Anoche Cantina coming to Mill Ave. in August

Bellevue, Washington based Ascend Hospitality Group is planing to open its first Arizona location in downtown Tempe later this month. Anoche Cantina will be the first of a new restaurant and nightlife concept from AHG’s Director of Marketing and Brand Design Shelby Elmore and will be the first concept she’s co-created. Located in the former El Hefe space Anoche will serve innovative Latin inspired food and cocktails including a build-your-own-margarita bar.

“We’ve had our eye on Tempe for a while and when the opportunity arose for us to take prime real estate on Mill Ave., we jumped at the chance,” said Elaina M. Morris, AHG CEO and president. “We couldn’t be more excited to bring, what we call, the ‘AHG Difference’ to the Valley and join such a thriving community.” 

Thomas Lawson, formerly of Riot Hospitality Group was brought on as AHG had wanted to partner with a local expert operator to help execute its vision.  “It’s nice to be a part of Mill Ave.’s resurgence, this is a great area with rich history,” Lawson said. “Anoche will provide a unique experience to help elevate the ever-expanding community. Through carefully crafted eats and one-of-a-kind nightlife, we look to not just breathe new life into the area but give the area what it’s been craving.”

The scene at Anoche Cantina

Anoche Cantina will have 5,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor space including a shaded patio to enjoy our nice weather. Those there for the nightlife will experience a high quality sound and lighting system that will make Anoche the best party on Mill Ave. Just in time for football season, a sports bar concept from AHG, six40rty is planned for a September opening next door. Large screen TVs, lawn games, upscale bar snacks and witty cocktails will be available indoors and outdoors at the 8,000 square foot sports bar. Both concepts are looking to hire front and back of the house team members and those interested can apply in person or email Lawson at thomas@ascendhg.com.

Anoche Cantina is at 640 S. Mill Ave Tempe 85281.

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.

Miracle Mile Deli celebrates National Sandwich Month

Starting Monday August 1st the central Phoenix deli is serving up a weekly sandwich special for only $12. 8/1-8/6 – Corned Beef Sandwich 8/8-8/13 – Brisket Sandwich 8/15-8/20 – Combo (Pastrami & Corned Beef) 8/22-8/27 – The Straw. Each sandwich comes with a choice of sides and a dill pickle spear.

Phoenix City Grille offers exclusive Caymus Vineyards tasting event

Wednesday August 3rd join the vineyard’s Arizona Market Manager Stephanie Martindale for a tasting of five wines. Enjoy sipping on Emmolo Sparkling, Mer Soleil Reserve Chardonnay, Sea Sun Pinot Noir, The Walking Fool Red Blend and Bonanza Cabernet Sauvignon. Wines tasted during the event will be available for purchase with limited seating costing $25 ++ per person. Reservations can be made by contacting Britinee Reed at 602-510-7170 or privatedining@phoenixcitygrille.com

Hearth ’61 welcomes Chef Eugenia Theodosopoulos

The Chef and owner of Essence Bakery Cafe in Arcadia will be the guest chef at the restaurant’s Sunday Supper Club in August. The four-course dinner is set for August 14th at 6 p.m. and is paired with wine. Seats are $189++ per person and can be reserved here.

Sardinia’s food featured at Queen Creek Olive Mill’s dinner

The Italian region’s flavors and foods will be on prepared for August’s Tavalo dinner. Thursday August 18th from 6:30 -9:30 p.m. guests will dine on a 6-course’s with optional wine pairings. Much of the ingredients are locally sourced including from Golden Rule Dairy in Elfrida. Dinner is $124.99 per person and wine pairings are an additional $39.99. Reservations can be made here.

Caffe Vita opens tomorrow with FREE oat milk lattes.

The Seattle based coffee roaster opens its first Arizona location in the former Easley’s Fun Shop at 5th Ave. & McDowell Rd. Lattes will be available from 7 a.m. – 6p.m. Read more about the opening and more here.

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.

