protein. Sunflower, flax and sesame seeds are added for more nutritional value. Each loaf is $8 and can be found at local farmer’s markets, AJ’s Fine Foods, Divine Bakery, Luci’s Healthy Marketplace and Le Grande Orange.

Michael Waltrip Brewing Co. partners with Mobetta Golf Tour

Golfer John Daly co-founded the tour has named the NASCAR champions  “Two Times” beers “Official Beer of the Mobetta Tour”. A Phoenix brewery and taproom are in development.

Match Market & Bar to host Great Gatsby dinner

The signature restaurant at the Found:RE Hotel will be transformed into an epic event on Saturday February 6th. A Gatsby inspired five-course dinner paired with themed cocktails of the times will be served to those in attendance. Dinner is called for 7 p.m. and is $75 per person and can be purchased here.

Morning Squeeze coming to downtown Phoenix

The popular breakfast and lunch spot will open its 3rd location in the Spring at 1st and Washington streets. Known for playing 70s and 80s music the new restaurant will include an indoor and outdoor bar, grab n go area for take- away food and ample outlets to plug in your devices for people to meet, eat & work.

 

Central Kitchen virtual food hall opens in Chandler with 4 concepts

Virtual kitchens/food halls continue to gain popularity with the local restaurant industry. Concept Entertainment Group (CEG), owners of Thirsty Lion Gastropub have opened Central Kitchen, a virtual food hall from the kitchen of Chandler’s Thirsty Lion. Arizona is the 4th state to open Central Kitchen which was launched late last year in Oregon then Texas and Colorado. Guests can order from five concepts Soy Joy Kitchen, Southern Jewel, Killer Wings, Pizza & Spice and Thirsty Lion.

“We’ve been fostering the idea of a kitchen focused on takeout and delivery for the last year,” said John Plew, president and CEO of Thirsty Lion Gastropub. “The pandemic put the process into hyper speed, and we saw this as the perfect opportunity to pivot with the climate and launch an idea that aligns with current consumer demands. Central Kitchen fills a need in the restaurant space by providing multiple culinary offerings from one hub. Guests can order the food that everyone in their home is craving under one ticket.”

All menus include scratch made dishes created by Keith Castro, CEG’s VP of Food and Beverage Executive Chef. Guests can order take-out and delivery from one central website with ease and efficiency.

Soy Joy Kitchen specializes in rice bowls, sushi, ramen and other Asian favorites. Southern Jewel offers Southern fried chicken, Nashville hot chicken, sliders and Southern specialties. Killer Wings serves boneless and traditional wings with a variety of house made sauces. Pizza and Spice has a large selection of gourmet specialty pizzas and salads. Don’t forget burgers, salads, sandwiches and more from the Thirsty Lion and vegetarian options are available from most concepts. Starting January 26th Central Kitchen will offer 25% off each to-go meal ordered at the central website.

 

Undertow goes above ground with pop-up in Scottsdale

The popular and award-winning cocktail bar Undertow has taken its below ground concept to street level with a pop-up at the Hotel Valley Ho. From August of 2016 to December 2020 was housed below Sip Coffee & Beer Garage in Phoenix, a converted quick oil change business. With Covid-19 taking over 2020 owners Rich Furnari and Jason Asher decided to move Undertow next door to its Century Grand location.

In addition to the new Undertow, Century Grand will be adding new concepts Platform 18 and The Grey Hen Rx with construction ending in March. Until then Undertow has taken over the former Trader Vic’s restaurant at the Scottsdale hotel for a 4-day a week “Best of Menus Past” pop-up.

“UnderTow has a strong following, and we always wanted to have a little more space to accommodate additional guests and larger parties, all without compromising the intimate guest experience” says Furnari. With UnderTow’s lease ending in 2020, and our difficult decision to permanently close the restaurant element of Century Grand, there was a prime opportunity to re-locate UnderTow into a larger space in the same geographic neighborhood. In addition, the more flexible physical infrastructure in the new location will allow us to continue to offer our guests the most advanced and enjoyable immersive environment for years to come”.

The two have worked day and night with Hotel Valley Ho’s Food and Beverage Director Andre Nicholson to bridge the gap until construction ends in Phoenix. Housed in the Sands venue at the hotel, the pop-up will be open Thursday through Sunday serving many retired top-selling signature cocktails. Limited food will be served from local chefs who will rotate their own pop- up restaurant. A Sunday market could also be added once things are up and running and the tiki/tropical decor from local artists gives Undertow its laid back vibe.

Hotel Valley Ho is at 6850 E. Main St. Scottsdale 85251 and you can find more information about the pop-up at their website.

JBF Women of AZ collaborate on creative meals for a limited time

This weekend’s launch of JBF Women of AZ shows off the partnership of 15 talented women chefs as Phoenix is one of 10 cities participating in the national alliance “Let’s Talk” from The James Beard Foundation Women’s Leadership Program. “Let’s Talk” is the brainchild of Chicago’s Rohini Dey, Ph.D., owner of Vermilion and trustee of the JBF whose goal is to bring women restaurateurs together for collaboration and support.

This weekend (sold out) and the weekends of January 22nd & 23rd and 29th & 30th you can order a special 3-course meal from 5 groups of chef’s preparing each course of the meal. Each three- course meal feeds two people and is $55 with meals needing to be ordered online by 10 p.m. the Wednesday of each week for pick-up on Friday or Saturday night.

By collaborating the women are learning from each other, sharing ideas and helping to support locally owned businesses during the pandemic.

The 15 Phoenix area women led restaurants participating in the JBF Women of AZ are……

Maya’s Cajun Kitchen
24 Carrots
Cotton & Copper

The Farish House
The Joy Bus Diner
Songbird Coffee House

FnB
Hana Japanese Eatery
Tracy Dempsey Originals

Fat Ox
The Market by Jennifer’s
Sweet Republic

The Cellar
Nonna Urban Eatery
The Breadfruit & Rum Bar

To see the menus & chefs, place an order and pick-up instructions head to 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.

All Mac & Cheese dishes Buy 1, Get 1 Free at Fired Pie

In honor of National Cheese Lovers Day on Wednesday January 20th all locations are offering up the deal on the popular comfort food. Baked and topped with Parmesan cheese and bread crumbs guests can choose from 40 different toppings. This deal is only good for dine-in and is good on mac n cheese of equal or lesser value.

Found:RE Hotel’s Passport Series goes to Mexico

The downtown Phoenix hotel hosts their monthly night with international flavor on Saturday January 16th. The pool and bar area will be transformed for a Mexican vacation with food, cocktails and more. The fiesta goes from 6 – 10 p.m. and more information can be found on their website.

Good news as Cider Corps releases seasonal pie ciders

The popular Pumpkin Pie, Peach Cobbler & Cherry Crisp ciders are now available by the can. Delayed due to the pandemic as ingredients were harder to source these ciders are available for a limited time. 6-packs are $20 and include 2 of each cider or can be purchased individually to be drank at the cidery. 6-packs can be ordered in advance for take away at https://www.toasttab.com/cider-corps-31-s-robson-103/v3

Signature cakes turn to pies at Chase’s Diner

Saturday January 23rd is National Pie Day at the Chandler diner, known for their scratch made desserts, is making two signature pies for the occasion. Turning their Carrot & German Chocolate Cake into pies guest can enjoy them by the slice ($4.29) or the whole darn pie ($13.99). Whole pies need to be ordered in advance.

Round 5 of Hotel Valley Ho’s Versus Series pits beer vs. wine

Which goes better with food, beer or wine? Find out on January 23rd when the Old Town Scottsdale hotel hosts another reception and three-course dinner. Tempe’s Huss Brewing Co. and Sonoma County’s Rodney Strong Vineyards will pair the beers and wines to see who wins. Dinner starts at 6:30 p.m. and is $129++ per person.

Hiring happening at new Twin Peaks Restaurant in Tempe

Twin Peaks Restaurant is opening new location at Tempe Marketplace in February and is hiring over 100 people for jobs throughout the restaurant. The new restaurant is a build-up of over 7,500 square feet of indoor and outdoor dining spaces and a large kitchen.

“We are very excited to introduce Twin Peaks’ delicious scratch-made food and ice-cold beer to everyone in Tempe,” said Franchise Owner Carolyn Vangelos. “With 102 TVs located throughout the sports lodge, Twin Peaks will definitely be the best spot for locals to cheer on their favorite teams. We’ve secured a great location on the south side of Tempe Marketplace, easily accessible from Rio Salado Parkway, so our next step is to hire a talented group of outgoing people to join us in preparation for our grand opening.”

hiring
Lumber Jills

Flexible work hours and a fun work environment is just a couple of reasons to find work at Twin Peaks. They’re hiring 65 Twin Peaks Girls and 35 Heart of the House members including cooks, hostess, bartenders and others. Interested candidates can drop by the restaurant any day of the week from 10 a.m. – 6:30 p.m. to apply for a job or can apply online.

Once opened the sports bar will serve comfort food, 32 beers on tap including local craft beers and a full bar.

This will be the 4th Phoenix area location and will be at 2050 E Rio Salado Parkway Tempe, AZ 85281. For more information visit their website.

Peter Kasperski returns to the valley’s dining scene with Character

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.

Photo courtesy of Modern Vision Media

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.

 

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.

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.