The Blue Heron opens alongside Crust Simply Italian in Gilbert

Crust Simply Italian continues their expansion with their newest location in the Verde at Cooley Station development in Gilbert. With the new opening comes the new speakeasy themed cocktail bar, The Blue Heron. It’s not owner Mike Merendino’s first dual concept as his Chandler location of Crust also houses The Ostrich cocktail bar downstairs.

“We have been looking in Gilbert for some time now, and when we found the Verde project in Cooley Station we fell in love with the neighborhood,” says owner Merendino. A Mesa location is expected to open in mid-2023.

The East Coast Italian restaurant serves up classic dishes and pizza Merendino used to make in his father’s pizzeria on New York’s Long Island. Authentic pasta dishes, Italian style Rustica shaped pizza’s and craft cocktails are signature to Crust. Happy hour happens Monday -Friday from 3- 6p.m. and offers specials on their popular appetizers and cocktails.

“Crust Simply Italian is looking forward to serving the local Gilbert community with delicious authentic East Coast Italian food! We want our customers to come in as friends and to walk away feeling like family!” says Merendino.

“Dealer’s Choice” at The Blue Heron

The Blue Heron specializes in craft cocktails and the popular “dealer’s choice” cocktail. The “dealer’s choice” is perfect for those aren’t sure what they want to drink so the bartenders create custom cocktails based on the customer’s preference of ingredients. Merendino continues his Birds of a Feather theme in naming The Blue Heron, a native bird to Arizona. Doors open daily at 5 p.m.

Both Gilbert locations offer catering and have space for private dining and events. Crust opens daily at 11 a.m. and is at 2470 S Recker Rd #101,Gilbert AZ 85296.

Enjoy my podcast Pulling Corks & Forks: The Podcast with Sandy Wasserman to hear from those in our community. Please subscribe, like & comment.

 

 

A new Papago Brewing Company coming in early 2023

The brand lived on despite the closing of the original location a few years back to make way for re-development. That’s the story of Papago Brewing Company which was purchased in 2016 by Huss Brewing Company’s Jeff & Leah Huss who announced a new taproom will be opening in early 2023 in the former Brass Tap in Mesa Riverview.

“It’s always been my dream to reintroduce the Papago Brewing experience,” Leah Huss says. “Not a rehash or a replica of the old taproom, but a brand-new iteration. I really wanted to envision what Papago Brewing would look like in 2023, so we’ll still have elements of a traditional European-style beer pub and vintage furnishings, yet very fresh and forward-looking.”

The new Papago Brewing Company

Leah co-owned Papago Brewing Company opening it in 1999 and partnered with Jeff in 2013 to open Huss Brewing and was instrumental in helping to grow the Arizona craft beer scene. She has high praise for Brass Tap founder Jesse Rowe “They’ve been great stewards of the Mesa craft beer scene, and we’re excited to introduce Huss and Papago to the neighborhood.”

The new taproom is a passion project for the Huss’s and Jeff being a diehard Cubs fan; the taproom is a mile from the team’s Spring Training home at Sloan Park.

The new Papago Brewing Company will have 104 seats and will serve the full line of Huss Brewing beers along with other local beers and more. A rotating tap will pour 60 draft beers and packaged beer will be sold to-go. Small batch and experimental beers will feature along with popular beers from the past including Elsie’s Milk Stout and Hopago IPA. Shortly after opening a small menu of premium bar bites will be offered for lunch and dinner.

Papago Brewing Company will be at 1033 N Dobson Rd. Mesa. For more information visit their website.

 

 

Sips & Bites: News from the Phoenix restaurant community

Quick sips & bites of news about what’s going on around the Phoenix restaurant community, breweries and wineries.

Park West’s “Follow the Fork” event is tomorrow

West valley foodies can join Jalapeño Inferno and over a dozen more restaurants for a progressive dining experience from 6 – 9 p.m. Live music from Rock Lobster, interactive art and more will help to raise money for the Peoria Education Foundation.

National Taco Day is Tuesday October 4th

Next week’s Taco Tuesday has more tacos than most days as its National Taco Day and there are some deals to be had. Agave del Scottsdale has Happy Hour tacos all day. Z’Tejas offers 1/2 off Gringo Tacos all day with 3 beef tacos & toppings only $7.

Farmer’s Markets return this weekend

October bring the return of the popular community gathering spots that feature local produce and more. The High Street market returns to North Phoenix on Sunday’s from 10 a.m. -1 p.m. Park West is at the Loop 101 & Northern on Saturday’s starting at 9 a.m. Also on Saturday morning’s is the Old Town Scottsdale farmer’s market returns tomorrow at 8 a.m.

