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.

 

Chef Sacha Levine brings her cooking and philosophy to Singh Meadows Cafe

You probably tasted dishes Sacha Levine has prepared at restaurants FnB, Rancho Pinot Grille and Ocotillo and never knew it. Sacha is one of the most respected chefs in the Phoenix restaurant community that many have never heard of, until recently.

Levine runs the kitchen at Singh Meadows Cafe in Tempe where her locally sourced dishes available Friday, Saturday & Sunday’s from 8 a.m. – 2 p.m.

“I have been a huge proponent of local, seasonal, and vegetable-driven food for the bulk of my career,” said Levine. “Preservation has always been a staple for me. We keep the larder stocked with pickles, sauces, and ferments that are sold in the market as well as used in the kitchen.”

Dishes from Sacha Levine

Working alongside Levine in the kitchen is Carlos Carbajal and Kevin Dragos helping to prepare breakfast and lunch. The menu offers a variety of delicious meal attractive to vegetarians, vegans and those looking for gluten-free options.

When I was there one Saturday morning recently it was hard for me pass up the Smoked Brisket Breakfast sandwich.

All dishes are under $12 and include Kimchi Fried Rice with pork belly, Indian Breakfast Tacos and Huevos Rancheros. Taste of the Meadows offers ricotta, honeycomb, fresh fruit, dates, pistachios and grilled Noble Bread.

On my next visit I’m going to have to try the Jerk Turkey Tacos.

“Cooking at Singh Meadows is a sort of coming home for me,” added Levine. “Working at the farm as a young cook helped to define me in the kitchen today. I am close to the source of what I get most excited about in the kitchen – beautiful, local produce.”

In addition to the fresh flavor of Levine’s menu, Singh Meadows offers fresh pressed and squeezed juices and a coffee bar. Fresh produce from Singh Farms is available as is locally sourced foods.

Singh Meadows is at 1490 E. Weber Dr. Tempe 85281. http://www.facebook.com/SinghMeadows

 

 

Chicken is the main ingredient Chick-In on the ASU campus

Chicken is the #1 food trend for 2018 according to Nation’s Restaurant News which is great news for the local quick casual concept Chick-In. Located on the ASU campus in Tempe, Chick-In uses chicken as the main ingredient in its Mediterranean inspired cuisine with an emphasis on authentic Israeli dishes.

Owner Yariv Elazar is from Israel opened Chick-In in May of this year with head chef Maayan Glass who wanted to bring authentic dishes of his homeland to the ASU campus.  Israeli cuisine is #3 on the list of top food trends of 2018.Chicken The versatility of chicken as a protein and its affordability are two of the reasons it placed at the top of the list released in early November.

That versatility and affordability are evident on the menu at Chick-In with an assortment of sandwiches, platters, bowls along with vegan options as well. The restaurant also keeps kosher. All meals are made fresh to order and Grab & Go salads are made fresh daily.

Chick-In is in Wilson Hall at 24 E. Orange Mall Tempe 85281. 480-665-2185.  For hours and to see the menu visit their website.

 

New summer inspired sandwiches on the menu at Zookz

Central Phoenix’s Zookz Sandwiches added three new sandwiches to their menu this week with the hot summer months and lighter eating in mind. Whether you’ll be enjoying them for breakfast or lunch owner Carole Meyer’s goal is to please their loyal customers through their taste buds.

Zookz Egg white frittata sandwich. All photos courtesy of Carole Meyer

Zookz new sandwiches

The toasted and round sandwiches offer customers a mix of poultry, vegetables and dairy and flavors that are sweet, savory and spicy. The three new are….

Parmesan cheese topped with chicken marinated in honey balsamic vinaigrette and tossed with black beans, sweet corn, feta cheese and sunflower seeds. $8.50 (includes a side salad)

Parmesan cheese, egg white frittata topped with tomatoes, avocados and kale tossed in Zookz zinger sauce. $5.75

Zookz crunchy chicken salad with apples, cranberries and roasted almonds in Zookz sweet heat mustard sauce. $8.50 (includes a side salad)

Simple summer salads

Sandwiches aren’t the only menu items that are healthy and light made for summer eating. Their side salads are a fresh and tasty addition to each of the sandwiches, customers can choose from Garbanzo Bean salad with feta, roasted red peppers, green onion in a lemon zest yogurt dressing or Potato salad with black beans, green onion, corn and chipotle sauce. Even better is when you have both side salads as you meal to get maximum flavors.

Craving a sweet to end your meal try the new Caribbean Beet Cake. Yes beets, giving you a unique tropical flavor.

Zookz is in Uptown Plaza 100 E. Camelback Rd. (Camelback & Central Ave.) Phoenix 85012 and is open Mon. – Fri. 7 a.m. -4 p.m. and Sat. & Sun. 8 a.m.-4 p.m. https:/zookzsandwiches.com

 

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