Nowadays if you can figure out a successful recipe for running a restaurant the best way to maximize your potential is through expansion. That’s exactly what’s going on at Chesapeake Bay Bistro a year and half after opening in Ahwatukee. Unlike their brick and mortar location the owners opted to open their new location in a cloud kitchen inside the Tempe Food Court earlier this month. They’re not stopping there as third location will also be in a cloud kitchen in their former hometown of San Diego in January 2023.
“For restaurant owners, the past year has been challenging with staffing, higher prices for food supplies and rising costs for rent and utilities,” says James Brown, who co-owns the Ahwatukee-based bistro with his wife, Yolanda. “Adding locations through a food-court style expansion makes sense on many levels.”
Expansion into a cloud kitchen
Working in a cloud kitchen also gives them the opportunity to open new concepts without all the expenses of a brick and mortar location. That’s why the couple is planning to open a Creole/Cajun concept out of Tempe in 2023. Another reason for the expansion into cloud kitchens is CBB is seeing a lot of take-out from their Ahwatukee location.
“We believe that the food delivery model is the future and allows us to fulfill our customer base request,” said Brown said. “Sixty percent of our sales are call in or pickup now.” CBB works with several food delivery services to deliver the hot and fresh seafood dishes for delivery within 15 minutes.
To help alleviate some of the staffing issues of the past few years, the couple’s three grown sons have joined them in restaurants. One son will be running the new San Diego location in the Aztec Food Hub near the San Diego State University campus. The other two sons help out when mom and dad can’t be at the Ahwatukee location.
“Using cloud kitchen locations benefits small mom-and-pop restaurants like ours in several ways, allowing us to keep our labor and maintenance costs down,” Brown said.
The Tempe Food Court location is at 1900 E. 5th St. 85281, not far from the ASU campus and Tempe Marketplace. The Ahwatukee location is at 5033 E. Elliot Rd. Phoenix 85044. For more information visit their website or to order for delivery or takeout check out the delivery services.
The popular Ahwatukee seafood restaurant, Chesapeake Bay Seafood Bistro now lets guests bring in their own beer and wine to enjoy with lunch or dinner. The restaurant opened in June 2021 and caught on quickly with locals for its friendly service, selection of fresh seafood and reasonable prices.
Owners James and Yolanda Brown are no strangers to seafood having lived in Virginia before moving to San Diego for 30 years. They’re happy to have guests be able to bring in beer or wine during the hours of 12 -10 p.m. Corkage fees of $10 per 750 ml bottle of wine, $5 per 375 ml and $1 per can of beer offset the cost of glassware & labor and help keep food prices low.
“This allows our guests who would like to pair drinks with their food to have a gourmet experience at a fraction of the price of a fine dining restaurant,” Yolanda said. “We invite everyone to let us know which combinations work best so we can share suggestions with others.”
Since opening they’ve received a great review from the Arizona Republic dining critic Andi Berlin and in January their blue crabs landed on Phoenix Magazine’s 101 Best Dishes list. Daily seafood dishes run between $4.50 for tacos up to about $20 for plates for sandwiches, tacos, salads and plates. “Off the Grill” selections can be seasoned with Old Bay, garlic herb butter, teriyaki, lemon pepper and others. “Out of the fryer” dishes come seasoned with a light cornmeal batter. Side dishes include hush puppies, house-made Old Bay chips, corn on the cob, fried zucchini and more. They have live blue crabs flown in daily from Maryland during the season.
Chesapeake Bay Seafood Bistro is at 5033 E. Elliot Rd. Phoenix 85044 and is open Tuesday- Thursday from 11 a.m. – 7 p.m. and Friday & Saturday from 11 a.m. – 8 p.m. For more information check out their website.
When the Cala restaurant opens next week at the new Senna House hotel in Scottsdale it will have an all-star cast running the food, wine & cocktail programs. Celebrity chef and Food Network star Beau MacMillan serves as Culinary Director with Executive Chef Peter McQuaid Jr. returning to Phoenix to from Las Vegas where he opened Money, Baby! at the Virgin Hotels Las Vegas.
Also returning to Phoenix from Las Vegas is Clint “Spotty” Spotleson who will oversee the restaurants cocktail program and just this weekend David Johnson announced he’s coming on board as the restaurants Sommelier and Wine Director. Johnson was last at Octotillo Restaurant in central Phoenix as General Manager and both are long time staples on the valley’s cocktail and wine scene.
What to expect at Cala
Once opened Cala will serve Mediterranean dishes inspired by the cuisine of Spain, Italy, Morocco and other seaside countries. Envision handmade pastas, fresh cheeses & breads, locally grown vegetables and fresh seafood in a relaxed atmosphere. The simple, healthy and flavorful dishes will emphasize the seasonal ingredients of the coastal regions.
“Cala is a place that guests will find themselves not wanting to leave; it’s vibrant with great energy creating an immersive environment with an experience that offers something for everyone,” said MacMillan. “We’ve intentionally created a modern establishment with a perfectly curated vibe and approachable food that is incredibly cared for alongside unforgettable cocktails.”
Macmillan will continue at Sanctuary Camelback Mountain where he was recently named Culinary Advisor and McQuaid Jr. will be overseeing the day to day operations at Cala. It’s not the first time the two have worked together as McQuaid Jr. worked with MacMillan at Sanctuary and considers him a mentor. You can hear McQuaid Jr. tell his story and his relationship with MacMillan on Episode 42 of The Podcast.
Senna House opened last month in Scottsdale’s Entertainment District on the spot that used to house the legendary Don & Charlie’s Restaurant and is paid tribute too with a montage of sports memorabilia in the hotel’s lobby. Cala is owned by local restaurant & hospitality group Clive Collective which also owns Money, Baby! in Las Vegas. MacMillan also oversees the culinary program at Money, Baby! and is Clive Collective’s Director of Culinary Operations. Cala and Senna House is at 7501 E. Camelback Rd. Scottsdale 85251 and reservations can be made at their website.
Arcadia’s popular Buck & Rider known for fresh seafood flown in daily has announced that they will be opening a second location at The Shops at Chauncey Ranch in North Scottsdale. Seafood fans will still have to head to the Camelback Rd. restaurant as the new location is about a year away from opening.
LGO Hospitality opened the original location in 2015 and has built its reputation serving quality seafood and meats by working directly with the fishermen and farmers. All fish is cut in-house with oysters and fish selections are rotated on a daily basis. Seafood comes from all directions with the seasonality, weather and skill of the fisherman dictating what’s available on the menu.
“Opening an authentic Buck & Rider location in Scottsdale gives us the ability to share our vitality, vim and vigor with the local community. Our goal has always been to bring the freshest seafood possible to Phoenix,” said Emily Collins of LGO Hospitality. “We’re eager and enthusiastic about sharing our unique and genuine vision with even more Arizonans. We utilize the freshest and most immaculate ingredients and apply exactness in cooking so that interference with the natural elements of the food is minimal and truly celebrate the ingredients.”
Serving lunch, dinner, brunch and happy hour Buck & Rider guests to Scottsdale will recognize familiar dishes such as Steak Tartar, Hand Rolled Sushi, Baja Shrimp Ceviche and the famed Abby’s Oyster Bar. A signature cocktail list with premium liquors and wine will compliment your meal. A full patio with outside bar is included in the design by local architect Cathy Hayes with her inspiration and design of the new location being influenced by modern designs and natural decor of the area. For more information and updates as to the opening visit the Buck & Rider website or on Facebook.
Every few weeks it seems another restaurant is opening at the new luxury wing at Scottsdale Fashion Square. Come late April we’ll have a new restaurant from Fig & Olive and Farmhouse owner Laurent Halasz. FRANCINE will join Nobu, Toca Madera and other restaurants that have opened in recent months. This will be Halasz’s most passionate project serving cuisine from the south of France where he grew up. Halasz also owns several locations of FIG & Olive and L.A.’s Farmhouse.
“Everything on my mother’s table was fresh, seasonal, and full of flavor, and that is exactly what FRANCINE will offer our guests,” says Halasz. “We are so excited to bring our new take on classic French Mediterranean and open FRANCINE this April in Scottsdale.”
The fine dining restaurant will serve lunch and dinner with guests gathering in the plant filled restaurant of 5,000 square feet. In his youth Halasz’s mother would host meals around beautiful foods and draws inspiration and pays homage to those days with friends and family.
Signature dishes to be on the menu include Zucchini Terrine, Grilled Octopus, Salmon Carpaccio and Seared Duck a la Provencal. A less formal lunch will serve a selection of pizza, salads and shareable dishes.
Check back for updates about the opening or head to their website.
The owners of Pomo Pizzeria, Mora Italian and Meat the Ball have announced their newest restaurant that’s expected to open in early 2020. The Americano will be a contemporary Italian steakhouse offering European style personalized service and the finest meats, seafood and more.
The restaurant will feature an open kitchen concept with a wood fired grill for preparing steaks and seafood. Testani Design Group and LGE Design Build collaborated on the interior design of The Americano. Dark gray and light green colors will set the tone for the large dining room. Modern art, crescent shaped booths and butcher block tables will be eye catching and functional. Seating will also be available at the island bar, in the lounge and on the patio.
A world class team at The Americano
Pomo Restaurant Group has brought together an impressive team to run The Americano. Canadian born Executive Chef Matthew Taylor comes from Mora Italian and with his team will serve steaks from purebred Piedmontese cattle & American Wagyu beef, pasta & antipasti and Mediterranean seafood. The restaurant will also have a raw bar and caviar service.
“We are thrilled to introduce our carefully curated menu to guests,” says Executive Chef Matthew Taylor. “The Americano will bring the best of both worlds from Italy and America to provide some of the finest steaks, seafood and pasta that Arizona has to offer.”
Swiss born Paride Guerra will serve as General Manager and comes from the Hays-Adams Hotel In Washington D.C. Guerra has worked in restaurants and hotels around the world including South Beach, Beverly Hills, Switzerland and Australia.
Elya Coffman will be re-locating from south Florida to serve as Director of Service & Beverage. Coffman has previously worked with Philadelphia’s Starr Group & the Michael Mina Group.
An Italian and American wine list will be curated by Head Sommelier Nicholas Padua. The wine list will feature vintage bottles along with wines from boutique and iconic producers. Padua has worked as a lead sommelier here in Scottsdale for the Michael Mina Group and Four Seasons Resort.
The Americano will be at 17797 N. Scottsdale Rd. Scottsdale 85255. For information about the restaurant and hiring visit their website.
A new all day menu was rolled out at the downtown Gilbert location of Dierks Bentley’s Whiskey Row earlier this month. The new menu offers lighter and healthy options which include vegetarian and seafood dishes among popular favorites.
New dishes include spicy Buffalo Cauliflower, Spinach & Berry Salad, Roasted Chicken Primavera and Grilled Salmon Jambalaya. Fans of the Tennessee Hot Slider, Fried Pickles and Southern Fries don’t need to worry as those guilty pleasures are still on the menu.
The American gastropub has also extended it happy hour to run all day Monday – Friday. Food and drinks specials start at 11 a.m. until 7 p.m. During Sidewalks Fridays they’ve extended happy hour until 9 p.m.
Dierks Bentley’s Whiskey Row is at 323 N. Gilbert Rd. Gilbert 85234. To see the full menu head to their website.
If you’ve followed this blog for a few years you would’ve seen a post or two from my visits to Cape Cod. Well I’m back for another visit by way of Boston for the week to escape the Arizona heat. After my first 3 days I have enough to tell you about from my morning in Boston to the days on The Cape.
