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.

Fall Harvest Dinner at Agritopia with The TLC eXperience

Reserve your seats for a multi-course farm to table dinner under the stars in the orchard on Friday November 5th. Limited seats are available for Chef Tom and his culinary team’s menu with Agritopia grown produce and other locally sourced ingredients. Seats are $150 per person for the 6 p.m. start.

Frog’s Leap wine dinner at Tommy V’s Urban Kitchen

Thursday October 28th the downtown Scottsdale restaurant hosts a 5 course dinner paired with the Napa Valley’s acclaimed wines. Ravioli, risotto, short rib and more for $100++ per person. Dinner starts at 6:30 p.m. and the menu and pairings can be found here.

Dominick’s Steakhouse to donate sales of dinners on October 25th

This Monday night the Scottsdale restaurant will donate 100% of the proceeds from the sale of 200 dinners to the Make-A-Wish Arizona. Make-A-Wish was founded in Phoenix and grants wishes to seriously ill children. For more information and to make a reservation visit their website.

Free pizza or salad for National First Responders Day

Fired Pie is giving all active duty police officers and firefighters a free meal all day on Thursday October 28th. Show your badge at any location so the locally owned chain can say “Thank you”.

Buzzed Bull Creamery hiring fair in Scottsdale.

Arizona’s first Buzzed Bull is looking to hire enthusiastic team members for their new Scottsdale location on Wednesday October 27th from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. Must be 19 years old, have reliable transportation, be willing to use a hand help POS system and more. Be prepared to interview on site at 7135. E Camelback Rd.

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.

Italian Association of Arizona brings a taste of Italy to Scottsdale

Scottsdale City Hall will be the place to be on Saturday, November 6th if you like Italian wine and pizza. The Italian Association of Arizona presents the first annual Italian Pizza & Wine Festival as a preview of the Italian Festival coming on February 27th & 28th 2022. In addition to pizza & wine, the family friendly festival will offer imported beer, Italian sandwiches and plenty of entertainment and Italian culture.

Francesco Guzzo, Executive Director of the Italian Association of Arizona, said: “We want to give families an opportunity to come out this Fall, and simply have fun for a day outside, and eat what might be Italy’s most popular food, pizza!”

Fabio on Fire, Bored Baker Pizza Maker and Ri de Roma are a few tossing fresh handmade pizza. Hand crafted sandwiches and other Italian foods will be available for purchase from Sogno Toscano and Lulu’s Sorbetto. Classico Fine Wines will be pouring tastes of Italian wines and Peroni & craft beers will be available for beer drinkers. Street musicians, face painters, live music and more will entertain festival goers all day.

“And anything worth celebrating in Italy comes with fantastic wines, and beer – Peroni!  Add the excellent Italian and Italian-American musical entertainment, some roving acts for the kids, and it lends the perfect excuse to come out and support our fabulous Italian pizza makers.” says Guzzo.

The Italian Pizza & Wine Festival goes from 12:00- 9:00 p.m. and tickets are $10 online and $15 at the door. Children under 12 are free and there is a 20% discount for Italian Association members. All proceeds go to the association.

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.

 

T-Mobile presents the 6th Annual Phoenix Pizza Festival

Pizza lovers will have twice as much pizza to chow down on next month when the popular Phoenix Pizza Festival returns to Margaret T. Hance Park. Thanks to the new sponsor T-Mobile the festival will be both Saturday and Sunday November 13 & 14 and will expand its boundaries to the streets around the park. Sunday was added as a limited amount of tickets for each day will be available and the additional space was needed to give room for social distancing.

The festival returns after a two year absence with 15-20 pizza makers, dessert food trucks, related food vendors, lawn games and live bands. Slices of pizza will sell for $2-$4 and full pies will be sold from the likes of La Piazza Al Forno, Freak Brothers, Into the Fire, Bored Baker and others. Many of the pizza makers are private caterers or food trucks so the festival may be the best way to taste their pizza. A bar featuring Mule 2.0 will serve cocktails, Bogle wines will be poured as will New Belgium Brewing beers and locally owned State 48 Brewing Co.

The Phoenix Pizza Festival presented by T-mobile is again partnering with Downtown Phoenix Inc. The organization helps promote and re-vitalize downtown Phoenix through events and local business’s. Tickets for the festival can be purchased online only and are $12 per ticket. The festival starts at 11 a.m. each day and goes until 5 p.m. on Saturday and 4 p.m. on Sunday.