October is National Pizza Month

The Streets of New York is celebrating all month long at their 16 locations with a 16″ one topping pizza for $20. You can save almost $4 when dining in, taking-out or for delivery, make sure you mention when ordering in use promo code $20PIZZA when ordering online. The restaurant is also launching its new seasonal menu from October 10th – December 31st. Enjoy Beer Cheese w/ Passion bread for $9, Baked Mac & Cheese for $12 and Pumpkin Cannoli for $4.

Halloween specials at Morning Squeeze

All 3 locations in Phoenix, Tempe and Scottsdale start October with a couple of new specials all month long. Pumpkin Cheesecake Stuffed French Toast ($14) is a twist on the restaurant’s annual pumpkin themed dish. The pumpkin sauce is made in house and comes topped with pumpkin granola. The Spooky Brunch Punch ($10) combines tequila, amaretto, lime and orange juice then tops it with an eyeball garnish. A syringe of raspberry puree comes on the side to drizzle into the drink or add appropriate bloodshot effects to the ghoulish eye. 

Don’t forget to check out my podcast Pulling Corks & Forks: The Podcast with Sandy Wasserman to hear from those in our community. Please subscribe, like & comment.

Chef Hector Godinez rolls out seasonal dishes at Grimaldi’s

Grimaldi’s Pizzeria introduced several new dishes and cocktails featuring the new Fall season that is upon us. Corporate Chef Hector Godinez and his team have been working on the 5 new dishes and 2 new cocktails since early summer. Grimaldi’s rolls out new seasonal dishes every 3 months as the seasons change and seasonal ingredients become available.

Chef Hector Godinez takes inspiration from his years working in various restaurants in Phoenix and Ahwatukee including the last 10 years at Grimaldi’s and 6 as Corporate Chef.

New on the menu at all locations for a limited time are…..

Fallin’ Wedge Salad- Traditional ingredients but swap out the Iceberg lettuce for higher quality Romaine and toss the ingredients.

The Bridge Board- Grimaldi’s version of a charcuterie board that changes seasonally and named after the iconic Brooklyn Bridge.

Buffalo Chicken Pizza- Chef Godinez’s take on Buffalo wings but with no fryer he puts all the ingredients including the crunchy celery on a pizza with Sweet Baby Ray’s hot sauce.

Pumpkin Cheesecake- Can’t have a Fall menu without a pumpkin spices.

Coco’nana Cheesecake– Godinez’s play on a childhood favorite, chocolate covered banana. Banana cheesecake with Oreo cookie crust and chocolate chips.

Italian Old Fashioned– Whiskey, Tiramisu syrup and bitters over ice with a Luxardo cherry and orange peel.

Amalfi Martini- Tito’s Handmade Vodka, Limoncello and lemon juice shaken and garnished with a lemon wheel and rosemary. 

Check out my podcast Pulling Corks & Forks: The Podcast with Sandy Wasserman to hear from those in our community. Please subscribe, like & comment.

 

 

The return of Phoenix Vegan Restaurant Week in September

As plant-based diets get more popular diners are looking for more restaurants and food options when dining out. The return of Phoenix Vegan Restaurant Week, September 11th-18th, people can get a chance to dine on special plant based meals at full service restaurants, food trucks, bakeries, meal delivery services and more.

Founders Jozh Watson (PHX Vegan) and Chef Jason Wyrick (The Vegan Taste) want to continue to bring awareness to plant-based diets get more popular diners are looking for more restaurants and food options to dine out at. “According to Watson, “Last year, Phoenix Vegan Restaurant Week was so well received by the community. Every eatery that participated reported a significant increase in traffic during the event. This year promises to be even bigger and better.”

During the week-long event diners will be treated to plant based meals during breakfast, lunch and dinner at participating restaurants not normally found on their menu. Breakfast will be capped at $15, lunch will offer an appetizer, entree and drink for $20 and a three course dinner for no more than $30 with a 5 course meal no more than $44. Reservations are now being taken for the week at restaurants including Salvadoreno Restaurant (Phoenix and Mesa), Dilla Libre (Phoenix and Scottsdale), Early Bird Vegan, Freak Brothers Pizza and others.

A list of restaurants and menus can be found at their updated website as the list continues to grow. Non-vegan restaurants are encouraged to participate to showcase their plant based options. Menus are available for both dine-in and take-out. According to Wyrick, “Restaurants are realizing they need to appeal to a variety of food preferences. Veganism is a lifestyle choice that is here to stay, and we’re proud to show off the amazing culinary mark Phoenix is making.” Photo credit Debby Wolvos

Don’t forget to check out my podcast Pulling Corks & Forks: The Podcast with Sandy Wasserman to hear from those in our community. Please subscribe, like & comment.