Breakfast in Boston
I flew into Boston early Saturday morning and was greeted by my friend who re-located from Phoenix to the Boston area 20 years ago. It was pretty early so we decided to head into the city to wake up and made our way to the newly built Seaport District along Boston Harbor. On the south-side of downtown Boston the Seaport District is full of high rise office and apartment buildings, restaurants and attractions. The big attraction for us was the Harbor Walk that led us towards Boston’s North End for breakfast.
The North End is Boston’s “Little Italy” neighborhood full of narrow streets lined with Italian markets and restaurants. We made our to Theo’s Cozy Corner for breakfast on Salem St. The small cash only breakfast joint serves up traditional breakfast fare at good prices. Eggs, pancakes, etc and good portions Theo’s was full of neighborhood regulars and a few of us outsiders looking to start our day. My friend and I both went with corned beef hash with 3 eggs, home fries and toast. A good choice leaving us both satisfied.
No trip to the North End is complete without a stop at Mike’s Pastry for cannoli for a my mid-morning snack. We also stopped into a traditional Italian market for sliced prosciutto and other meats and fresh bread.
After a walk back along the harbor to the car we headed to the south bay so I could continue down to the Cape.
Saturday and Sunday on the Cape
For years my family has been spending a few weeks every August in Harwichport which is on the south side on Nantucket Bay on a part of the cape that is considered Mid-Cape. A cute town we venture to restaurants to get our fill of fresh seafood. Whether it’s $1 oysters for happy hour at The Port or trying to find the “Best” lobster roll we have our favorites and are always on the lookout for new restaurants to try.
By the time I arrived in mid-afternoon Saturday I was ready to get my fresh seafood feast going. My nephew, brother-in-law and I went across the street to The Port for the $1 oysters from Chatham and Wellfleet. The week before I hear they polished off 90 oysters during one sitting but that wasn’t going to happen on this day as the restaurant was shorthanded with shuckers and we weren’t the only ones there for happy hour. 48 oysters were good enough to satisfy us on this day.
Most days on the cape are lazy with a later start than had I been home in Arizona. Sunday morning started out foggy(the weather, not me) but by late morning the sun was out we’re off to Bank St. beach for a little sand and sun. After a few hours on the beach it was back to relax and decide where to do dinner. We decided it was time to get lobster rolls so we made our way to the Sesuit Harbor Cafe in Dennis. Sesuit on the north side of the cape about a 15 minute drive from Harwichport. Like other “seafood shacks” on the Cape and in New England, Sesuit Harbor Cafe offers fried, broiled or raw seafood. Place your order, find a table outside and wait for the servers bring your food. It’s fast casual before fast casual became a restaurant trend.
Lobster rolls for most of us were served with fries and cole slaw, my nephew went with half a broiled lobster. All were happy as we sat among the sea gulls, marina plotting our next move. We saved room for desert and made our way for homemade ice cream at Schoolhouse Ice Cream in Harwichport.
Sunday or Monday its all the same
When you’re on vacation all the days run together and you realize the work week has begun when the weekenders head back. Not us as Monday has us sleeping in, getting coffee and starting the day. After coffee and my morning walk I made my way to Brew’s Coffee Bar & Beer Garden for breakfast. Disappointing as they stopped serving many of the breakfast sandwiches I remember from 2017. Only 4 choices to choose from that we’re pre-made and warmed up. My egg and bacon burrito was good but not really worth the $9 I paid for it.
Lunch had me craving fried oysters so I drove down the road to the Original Seafood Restaurant in Dennisport. The place has been around since the 1950s and had the old school drive-in feel. Seafood, burgers, hot dogs and more, my fried oyster craving was fulfilled.
After a lazy afternoon walking off my lunch and visiting with family it was time to think about dinner. My nephew and I were on our own and debated which pizza place to go to. The debate was George’s or Ember Pizza and Wings. Ember won out since we’ve never been so we decided to try their coal fired charred pizza. Getting their early before the dinner rush we ordered boneless Buffalo wings which were chicken tenders tossed in Buffalo sauce. Not my idea of wings and going forward I will always order bone-in wings.
Since my nephew doesn’t eat anything green most vegetables were out so we went with the Meat Lovers Pizza. Topped with bacon, sausage, pepperoni and meatballs the thin crust pizza was good and service was good too. Time for a walk and a relaxing Sunday night before we start another day on the Cape.
Check back for more eating adventures and exploring for the next few days. For more images of my trip follow me on Instagram @SandyWass
One of the most anticipated restaurant openings of 2019, Maple & Ash has announced an opening date of Tuesday August 20th. The restaurant will open at the Scottsdale Waterfront and will be the first location after the original in Chicago. Two star Michelin chef Danny Grant and partners opened the first restaurant in 2015, before that worked in Scottsdale.
“This has been an incredible journey, and we can’t wait to open our doors to the Scottsdale community,” said Chef Danny Grant. “It has been a dream of ours to come home to where I began my culinary career and show off the Maple & Ash experience.”
What to expect at Maple & Ash
Maple & Ash uses wood fired cooking and although they don’t use the word “Steakhouse” in the name it’s considered a modern take on a classic steakhouse. Local chef Sean Currid joins chef Grant to execute the menu that includes the famed “Fire Roasted Seafood Tower” and “I Don’t Give a F*K” (IDGAF). The two chefs met when they worked together at Elements Restaurant at Sanctuary Resort & Spa on Camelback.
Guest will enjoy a world class selection of dry aged beef and fresh seafood. The IDGAF is Grant’s take on a chef’s menu and he thinks is the best choice from the menu. No mention of what’s included with the IDGAF so you’ll have to leave it up to chefs Currid and Grant. Currid boasts an impressive resume having worked around town at Michael’s at the Citadel, Zuzu at the Hotel Valley Ho and Mary Elaine’s at The Phoenician.
Sommelier Jason Caballero curates a wine list from around the world that won’t be your traditional steakhouse wine list. Caballero comes to Maple & Ash from Bourbon Steak at The Fairmont Scottsdale Princess.
The centerpiece of the 10,000 plus square foot restaurant will be the 14 foot wood burning hearth. It will be surrounded by the dining room and lounge along with an outdoor patio and private dining rooms.
Maple & Ash will be open daily at 5 p.m. until 10 p.m. Sun. – Thurs. and until 11 p.m. on Fri. and Sat. The restaurant is at 7135 E. Camelback Rd #130 Scottsdale 85251. For more information visit their website.
Poke the trendy bowl with raw fish, rice and assorted healthy toppings is getting a makeover. At least at Koi Poke as they’re now offering chicken as a protein instead of fish at their 5 Phoenix area locations. Guests can add grilled white meat chicken in three portion sizes to their white or brown rice or spring mix base, Small (4 oz.) $9, Medium (6 oz.) $11 and Large (8 oz.) $13.
Fresh lobster, Yellowtail, shrimp, Hawaiian tuna and more fish toppings are always available.
After adding your protein you can top it with any or all of the toppings available. A few of the toppings include kale, Brussel sprouts, cucumber, jalapenos, cilantro and more. Looking to “sauce it up” you can add teriyaki or house made Sriracha aioli to your bowl and finally garnish it with crispy onions, garlic or other options.
Koi Poke has locations at……
DC Ranch 18221 N. Pima Rd., #100-105, Scottsdale 85255 480-209-1137
Arcadia 4280 E. Indian School Rd., #108, Phoenix 85018 602-368-2222
The SHOPS Gainey Village 8977 N. Scottsdale Rd., #500, Scottsdale 85253 480-306-8440
The Plant 4041 S. Gilbert Rd., #1, Chandler 85249 480-361-6533
Scottsdale Waterfront 7135 E. Camelback Rd., #175, Scottsdale 85251 480-454-4957