Crust Simply Italian to open 3rd location with more planned

Authentic Italian food continues to be one of the most popular segments of the restaurant industry and its going to continue if Mike Merendino has his way. He’s the owner of Crust Simply Italian, the restaurant he started in 2007 in Scottsdale. Merendino, a first generation Italian-American plans to open his third location in mid-2022 in Gilbert with as many as 8 more around Arizona.

He opened a second location, in downtown Chandler location a few years back along with The Ostrich, his speakeasy cocktail bar which will also open in Gilbert. The Ostrich serves classic cocktails such as an Old Fashioned and an Aviation along with creative signature cocktails as well.

Crust Simply Italian
Owner Mike Merendino. Photos courtesy of J. Martin Harris Travel & Leisure Photography

Merendino knows what it takes to run an Italian restaurant as he grew up in his father’s pizzeria on New York’s Long Island. He attributes this to why he’s seen increased sales in the last year as other restaurants have struggled. A wide variety of dishes on the menu with many entrees under $20 is one of the reasons for Crust Simply Italian’s success. “We took off some of the higher-end menu items and focused on what we do well: chicken Parmesan, pizza and lasagna,” Merendino said. “We also really stepped up our salads and lighter Italian fare.” The restaurant also caters private parties and corporate events which has also helped the restaurants bottom line.

Merendino gives credit to his investors who believed in him and gave him the resources to hire and train a great staff who he treats like family. Without those investors and their confidence he doesn’t feel he’d be able to expand to more locations in the coming years. Crust Simply Italian opens daily at 11 a.m. and The Ostrich opens at 6 p.m. during the week and at 5 p.m. on Friday and is closed on Monday’s. The Gilbert location will be at the corner of Williams Field and Recker Roads.

 

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 Fall menu at Hearth ’61

The signature restaurant at Mountain Shadows Resort is now offering its new menu from Chef de Cuisine Alfred Muro. If you’re dining for brunch (Greek Toast w/ poached eggs & Feta, Green Chile Pork Torta) or dinner (Duroc Farms Pork Chop or H ’61 Angliotti w/ short ribs) you know it going to be good. Those and more dishes and new desserts are now available.

GenuWino Appreciation Day Sunday at GenuWine

The downtown Phoenix wine bar is giving wine drinkers an opportunity to join their wine club this Sunday 10/10. Come down to visit between 1 – 6 p.m. and if you sign-up before there is no cost for the day and $15 if you choose not to join. Wine samples and Dough Riders Food Truck will be enjoyed. Members get 2 bottles of wine and an Arizona made gift each month along with 15% off when you visit.

Nonna Urban Kitchen offers new 3-course menu

The Old Town Scottsdale restaurant has updated its menu to highlight seasonal ingredients. Guest can pick from 6 choices in each first and second courses and 3 from the dessert menu. Cost is $48 per person plus tax & gratuity. To see the full menu offerings and to make reservation visit their website.

Fired Pie partners with Special Olympics Arizona for the rest of the year.

Guests visiting the fast casual pizzeria can donate $5 to the non-profit sports organization that works with people with disabilities. In return donors will have a placard with their name at the location until the end of 2021.

PHX Beer Co. launches first Oktoberfest beer

The local brewery released its first Oktoberfest ($16) beer coincides with other new seasonal releases including Howling Oats Hazy IPA ($16) and North Rim Hazy IPA ($17). All three are in limited supply and come in 16 oz 4-pack cans and on tap at the brewers Phoenix taproom and Scottsdale restaurant while supplies last.

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.

Cooper’s Hawk Winery opens 2nd Arizona location

The one stop wine shop, tasting bar & full service restaurant open their 2nd location in Chandler next Monday September 27th. It’s their second location to open in less than a year as they opened in north Scottsdale in December 2020. See my Instagram for my sneak peek tour and tasting.

Today is Press Coffee’s “Day of Giving”

The locally owned coffee roaster & cafe is looking to raise $25,000 at its 8 valley locations today. This annual event is raising money for Southwest Autism Research & Resource Center (SARRC) and is donating 100% of today’s profits from on-line & in-store sales with other valley businesses offering to match Press’s donation.

Wren House Brewing beer pairing dinner at Liberty Tavern next week.

The tavern & smokehouse location at Terravita hosts a dinner with the local brewer’s craft beers paired with chef crafted dishes. On the evening of Wednesday, September 29th guests will enjoy 4 -courses that include Beer Battered Fish & Chips, Smoked Brisket Mole and more for $55++. Reservations are required and space is limited. Visit their website for more information.

