Gilbert’s barbecue binge continues with opening of Arizona BBQ Company

BY Jess Harter Friday, September 22, 2017

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It’s a great time to be a barbecue lover in Gilbert: Arizona BBQ Company opened this week in the former La Calabria strip-mall space on the northwest corner of Val Vista and Ray.

It’s the second new smokehouse to open in the town in the past week. Waldo’s BBQ opened a second location last weekend just a mile south of Arizona BBQ at Val Vista and Williams Fields.

And famed Texas-based chain Rudy’s Country Store & Bar-B-Q is coming soon to Higley and Baseline.

Arizona BBQ owners Mark and Colette Nichols wanted a couple of days for a true ‘‘soft opening’’ before I wrote about their joint. So please continue to be patient while they continue to work out the early kinks.

It’s the longtime Gilbert residents’ first restaurant, although Mark is a Le Cordon Bleu-trained chef who’s worked in the hospitality industry for 27 years.

For the past five years, the couple have run JC’s Catering.

On the menu

Arizona BBQ Company’s menu offers several smoked meats – St. Louis-style ribs, brisket, pulled pork, and chicken – available in platters ($11-$20 with two sides and tortilla), half-pound sandwiches ($9-$11 with a side), and even tacos ($3.25 apiece).

A sauce bar offers six choices: sweet and tangy, chipotle, habanero, mustard, red chile, and green chile.

Sides have a distinctive Southwestern flair, such as chipotle potato salad, green chile mac ’n’ cheese with house-cured bacon, black bean and corn salad, and chile lime roasted corn.

House specialties

House specialties include two kinds of chili – brisket and brisket chile verde – as well as ‘‘Gila monster eggs,’’ jalapenos stuffed with cheese, wrapped in ground pork, and smoked.

There also are salads, churros for dessert, and a kids menu.

A full bar offers beer on tap and in bottles, and locally inspired cocktails like an Arizona Sunset, an Arizona Mule, and a Bloody Basin Bloody Mary.

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Tonight: Flanny’s monthly tap takeover features 2 dozen of best AZ beers

BY Jess Harter Thursday, September 21, 2017

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If it’s the third Thursday of the month, it’s time for another Third Tuesday tap takeover at Flanny’s in Tempe. This month, the takeover spotlights some of the best beers from local breweries.

Here’s what will be on tap:

  • Saddle Mountain Taildragger’s Hop Snob IPA
  • Saddle Mountain Taildragger’s Chasing Tail amber ale
  • Helio Basin Blackberry Wheat
  • Helio Basin Lord Rupert Everton I Southwest IPA
  • Scottsdale Beer Co. Raspberry Lemon Sour
  • Scottsdale Beer Co. Dank Triple IPA
  • Goldwater Hop Chowda IPA
  • Goldwater Marvin the Märzen
  • 8-Bit Aleworks Rocky Road Limit Break
  • 8-Bit Aleworks Legend of Zymur double IPA
  • That Batch 98 double IPA
  • That Knotty Nut brown ale
  • Pedal Haus Blackberry-Rhubarb Sour
  • Pedal Haus American Hoppy Lager
  • Helton Dark Munich Lager
  • Helton Northeast IPA (pictured above)
  • 12 West Frontside IPA
  • 12 West Deadbolt barrel-aged Russian imperial stout
  • The Shop The Nines red ale
  • The Shop Church Music IPA
  • Wanderlust AZ Pure Tripel
  • Wanderlust Westbound Vagabond double IPA
  • North Mountain Baby Guapa Belgian fruit ale
  • North Mountain C.R.E.E.M. golden ale

The funs starts at 6 p.m.

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Meridiem introduces special menu for NFL games on Mondays & Thursdays

BY Jess Harter Thursday, September 21, 2017

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Meridiem Kitchen & Lounge, the all-day restaurant that opened a couple months ago near the intersection of the 101 and 202 freeways in Chandler, probably isn’t one of the first places that come to mind when you think of local sports bars.

But you might be in for a surprise: Meridiem offers a special ‘‘sports menu” on Monday and Thursday nights when NFL games are televised.

The menu includes chef Jeramie Lopo’s famous chicken wings ($12), a trio of handmade meatballs ($10), a steak hoagie ($14) and more (see sports menu). You also get $3 off local craft beers.

Since the restaurant is split into two sides – Ante (a.m.) and Post (p.m.) – one side will televise games with sound while the other plays music.

Of course, the same service is offered on NFL Sundays, when Meridiem hosts its popular brunch.

The restaurant is exploring the possibility of getting the full NFL package. Until then, it is showing only games on regular cable.

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Tonight: Scottsdale Beer Co. launch party at Craft 64

BY Jess Harter Thursday, September 21, 2017

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Last month, MXSW reported Scottsdale Beer Company had signed a deal with Quail to begin distribution of its craft beers in mid-September.

Well, it’s now mid-September and things kick off this week with a series of distribution launch parties, including one from 6-8 p.m. today at Craft 64 in Old Town Scottsdale.

SBC beers on tap will include East Coast Grove IPA, Texas Tea imperial stout, Downshift Session IPA, Grapefruit IPA, East Coast Grove with Pineapple IPA, and more.

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The Hungry Monk in Chandler offers Oktoberfest menu through Oct. 3

BY Jess Harter Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Most Oktoberfest celebrations at East Valley restaurants and bars last a day. The Hungry Monk, though, if offering its special ‘‘Monktoberfest’’ menu for more than two weeks.

HungryMonk092017

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Arizona’s newest craft brewery: Button Brew House

BY Jess Harter Wednesday, September 20, 2017

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The next time you travel down to Tucson, you may want to schedule a little extra time to visit Arizona’s newest craft brewery, Button Brew House, which opened last weekend.

The brewery, launched by Todd and Erika Button, actually is located in Marana, which is just off I-10 on the northwest edge of Tucson.

Button Brew House’s flagship ale is a unique Chiltepin Red Ale, made with super-spicy Chiltepin peppers harvested locally.

Other beers on tap include Button IPA, All Souls Stout, and Volstead Pilsner.

Button, which has no kitchen, is open 3-8 p.m. Monday-Thursday, 2-10 p.m. Friday, noon-10 p.m. Saturday, and 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Sunday.

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Bourbon Jacks celebrates 5-year anniversary all weekend

BY Jess Harter Wednesday, September 20, 2017

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Bourbon Jacks in downtown Chandler celebrates its five-year anniversary Thursday, but the party will go on all weekend.

Thursday: Anniversary happy hour from 2-7 p.m.; Reliable Hardware Band with special guests, 9 p.m.; Girls Night Specials (girls only) include $2.50 12-ounce Bud and Coors Lights drafts, $3 house wines, and $3.50 flavored vodkas.

Friday: Happy hour from 2-7 p.m.; Trey Odum and Chris Bandusky, 4:30 p.m.; Hillbilly Deluxe, 9:30 p.m.

Saturday: Brunch and college football, 9 a.m.-1 p.m.; Chauncey Jones Music, 4:30 p.m.; Rich Adams Band, 9:30 p.m.

Sunday: Brunch and NFL football, 9 a.m.-1 a.m.; Open Jelly Jam Anniversary Edition with Jesse Marks, Pete Avelar, and Kody Raine.

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The Social Hall restaurant & sports bar to take over Minder Binders

BY Jess Harter Tuesday, September 19, 2017

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Now we know what’s taking over the recently sold Minder Binders building on the northeast corner of McClintock and University in Tempe.

The new restaurant, called The Social Hall, is from the owners of a Seattle restaurant and sports bar called Art Marble 21. The group reportedly was looking to expand the concept to Los Angeles or Phoenix.

Art Marble 21

Art Marble 21 – whose building began as the granite-selling Art Marble Co. in 1921 – features a slightly more upscale and eclectic menu than a typical sports bar.

Many menu items have island-themed or South of the Border heritage.

Starters, for example, range from empanadas to coconut agave corn muffins. Entrees include South Beach ribs, Cuban flank steak, and jerk chicken, with churros and rum cake for dessert.

Besides plenty of TVs for watching sports, the Seattle location features a game room with free shuffleboard, bocce ball, and pool tables.

Minder Binders

Minder Binders was a popular nightlife destination for three decades before abruptly closing in 2005.

The building eventually was bought by the owners of San Tan Flat in Queen Creek and, after two years of extensive renovations (pictured above), reopened in 2014.

After clearing up the Tempe space, the new owners will be auctioning off more than 500 pieces of Minder Binders memorabilia at EJ’s Auction & Consignment in Glendale on Sept. 30.

Look for The Social Hall to open in November.

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Post image for Sept. 21: ‘Taste of Romeo’s’ dinner at Romeo’s Euro Cafe in Gilbert

Romeo’s Euro Cafe in Gilbert holds its weekly ‘‘Taste of Romeo’s’’ dinner, hosted by chef Romeo Taus and his wife, Janice, in a private dinning room, at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 21.

The dinners typically feature five courses selected from the restaurant’s regular menu. This week’s selections:

  • Focaccia de la Provincia (pictured)
  • Hellenic Salad
  • Salonika Chicken
  • Pork AgroDolce
  • Chocolatake

Cost is $30 per person plus tax and tip. Add five wine tastes for $10. RSVP: 480-962-4224.

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Waldo’s BBQ takes over former Harvey American Public House in Gilbert

BY Jess Harter Monday, September 18, 2017

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Waldo’s BBQ, which bills itself as the ’’biggest BBQ caterer in the State of Arizona,’’ has opened its second full-service East Valley restaurant on the northwest corner of Val Vista and Williams Field in Gilbert.

It takes over the building formerly home to Harvey’s American Public House, which closed in March.

Waldo’s debuted on Main Street, just east of Greenfield, in east Mesa in 1993. It features meats and sauces served in cast-iron skillets, all-you-can-eat sides, complimentary cornbread, and beverages served in Mason jars.

Its smoked meats – a variety of ribs, brisket, pulled beef, pulled pork, chicken, turkey, pit ham, hot links, and catfish – loosely fall into the Texas-style category. There are four sauces: original, Louisiana, jerk, and mustard-vinegar.

This marks Waldo’s second foray into Gilbert. It opened a short-lived, full-service location at SanTan Village Marketplace in 2007. It also has two ‘‘express locations’’ in Phoenix.

Waldo’s BBQ opens at 10:30 a.m. daily.

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