Nattha’s Bann Thai Asian opens at former Peking Palace in Tucson

Husband and wife Nattha and Eric Post both grew up around food, she in Thailand and he in Tucson. Both attended Blue Elephant and Napali cooking schools in Thailand and have worked in restaurants in their native countries. They’ve now opened Nattha’s Bann Thai Asian, bringing authentic Thai and Cantonese Chinese cuisine to Tucson.

“Nattha’s Bann Thai Asian is a labor of love and an opportunity for us to invite the dining community in to taste the result of our passion for and dedication to serving authentic Asian cuisine that is approachable and delicious,” says Eric. “We want people to enjoy the experience of trying new things but also feel comfortable eating the familiar dishes they love.”

Tam “Sam” Quan is the executive chef serving a wide variety of “AppeThaizers”, soups, Thai curries & rice and more. Dishes include Yum Nua (grilled beef salad), Yum Woon Sen (glass noodle salad with shrimp and ground pork); soups like Tom Kha (coconut milk) and Tom Sabb (pork ribs); Thai curries including red, green, yellow, mussaman, panang and more; Thai noodle stir fries such as Pad Thai and Pad Kee Mao (drunken noodle); Thai rice stir fries like Pad Prik King (with crispy pork belly) and Pad Krathim (garlic chicken). They serve beer, wine and cocktails along with Thai teas.

Nattha came to the U.S. in 2018 and hopes to be a citizen soon and has worked in several local restaurants. Eric, a practicing attorney learned to cook from his Italian mother and worked at Tucson’s Kipple’s Pizza Parlour. Nattha’s Bann Thai Asian is at 6970 E. 22nd St. Tucson 85710. Hours are Monday – Saturday from 11 a.m. – 8 p.m. Visit their website for more information.

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.

Sid’s Garage bringing high energy vibe to Desert Ridge Marketplace

Phoenix is getting a new burger restaurant when Sid’s Garage starts serving high intensity burgers, cocktails with an attitude on May 15th. With 2 locations in Idaho, owners Nicole and Will Primavera bring their industrial vibe to The District next to AMC theatres where guests will also enjoy adult games, an outdoor patio and a private dining room for group events.

Get ready to chow down on burgers, award-winning cocktails and boozy shakes not for the faint of heart. Burgers include the Boss Hog Burger – half-pound Wagyu and Black Angus Snake River Farm beef patty, 48-hour roasted pork belly, onion rings with scratch-made Sriracha-bourbon sauce or Sid’s version of Bacon and Eggs – four pieces of candied bacon suspended above two flash-fried deviled eggs with a honey mustard dipping reduction.

Enjoy favorite cocktails and shakes such as the Velvet Revolver made with vodka, tyku, lime, muddled cucumber and sriracha; the 420 shake has crumbled Oreo, vanilla ice cream with a buttercream rimmed glass and a huge dark chocolate ice cream sandwich; the Fat Elvis shake includes a peanut butter rim, raspberry jam, vanilla bean ice cream, crunch berries and a full size strawberry short cake bar.

Sid’s Garage will be open daily at 11 a.m. until  9 p.m. Sunday – Thursday and until 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday. 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.

Humble Bistro opening second location in Gilbert

East Valley residents will soon have a new restaurant to visit as Humble Bistro will be opening at Val Vista and Williams Field Rds. This will be the neighborhood eateries and marketplace’s first East Valley locations with the first at North Phoenix’s High Street and a Humble Pie in the Happy Valley neighborhood. Guests can expect house-made pastas, artisanal pizzas, wines from around the world and more from Chef and Partner Jorge Gomez.

“We’re beyond thrilled to open our new concept in one of the hottest communities in the East Valley,” says Gomez. “The freshly renovated space will feature the signature Humble Bistro charm with the inclusion of the marketplace and coffee bar. A visit to Humble Bistro is not just a meal, it’s an experience. We think these additions will add to that.”

