Mr. Pickles opens its first Arizona location with more to come

Last week the popular California sandwich shop Mr. Pickles opened its first Arizona location in Scottsdale at Shea and Scottsdale Rd. The mom & pop restaurant was founded in 1995 by Frank and Michelle Faugudes who decided to retire and sold it in 2020 to Arizona resident Mike Nelson. The quick service restaurant is known for hot and cold sandwiches served on any of 10 breads and wraps.

Nelson is a longtime customer who is Chief Executive Officer and has over 30 years’ experience as an owner/ operator of restaurants including Wingstop, Subway and Carl’s Jr. franchises nationwide.

Hot and cold sandwiches at Mr. Pickles

The Scottsdale restaurant offer all the favorite sandwiches including the Mr. Pickle, which is chicken breast, bacon, Monterey jack, avocado and the works as it relates to veggies; the Santa Maria Tri-Tip, which is actual tri-tip sourced from the famed Santa Maria region topped with specialty barbecue sauce and the works.

Two new sandwiched have debuted at the new location; Listen Linda is named after Nelson’s wife of 36 years and is piled high with turkey breast, avocado, bacon, Swiss cheese and the works – including our specialty garlic sauce. Della’s Deli, honors Wilson’s business partner, best friend and Mr. Pickle’s president Dean Johnson’s wife of more than 40 years. It features turkey breast, ham, salami, cheddar, and the works. A wide section of chips, sides and of course a jumbo whole dill pickle are available and each sandwich, salad or wrap comes with a FREE chocolate chip cookie.

“Since 1995, Mr. Pickle’s has been a premier sandwich shop specializing in innovative and craveworthy sandwiches, salads and catering,” says Nelson, “During its first three decades, thanks to its community culture, incredible recipes, and all its fans, the brand grew from one to 56 locations across northern California. We look forward to building this brand that now calls Arizona home, as well as helping grow it nationwide in the years to come.”

Continuing to grow

Important to Nelson is its close knit relationships with its vendors and the company continues to grow. “We partner with as many artisan bakers, regional farms and ranches that we can when sourcing our products, making every item unique to us,” says Nelson, who spent the past year bringing the business into the digital age and investing in technology that will propel the brand forward nationwide. “You will not see six-inch and foot-long sizing from us, more specialty breads than uniform options.”

Nelson plans to open locations in Chandler, Laveen, Queen Creek, Surprise and a second location in Scottsdale in the next 18 months. Up to 20 locations are expected to open in California in the next 7 years. Mr. Pickles also relocated it headquarters to North Scottsdale last year and kept its franchisee support center in California.

The restaurant is at 10701 N. Scottsdale Road and is open Monday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. and on Sundays from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

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 from the Phoenix restaurant community

Events & news about what’s going on around the Phoenix restaurant community, breweries and wineries.

Free bowl of menudo on New Year’s Day

All 35 Food City locations in Arizona celebrate National Menudo Month and National Hangover Day January 1st 2023 with a free bowl of menudo. The popular hangover remedy is available from 9-11 a.m. in the deli for dine-in only.

Famous 48 now serving lunch & weekend brunch

The standalone restaurant in the Shops at Gainey Ranch in Scottsdale is now serving lunch 7 days a week starting at 11 a.m. Saturday & Sunday brunch starts at 10:30 a.m. until 3:00p.m.

Sunday Funday taco specials at Urban Margarita

Every Sunday from 1:30 p.m. til closing the Glendale restaurant has street tacos for only $2 each. Choose from grilled steak, chicken or carnitas and don’t forget the margarita to wash them down.

Batch Cookie Shop coming to Queen Creek in 2023

The family owned cookie shop in Gilbert announced its second location will be coming to Queen Creek this summer. It will be in front of the new Costco at Rittenhouse and Ellsworth Rds. More details will be available as they get closer to opening day.

OpenTable names local restaurants Top 100 Restaurants in America in 2022

Steak 44, Ocean 44 and Dominick’s Steakhouse in Phoenix and Scottsdale have been named to the prestigious list. All 3 restaurants are owned by father and sons Dennis, Michael & Jeff Mastro and partner Scott Trolio. The list is curated from over 13 million customer reviews on the website from October 31st 2021- September 30th 2022. Also making the list from Arizona is Mariposa in Sedona and The Henry in Phoenix.

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

“Pink Out” coming back to Serrano’s Mexican Restaurants

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and the anniversary of the passing of Serrano’s Mexican Restaurants co-owner and former Chandler City Council member Stephanie Serrano. In Stephanie’s memory and to raise money for local non-profit Check for a Lump the family owned restaurant is hosting the 4th Annual “Pink Out” on Saturday, October 15th. All four locations will participate with the Chandler location hosting the non-profit’s RV for free mammograms.