Fired Pie is holding a hiring fair September 29th

The expanding fast casual pizzeria is looking to hire 2-3 people at each of its 21 locations around Phoenix and is welcoming people to come in and apply & interview next Wednesday. Back & front of the house, managers and shift leaders have openings and those interested can head to any location from 1:30- 6 p.m. on the 29th. Pay is up to $15/ hour plus $45 bonus after 45 days on the job. Shift meals and other benefits are are offered.

The Italian Daughter launches new dinner menu

The newish Italian restaurant in north Scottsdale has added several new dishes to it extensive menu. Look for dishes such as Prosciutto Wrapped Shrimp, Sicilian Seafood Salad, A Mozzarella Tasting Board, a 12 oz. Chicken Breast Marsala & Short Rib Porcini Ravioli and more.

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.

Grimaldi’s Pizzeria launches new menu

Earlier this week the locally owned pizzeria group debuted its new Fall seasonal menu. Buffalo Chicken Pizza, Green Apple Sangria, Caramel Apple Cheesecake and a Vodka Peach Mule are just a few of the new dishes & cocktails available until December 6th.

Creamistry to open first West Valley location

The ice cream shop that uses liquid nitrogen to make their delicious desserts opens at Park West, Saturday September 18th. Customers who show up between 12 – 2 p.m to the Peoria’s Park West entertainment center get a free small ice cream. There are 2 other locations in Gilbert and Scottsdale, no free ice cream though.

Don’t forget National Hamburger Day Saturday

The popular comfort food is being celebrated September 18th around town with specially made burgers at Hopdoddy Burger Bar and other burger joints around Phoenix.

Romeo’s Euro Cafe 3rd Tuesday wine dinner is happening

3 courses paired with wines from New Zealand and California at Romeo’s monthly dinner is next Tuesday the 21st. Reservations are needed for dinner at the downtown Gilbert restaurant. Dinner is $39 per person.

Arizona Restaurant Week starts tonight

For the next 10 nights, restaurants feature specially created 3 course menus at $33, $44 or $55. 150+ restaurants are participating the Fall 2021 culinary event. Reservations are highly recommended and a full list of restaurants and their menus can be found at their website. The Arizona Restaurant Association has partnered with the HonorHealth Foundation to raise money for Desert Mission Food Bank during the next 10 days.

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.

“Arizona Pizza” added to new Fall menu at Famous 48 Local Kitchen & Bar

The Shops at Gainey Ranch’s Famous 48 Local Kitchen & Bar has announced several changes to its operation including adding Arizona Pizza to the menu. One of the new changes is that the restaurant will open at 10 a.m. on Saturdays and Sunday’s so football fans can catch all the action.

The 4 new Arizona Pizzas are 12 inch thin and crispy crusts and use a mozzarella and provolone cheese blend. A cauliflower crust is also available with the 4 pizzas being…..

·         Margherita. Grilled tomato, basil, extra virgin olive oil

·         The Famous 48. Pepperoni, sausage, onion

·         Nacho Mama. Ground beef, shredded lettuce, pico de gallo, taco sauce, blend of cheddar-jack cheese, crumbled Nacho Cheese Doritos®

·         BBQ Chicken Pizza. BBQ Sauce, provolone, chicken, red onion, cilantro

“We like to keep our menus fresh and we’ll always offer Arizona favorites.  That’s the inspiration for the four pizzas on this new menu at Famous 48,” said Robert Wagner, executive chef, of Famous 48 and sister restaurant, Cold Beers & Cheeseburgers. “We aim to please and we’re happy the neighborhood enjoys our great food.”

With the new pizza’s come a special happy hour deal every Monday -Friday from 3 – 6 p.m. Guests can enjoy a Arizona Pizza and bottle of red or white house wine for only $25. To end your meal, they’ve also added a new option to a favorite dessert. The skillet cookie option of white chocolate macadamia, caramel sauce with vanilla bean ice cream joins a classic chocolate chip cookie skillet with vanilla ice cream.

Famous 48 is at 8989 N Scottsdale Rd #608, Scottsdale, AZ 85253. 480-941-0101. Check out their website for the full menu and more.

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.