Guests can dine for lunch, brunch, happy hour and dinner while enjoying the atmosphere of a European bistro. Classic Italian and American dishes will give guest a diversity of menu options. The marketplace will offer Humble made pastas, pizza dough and breads along with wine and other food products from artisan producers. There will be an ice cream bar and top quality meats and cheeses will be imported from Spain and Italy.

The restaurant will cover 5,000 square feet with a 1,500 square foot patio and the decor will be similar to the other location. An early Spring opening is planned. Humble Bistro will be at 1524 E. Williams Field Rd. Gilbert 85295. For more information and to stay updated on the opening visit their website.

Pyro to be first restaurant at The Grove

The intersection at 44th St. & Camelback Rd. has always been one of the busiest in Phoenix and will get even busier when the mixed-used development The Grove opens later this year. The first restaurant to announce it will open there will be the Japanese bistro Pyro from Omaha-based Flagship Restaurant Group.

“The Flagship Restaurant Group team and I are very excited to bring Pyro to The Grove,” said Nick Hogan, CEO and co-founder of Flagship Restaurant Group. “We felt that it was the right time to bring our brand-new concept to this location, as there is much development taking place in-market and residents and travelers in Phoenix are always looking for the right mix of creativity coupled with responsibly-sourced fare. Everything we serve our guests is fully transparent, from the farms the vegetables come from to the areas where each of our fish is sourced. We are looking forward to another new chapter in the city.”

Flagship’s other concepts in Phoenix are Châm Pang Lanes, Palma and Ghost Donkey in the Roosevelt Row Arts District.

What to expect at Pyro

When opened Pyro will be 4,200 square feet including large outdoor patio with an open hearth and full bar. The restaurant uses an open flame for cooking sustainably sourced seafood and proteins. The fire will give each dish its own unique layers of flavor and texture. The cocktail bar will offer classic and signature cocktails from a wide variety of spirits and wine.

“The Grove is dedicated to bringing innovative and exclusive dining options to the Valley with a sophisticated flair,” said Mike Ebert, managing partner at RED Development. “Pyro is setting the standard for the caliber of culinary offerings we’ll be welcoming at The Grove, we couldn’t be more honored to announce an original concept as the first restaurant to call it home.”

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

Cory Oppold to Course it out later this year

Chef Cory Oppold has been working on his restaurant concept since 2016 and if all goes as planned Fall of 2022 Course will become a reality. Serving dinner, Course will be a hyper-seasonal 5 and 8-9 course dining experience changing menus every two to three months. There will be cocktail program but his focus will be on wine pairings to compliment his cooking.

“This has been a long process for me and almost an obsession to make it work. The pandemic was actually what kind of kick started Course. During the shutdown I started a smaller company called “Simmer Down”. The menu was driven to be extremely easy for the guest to make as most or part of the meal was pre-made but sealed in Cryovaced pouches for easy heat up and clean up. More importantly it was designed to be safe alternative at that time of the pandemic for delicious food that was easily delivered to the public”.

The cooking philosophy of Cory Oppold

Cory studied at the Scottsdale Culinary Institute and built his reputation as Executive Chef at Atlas Bistro. He credits other valley restaurants including Binkley’s, Tarbell’s and Different Pointe of View as shaping his cooking philosophy. It wasn’t until he started teaching at Le Cordon Bleu that his philosophy made sense. “In order to teach you have to research and learn for yourself. This was the time period in my life that I really started to understand my approach to food.”

His philosophy is vegetable driven and believes Mother Nature is the “greatest menu writer”. “I approach each ingredient as to take as much care of it as possible. There is no ranking system in ingredients importance – The carrot is just as important as the caviar or lobster tail. I try to create the complexity of a dish from multiple simplistic items allowing each component of a dish to be pure and a direct representation of itself.”

Until Course is ready to open he will continue his in-home dining where he prepares 6-7 course meals. Cory loves the intimacy of cooking for people in their homes but the menu’s lack consistency so he felt a brick and mortar restaurant was needed. Course will be in the “Restaurant District” of East Shea Village on Shea Blvd. just east of Scottsdale Rd. For more information and to book Cory Oppold for an in home dining experience visit his website.

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