Sfizio Modern Italian Kitchen brings a taste of Italy to north Phoenix.

Father and son Rocco and Marco Pezzano are no strangers to owning and operating Italian restaurants. In the summer of 2021 after a few years out of the business they were drawn back in and opened Sfizio Modern Italian Kitchen in the Desert Ridge neighborhood of North Phoenix. Sfizio is Italian for “you don’t need it, but you want it” or a “craving” and you’ll want this authentic Italian cooking.

Rocco was born in southern Italy’s Calabria region and moved to Torino at 16 working in his aunt’s bakery and pizzeria. In 1986 after visiting family in the United States he re-located to Arizona and opened “That’s Italian” and “Caffe Italy” in Phoenix and Scottsdale. Marco, an architecture student at ASU often worked in the restaurants growing up and learned to love it the way his father does. Like many in the industry Rocco got burnt out and started a wholesale company opting for a desk job.

Young Marco noticed his dad, although successful, wasn’t happy and had a “unspoken passion” for owning his own restaurant, inspired him to get back in the kitchen. That was 2019 and the idea for Sfizio Modern Italian Kitchen started to become a reality. Mom Zee and Marco’s sister round out the family and can be found at the restaurant when not working or in school.

The food at Sfizio Modern Italian Kitchen

All the food at Sfizio is scratch made with all the ingredients imported from throughout Italy. Fresh bread and pizza dough is made twice a day and pasta is made in house every day. Popular dishes include the seafood Frutti Di Mare with shellfish tossed in a spicy red sauce over squid ink pasta, plump Lobster Ravioli and Pollo Parmigina. Pizza Napoletana get tossed and baked in the brick oven in full view of the bar and dining room. Salads, small plates, entrees, antipasto boards and pizzas are served daily at dinner. The lunch menu includes pizza, sandwiches and a couple of pastas until 3 p.m. A full bar is available as is a mostly Italian wine list.

By the time you read this a new menu should be introduced including “The Original Sfizini” available during lunch.  Created by Rocco, hollowed out fresh bread is filled with classic Italian ingredients. Sausage & Peppers, Chicken Cacciatore and Eggplant Parmigiana are just a few of the fillings. Make sure you save room for classic Italian desserts of cannoli, tiramisu and more

Sfizio Modern Italian Kitchen is open daily Monday – Friday at 11 a.m. Dinner starts at 4 p.m. 7 days a week. Happy hour is available daily in the bar. Find them at 21050 N. Tatum Blvd. Phoenix 85050. Visit their website for more information and to view the menus.

The Tipsy Egg brings an elevated brunch experience to Chandler

With the growth of restaurants and bars in downtown Chandler locals and visitors have few breakfast options to start their day. Local developer and owner Niels Kreipke wanted to change that so he took one of his properties on the corner of Arizona Ave. and Boston St. and opened the Tipsy Egg in early May. His experience as partner with other restaurant concepts around the valley gives him the knowledge of what works and what doesn’t and so far this concept exceeds his expectations.

Encompassing 3,000 square feet the modern decor and design is eye catching and features mid-century modern booths and brass finishes. “Tipsy Egg is bringing a wide range of all age groups and is a growing destination area for locals and out of town visitors,” said Kreipke. “We are excited to provide a unique and playful menu, a welcoming indoor/outdoor bar setting and a menu that is anything but typical for our guests to enjoy.” This food first and cocktail forward concept, hence the name, is the first of what will be others throughout the valley.

Photos courtesy of Evolve Public Relations & Marketing

Bold flavors at the Tipsy Egg

The menu offers guests breakfast and lunch all day including Mom’s Post Roast Benedict (go with the Party Potatoes on the side), Yuzu Masco Mint Pancakes, a Chinese Chicken Salad and an Uptown Burrito filled with filet mignon, eggs, roasted garlic, vegetables, Gouda cheese and more. The cocktail menu offers more than Mimosas and Bloody Marys for those looking for something other than coffee or juice in the morning. The BRKFT in Bed blends Sailor Jerry Rum, butterscotch schnapps, orange juice, lemon lime soda and an orange wheel. The Early Morin Margarita features Tepozan Añejo tequila, fresh lime juice, agave, pineapple juice, lemon lime soda, homemade tajin, a lime wheel and pineapple spear. Non-alcoholic mocktails are also on the list along with a selection of Bloody Marys and local craft beers.

The Tipsy Egg is 1 E. Boston St. Chandler and is open daily from 6:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m. and is available after hours for private parties and business meetings. For more information visit their website.

Don’t forget to check out my podcast Pulling Corks & Forks: The Podcast with Sandy Wasserman to hear from those in our community. Please subscribe, like & comment.

 

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.