“We all miss Stephanie and know that she would be proud of us aligning with a nonprofit like Check for a Lump to provide life-saving education and testing for breast cancer,” said Ric Serrano, CEO of Serrano’s Mexican Restaurants. “Anything we can do to help prevent other families from facing this battle is worthy of our support, so we’re especially encouraged to have the mobile mammography unit at our Chandler location this year.”

Pink out
Pink Out Margarita Sampler

“Pink Out” specials for October

If you wear pink on the 15th to any location you will get a free order of pink sprinkled buñuelos for dessert. If you can’t make it by on the for the “Pink Out” stop in all month long to enjoy any or all of the three monthly specials with a portion of the proceeds getting donated to Check for a Lump.

Pink Out Margarita Sampler- $9.99 Get your pink on with our house raspberry, strawberry, passionfruit strawberry, and watermelon margaritas!

Stephanie’s Stacked Enchiladas- $12.99 Stephanie’s favorite! This gluten-free friendly dish includes corn tortillas, black beans and shredded chicken stacked high and covered in tomatillo sauce and cheese. Served with a side of your choice.

Homemade Apple Crumble- $7.99 Our apple crumble à la mode with caramel sauce and cinnamon sugar.

“We are grateful to Serrano’s Mexican Food Restaurant for hosting another fundraising event this year benefiting Check for a Lump to honor the memory of family member Stephanie Serrano who bravely fought breast cancer. Her blessed memory and event will help assist women in our community with life-saving mammograms, wigs and support. We appreciate the Serrano family and are privileged to share in Stephanie’s legacy. Cheers to treasuring memories of her with every dish served,” said Holly Rose, founder and chief executive director of Check for a Lump.

To schedule a free mammogram on the 15th call 480-967-3767.

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.

Corn Roast event at Queen Creek Olive Mill

Next Friday July 22nd those who love corn can feast on a corn curated menu prepared by Del Piero Kitchen and Di Olivia Bistro & Bar. BBQ Chicken & Roasted Corn Pizza, Fresh Corn Carbonara, Pulled Pork with Corn Salad and more will be available for purchase. Locally grown corn on the cob from Rousseau Farms will also be available along with live music and games. The fun starts at 3 p.m. and admission is free.

Eat Up Drive In now offers catering

Whether it’s a office party or family gathering the Arcadia fast casual restaurant offers menus for all tastes. Entrees, boxed lunches, salads, sides and desserts can be accommodated. Gluten-free, vegan and vegetarian options are also available. To order 602-441-4750.

Start the weekend early at Koibito Poke

Visit the Scottsdale Waterfront location on Thursday July 21st & 28th from 6 – 9 p.m. for $4 draft beers or $3 drafts with the purchase of a bowl. Happy hour is extended all night for $5 wine, sake & cider and $3 seltzers.

Maui Pasta serving Aloha Hawaiian Plates

What started as a virtual menu in December 2020 is now a second menu at the Gainey Ranch restaurant. Know for house made pasta, the Aloha menu became so popular they started serving it in the restaurant. Plate lunches including Loco Moco, Hawaiian BBQ, Kalua Pulled Pork and more come with a side of rice, macaroni salad or a green salad.

Organ Stop Pizza celebrates 50th anniversary

The Mesa restaurant that features live pipe organ entertainment with a side of pizza reaches a milestone this year. Every year over 300,000 diners visit the dinner only restaurant for fun and food from with a variety of tunes from the “Mighty Wurlitzer”. “Every visit to Organ Stop Pizza is unique with patrons hand picking the songs via request,” says co-owner Jack Barz. “By the end of the night, an eclectic mix of music is enjoyed by audience members ranging in age from two to 102.”

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

Serrano’s partners with the Arizona Rattlers for ticket giveaways

The 1st place Arizona Rattlers of the Indoor Football League (IFL) has partnered with Serrano’s Mexican Restaurants to be a Training Table Partner and in doing so Serrano’s will provide the team with catering and meal vouchers throughout the 2021 season.

For fans this means Serrano’s is giving away tickets for games via their Facebook and Instagram pages and their newsletter and a free Cheese Crisp via the Rattler’s Dine Out Maricopa Facebook page.

“The Arizona Rattlers Training Table partnership gives us an opportunity to showcase our Sonoran-style Mexican favorites to players and fans with hearty appetites,” said Ric Serrano, CEO of Serrano’s Mexican Restaurants. “The team has a history of big wins and we’re eager to give our fans a chance to win Rattlers tickets from us.”

In other Serrano’s news they have closed all their locations on Sunday’s and Monday’s due to the labor shortage and those looking for a job can see their website for job openings. July’s food and drink specials include……..

Drink of the Month: Strawberry Passion Fruit Margarita, Cool down with a twist on a favorite. $6.99

Appetizer of the Month: Shrimp Cocktail Tostaditas, Shrimp, diced red onions, tomatoes and chiles mixed with our custom blend of sauces and spices. Topped with house-made guacamole, queso fresco and cilantro. Served on three miniature tostadas. $9.99

Salad of the Month: Al Pastor Citrus Salad, Fresh romaine, al pastor-marinated chicken, orange and grapefruit segments, queso fresco, cilantro and Tajin-roasted pepitas. Paired with a house-made citrus vinaigrette. $12.99

Entrée of the Month: Al Pastor Chicken Fajitas, Chicken breast strips immersed in our house al pastor marinade with onions, green chiles and red bell peppers seasoned to perfection and served on a sizzling platter. $13.99 (Add a side of your choice for $2.99)

Dessert of the Month: Apple Pie Frita, An All-American favorite with a twist! House-made apple pie and cheesecake filling folded into a tortilla and deep fried. Topped with cinnamon sugar and caramel drizzle. $5.99

Visit Mesa launches Fresh Foodie Trail Geotour for socially distanced fun

Visit Mesa launched an exciting socially distant way for foodies and families to learn about the East Valley’s agrotourism community. The popular activity, Geocaching is part scavenger hunt part education and the new Fresh Foodie Trail Geotour will take you to 8 local farms, orchards and businesses. At each location geocachers will collect limited edition stickers and find all 10 geocaches for Fresh Foodie Trail Geotour recipes, a Visit Mesa branded wooden spoon and a digital souvenir from www.geocaching.com

Geo Tour stops include Jalapeno Bucks BBQ, Agritopia, Schnepf Farms, Queen Creek Olive Mill and other area farms.

Want to take a few days to enjoy your geotour, consider the Escape to Mesa vacation package before it ends. The promotion is open to Arizona residents who book a 2 night stay at a Mesa hotel. The package includes $150 in incentives and runs through the end of December. Visit http://www.escapetomesa.com/ for more information.

Mediterranean diet favorite dishes return to Pita Jungle

For the last 25 years Pita Jungle has been serving up healthy Mediterranean diet inspired dishes. Many customers have their favorite’s over the years but they tend to come and go with seasons. As part of their Seasonal Kitchen Crafts Menu they’ve brought back many fan favorites from the past.

All 23 locations throughout Arizona are serving dishes with a balance of Mediterranean diet and global cuisine. The menu is popular with all dietary needs including keto, paleo, vegan and gluten-free. The seasonal menu will be available thru the rest of the year. Dishes include……

  • Cauliflower Hummus (V) – cauliflower, tahini, garlic, evoo, lemon juice, cucumbers, pita (gluten free with blue corn chips).
  • All Veggie Pita Pocket – avocado, baby greens, seasonal mixed greens, tomatoes, cucumbers, bell peppers, red onion, sprouts, tabbouleh, lemon vinaigrette, in a pita pocket, severed with tahini (vegan with no tabbouleh, gluten-free with gluten-free pita upcharge).
  • Bone Broth Ramen with Shirataki Noodles (GF) – beef bone broth, with miso, kimchi, red onion, gluten-free soy sauce, garlic and ginger, shirataki noodles, spinach, green onions.
  • Ginger Stir Fry with Shirataki Noodles (GF) – stir-fried fresh vegetables and kimchi, shirataki noodles, spicy ginger sauce, beef bone broth, fresh cilantro, fresh mint, pea sprouts (vegan with no kimchi and no beef broth).

    Mediterranean
    Ginger Stir Fry with Shirataki Noodles
  • Wood-Fired Medchilada (GF) – savory garlic-cilantro chicken in a beef bone broth enchilada sauce, cheddar and feta, turmeric cauliflower rice, cabbage-kale super greens, fresh jalapenos, radish, pico de gallo, pine nuts, gluten-free pita.
  • Chicken Avocado Pita Tostada with Cauliflower Hummus – grilled and chopped marinated all-natural chicken breast, avocado, cilantro-avocado crema, tomatoes, cucumbers, pickled red onions, bell peppers, cauliflower hummus, feta, pine nuts, baby arugula, pea sprouts, chipotle vinaigrette, pita tostada or low-carb pita or gluten-free pita (vegetarian option without chicken.
  • Mediterranean Tuna Pita Pocket – albacore tuna, avocado, seasonal mixed greens, tomatoes, cucumbers, bell pepper, red onion, tabbouleh, lemon vinaigrette, pea sprouts, in a pita pocket.
  • Baklawa Bread Pudding sweetened with stevia and agave syrup.

To find a Pita Jungle near you head to their website.

Pink Out in honor of Stephanie Serrano of Serrano’s Mexican Restaurants

The Serrano family of Serrano’s Mexican Restaurants announced the passing of Stephanie Serrano On Thursday October 17th. Stephanie lost her 6 year battle with breast cancer peacefully and surrounded by family. In Stephanie’s memory the Serrano’s are holding a “Pink Out” on Wednesday October 30th for Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Her death comes just a few weeks after the family celebrated the 100th anniversary of the family’s business.

“She fought a courageous battle with breast cancer for more than six years and we are so proud of her courage and perseverance. Despite our sadness, our hearts are truly filled with gratitude to God for giving her to us. May she rest in peace,” said Theresa Serrano Keel, vice president of Serrano’s Mexican Restaurants and sister to Stephanie.

Stephanie was a young 65 years when she passed away. Born in Mesa, one of nine children to Ernie Sr. and Evangeline Serrano, Stephanie worked in the family’s retail stores and restaurants. She was an entrepreneur owning her own restaurants in Arizona and St. Louis. Active in her community she served on the Chandler City Council and the Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors.

A “Pink Out” was planned prior to her passing and guests wearing pink on the 30th will receive a FREE fried pink ice cream in her honor. The “Pink Out” will be at all 5 of the family’s restaurants in Mesa, Chandler, Tempe and Queen Creek.

Serrano’s celebrates 100 years in business with Centennial Fiesta

Serrano’s Mexican Restaurant celebrates 100 years of the family business with a week long celebration at their 5 locations. There will be a week’s worth of food and drink specials and a Centennial Fiesta.

The family business started in September 1919 when there were less 1,000 people living in Chandler. At first the family business was as a retailer with The Serrano Brothers Popular Family Store and switched to Mexican restaurants in 1979 as department stores and indoor shopping malls gained popularity.

“The Serrano family is ingrained in Chandler’s history,” said Chandler Mayor Kevin Hartke. “Their entrepreneurial spirit, hard work, dedication and family pride has sustained them throughout these past 100 years. We honor their strong ties to the community and their heart of service as they celebrate this incredible milestone.”Centennial Fiesta

To celebrate the 100th anniversary, the week of September 16th will offer specials at all 5 locations.

  • Monday, 9/16:$1.00 Margarita Monday 10 oz. house margarita
  • Tuesday, 9/17:$1.00 Taco Tuesday (street taco or shredded beef/chicken crunchy taco)
  • Wednesday, 9/18:$1.00 Hump Day Heavenly Bites
  • Thursday, 9/19: $1.00 Throwback Thursday (shredded beef or chicken taco, rice and beans entree)*
  • Friday, 9/20: $1.00 Fried Ice Cream Friday
  • Saturday, 9/21: $1.00 Cerveza Saturday 10 oz. draft Mexican beer

*Limit of one special per person; all specials are dine-in only

Centennial Fiesta

On Thursday the 19th at the Chandler location the family will celebrate with a Centennial Fiesta. Guest will be treated to $1.00 shredded beef and chicken tacos and beans and rice. At 7 p.m. there’s a taco eating contest with local mayors, fire and police representatives competing for $1,000 grand prize donated to the 100 Club of Arizona. There will also be face-painting for the kids and raffles and prizes.

“Our family has seen our fair share of changes and challenges over the years, but we have always been able to adapt. Today, our business model is centered around the values we hold most dear – faith, family and food,” said Ric Serrano, president and CEO of Serrano’s Mexican Restaurants. “We look forward to celebrating this big milestone with our loyal customers and we invite new customers to come give us a chance. You can be sure we’ll be breaking out our famous bean dip!”

In addition Serrano’s will be collection new children’s books and stuffed animals for the W. Steven Martin Police and Fire Toy Drive. Anybody who donates a book or stuffed animal in September receives a voucher for a FREE fried ice cream.

In September the Serrano Centennial Sampler will be on special for $10 and $1 of every sale will go to the 100 Club of Arizona. The Sampler offers classic dishes including machaca, shredded chicken, green chile beef and red chile beef served with warm tortillas, rice and beans.

Visit their website for more information and to find a Serrano’s near you.

 

Free Sriracha at Pita Jungle Saturday on June 29th.

I personally don’t see the fuss over Sriracha but I know there is a cult like following for the hot sauce. Pita Jungle is giving away a free bottle of their own labeled Sriracha on Saturday June 29th. The day commemorates when Pita Jungle opened its first location in Tempe and the hottest day on record in Arizona. The year was 1994 and the heat made it up to 128 degrees that day.

Visit any Pita Jungle location except Sky Harbor, Scottsdale Fashion Square and Grand Canyon University from open to close and spend $40 to get your free bottle. You must mentioned that promotion and dine-in to receive your bottle. There is a 1 bottle limit per tab.

Pita Jungle started producing their own line of Sriracha in 2018 and offer three flavors Red, Green and Ghost. You can purchase bottles at all 21 locations for $5.99 each.

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