Celebrate the 1st TLC Experience dinner of the season

Chef Tom‘s birthday is fast approaching and you can celebrate with him at the first dinner of the Fall season. Sunday September 19th at a private home in Paradise Valley is where the 4 hour dinner will take place. As always the evening’s menu is a surprise but you know it’s going to be good, sourcing from local farms and artisan food makers. Become a member of the EXperince and get more details here.

Labor Day Weekend deals at restaurants around Phoenix

Celebrate at home with a Hopdoddy Burger Bar DIY Burger Kit, Family Packs at Miracle Mile Deli for pick-up, take-out or delivery. Other deals at Dave & Busters at Tempe Marketplace, STK Steakhouse, 50% of cheese pizza on Sunday 9/5 National Pizza Day at Fired Pie, a free domestic draft beer with purchase at Comic X, Slices get 2 large slices & drink for $7.99. BBQ style meals for catering family meals or individual meals from EAT by Stacey Weber. In downtown Phoenix head to Palomar at Kimpton Hotel as they are offering 5-7-9 Happy Hour from 4-6 p.m. $5 beers, $7 glasses of wine & $9 Old Fashioneds with bites to eat from $5-$7.

Ingo’s Tasty Food now open in downtown Phoenix

As mentioned in May the 2nd location of the popular hangout at Block 23 at 101 E. Washington St. across from Chase Field and the Footprint Center. An all-day menu and LGO pastries are served Monday – Friday starting at 7 a.m. with Saturday and Sunday hours coming soon.

The Good Food Film Series new line-up announced

Local First Arizona has announced the next 3 films in the series focusing on the Arizona food community. The Fall film series showcases films dealing with how we heal the earth & how we can connect to the land. The Trail of Arizona Dairy (releasing on Sept. 14), Food as Medicine (releasing on Oct. 12),Farming as a Revolutionary Act for Food Sovereignty (releasing on Nov. 9).

11th annual AZ Taco Festival postponed til 2022

Organizers decided to pause the popular food festival as the Delta variant of Covid-19 is takings its toll. The festival is now re-scheduled April 9th & 10th 2022 and the regularly schedule 2022 taco festival is still scheduled only 6 months later on October 22nd & 23rd 2022. All tickets purchased for the 2021 festival will be honored in April 2022. Head to their website for more information.

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.

Maynard J Keenan expands kitchen & hires chef at Scottsdale tasting bar

With the success and popularity of his Merkin Vineyards Osteria and Merkin Pizza Wagon in Cottonwood, owner & winemaker Maynard J Keenan gave the go head to expand his Merkin Vineyards Old Town Scottsdale tasting room. Keenan also hired Executive Chef Steve Zimmerman to take the helm of the new Morello Forni Cupola Dome wood-fired oven, imported from Italy and revamp the menu.

“Our dishes feature ingredients grown in our Northern Arizona greenhouses, gardens, and orchards, and we supplement with produce sourced from local Arizona growers,” said Maynard J Keenan. “Merkin Vineyards farm-to-table, vine-to-glass concept is the cornerstone of our success, and it’s a concept we intend to continue developing.”

The award-winning Zimmerman comes to Merkin Vineyards Old Town Scottsdale after a career in hotel restaurant management in his home state of Missouri and most recently at Tres Kitchen & Bar ion Tempe. “He’s the perfect culinary artist for our vision,” states Keenan.

The menu at Merkin Vineyards Old Town Scottsdale

The new menu includes ingredients from Merkins farm, citrus grove and orchard in the Verde Valley with additional ingredients sourced from local vendors and artisan producers. The new menu changes on a regular basis and includes many seasonal ingredients for its pizzas, pasta, salads and more. The Classic Margarita Pizza, the Calabrian with chorizo, schinken, bacon, calabrian chiles, fig jam and fontina cheese and the Crucifixen, features Merkin farm cruciferous veggies, roasted garlic, Parmesan spread, fresh mozzarella and fontina cheeses are part of the core menu.

Lasagna Cupcakes, gnocchi and Cacio e Pepe shows off Zimmerman’s creativity and attention to detail. Appetizers, charcuterie and few desserts round out the menu which can be paired with any of Merkin Vineyards Four 8 Wineworks and Caduceus wines along with their mead, cider and Puscifer sparkling wine. To see what I’ve tasted on several visits to Merkin Vineyards Old Town check out my Instagram feed.

Merkin Vineyards is located at 7133 E. Stetson Dr. Scottsdale 85251. Hours are Sunday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. on Friday and Saturday. For more information and to see the menu check out  merkinoldtownscottsdale.com.