Picazzo’s Healthy Italian Kitchen offer Healthy Hour menu

All 6 locations (5 in Phoenix area and 1 in Sedona) kicked off the new summer Healthy Hour recently. Daily from 3 -6 p.m. enjoy popular food items and cocktails such as Baked Wings, Mama’s Meat-Za-Balls and Baked Brie for $8. Hot Artichoke Spinach Dip and Avocado Toast are $7 and Cheese Bread is $6.

Wash them down with $4 Local Drafts, glasses of house wines for $5 and Zo’s House Made Sangria for $6. Signature cocktails including the Prickly Pear Margarita and Smoky Cadillac are $7 and both use the locally owned Shrubwell‘s rimming salt.

 Dole Whip only $2 on Monday at Koibito Poke

Cool off on National Pineapple Day at the Gainey Ranch location of Koibito Poke with the the popular frozen treat. The 5 oz. Dole Whip is available all day from 11 a.m. – 8 p.m.

Chef Brett Vibber and Pedal Haus Brewery team up for beer paired dinner

Master Brewer Derek Osborne and Wild Arizona chef Brett Vibber team up for a five-course dinner on Thursday June 30th. Dinner will take place at the brewer’s downtown Phoenix location at 214 E. Roosevelt St. starting at 6 p.m. Foraged and locally sourced dishes including Wild Mushroom Potstickers and Arizona Wagyu Brisket will be paired with Mexican Amber Lager and Haus IPA. Seats are limited and are $120 and can be reserved here.

Venezia’s Pizza in Chandler now open

The 6th location of the poplar locally owned restaurant I featured last month is now open for business. Known for pizza and wings they offer daily lunch specials and the “Slice of the Day”. Owner Domenick Montanile opened his first location in Tempe in 1998 right after graduating from ASU.

Guy Fieri’s DTPHX Kitchen + Bar now open at Chase Field

When it was announced in February that Guy Fieri would we be opening a new restaurant at Chase Field little information was known. Now we know that “Guy Fieri’s DTPHX Kitchen +Bar” has opened this week inside the new Caesars Sportsbook. Executive Chef Kayla Laasko offers scratch made food along with classic cocktails, beer & wine. Several of Fieri’s classic dishes including Trash Can Nachos and the popular Bacon Mac n Cheeseburger are on the menu along with new dishes.

Don’t forget to check out my podcast Pulling Corks & Forks: The Podcast with Sandy Wasserman to hear from those in our community. Please subscribe, like & comment.

Winery to host Wine Country BBQ in August

Not a whole lot happens in Arizona during the summer but something you can count on is the Wine Country BBQ hosted by LDV Winery in Pearce. On Saturday August 6th, in the foothills of the Chiricahua Mountains of southeastern Arizona winery owners Peggy Fiadaca and Kurt Dunham host wine club members and guests for their annual celebration of the harvest in progress.

The fun starts at 11:30 a.m. with lunch between 11:30 a.m. and 2 p..m. followed by tours until 4 p.m. Lunch will of course be paired with award-winning wines and the educational tour will visit the winery and vineyards. Taking pictures is encouraged as the property has picturesque views and lots of natural beauty.

Those looking to spend the night are encouraged to speak with Peggy about nearby lodging. Those with RVs or looking to camp (bring your own tent,etc) are invited to spend the night “amongst the vines”. Cost is $40 per person and $30 for wine club members. Lunch, a glass of wine and a tour are all included. You can register to attend here or call or email Peggy at 480-664-4822.

Puppies and Pancakes at Daily Dose on June 25th

Whether you’re a dog owner or not you can do your part to help raise money to help find them a home. On Saturday June 25th all 3 locations of Daily Dose hosts there Puppies and Pancakes fundraiser for the Arizona Humane Society. The locally owned restaurant serving breakfast and lunch in Tempe, Mid-Town Phoenix and Old Town Scottsdale (all with dog friendly patios) will donate $1 of any entrée served.

“We’re pet lovers here,” says Daily Dose co-owner JenLyn Long. “We love supporting the Arizona Humane Society and we invite everyone out to brunch for a good cause!” The restaurant has previously hosted fundraisers, Doggy Bag Dine-Out and Doggy Date Night to support the Arizona Humane Society.

“As a nonprofit organization that takes in more than 15,000 sick, injured and abused homeless animals each year, fundraisers like this that give back to our lifesaving services and programs are critical to the work we do,” says AHS Spokesperson Bretta Nelson. “We are so appreciative of the generosity and support of fellow pet lovers like our friends at Daily Dose.”

During Puppies and Pancakes guests can choose such entrées as Breakfast Nachos, Cinnamon Roll Cakes and the Hangover Sandwich. For more information can be found on their website or following them on Facebook or Instagram.

%d bloggers like this: