Post image for Tailgaters Grill in Gilbert closes when building landlord locks out owners

Tailgaters Grill, the large sports bar and grill on the northwest corner of Higley and Queen Creek in Gilbert, has closed. According to a notice posted on the front door, the building’s owner took possession of the space because the “tenant defaulted on the lease agreement.’’

Since opening in 2009, Tailgaters has changed ownership several times, but never seemed to be able to consistently deliver good food or prompt service. In 98 Yelp reviews, it averaged just two stars (out of a possible five).

Tailgaters Grill in Gilbert is not associated with Tailgaters Sports Grill, which has multiple locations in the West Valley.

Keep up to date on local food & drink news: Click here to receive a daily email roundup of new MXSW posts

Post image for With expanded brewhouse & a hot new beer, Uncle Bear’s is running with AZ’s big dogs

Uncle Bear’s Brewery has kinda flown under the radar since its low-key launch in September 2013. But thanks to an expanded brewing system and a new beer that may become its flagship, the Ahwatukee brew pub seems poised to crack the top 10 Arizona breweries in terms of production by the end of this year.

The dog-focused brew pub’s new beer is Barkley’s Peanut Butter Cup Porter, an easy-drinking dark beer (5.4% ABV) that, if you closed your eyes, easily could fool your nose into thinking it’s an actual Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup. Perhaps that’s because head brewer Joe Baldwin used 120 pounds of the best-selling candy in the 40-keg debut batch – three pounds per keg. It’s absolutely delicious.

The porter, named after the brew pub owner’s chocolate Lab, debuted two weeks ago and was snapped up by Uncle Bear’s 300-plus bar and restaurant accounts, who just as quickly sold out of it and clamored for more. A second batch will hit lucky accounts next week. In the meantime, you still can enjoy some of original batch at the Ahwatukee brew pub and its two grill-and-taprooms in Mesa and Queen Creek.

Peanut Butter Cup Porter hasn’t been added to Uncle Bear’s core lineup yet, but the move seems likely given the beer’s tremendous reception. Besides its current bestsellers, Ocean Beach West Coast IPA and Mandarin’s Best Friend’s wheat beer, other cores include Fence Jumper golden ale, Head to Tail amber, Dog Park Dark, and The Mutt’s Nuts double IPA.

UncleBearsNewTanks021016

Uncle Bear’s produced approximately 150 barrels of beer (a barrel is the equivalent of two 15.5-gallon kegs) in less than four months in 2013. That increased to 1,100 barrels in 2014 and 1,800 in 2015. Late last year, the brewhouse’s five original 20-barrel fermenters were joined by three new 30-barrel fermenters (pictured above on left). Another three 30-barrel fermenters will be installed by this summer.

The jump in fermentation capacity from a total of 100 barrels to 280 barrels, a statewide distribution deal with Young’s Market, and the introduction of Peanut Butter Cup Porter have Baldwin and the Uncle Bear’s crew estimating production this year will exceed 4,000 barrels. Hardly enough to challenge Four Peak’s nearly 80,000 barrels, but 4,000 would have put Uncle Bear’s into Arizona’s top 10 in 2015.

As part of Arizona Beer Week, which starts today and runs through Jan. 20, dog-friendly Uncle Bear’s will be donating $1 from every pint sold at any of its three locations during the 10 days to the Arizona Humane Society. In addition, a dog adoption event will be held Jan 20 with 15% of all food and drink proceeds at all three locations that day being donated. And every Sunday, all year, dogs eat free.

Keep up to date on local food & drink news: Click here to receive a daily email roundup of new MXSW posts

Post image for Arizona Beer Week: So many great events, so little time – here are some suggestions

The sixth annual Arizona Beer Week begins its extended 10-day run today, kicking off more than 325 beer-related events statewide over the next 10 days. Here’s one East Valley-centric suggested itinerary:

Today: She’s So Hop Tappings

Last month, women from more than 30 Arizona breweries got together to make a red IPA dubbed She’s So Hop. It’ll be tapped and toasted at numerous venues today, including 4 p.m. at The Perch in Chandler and 4:30 at the Yucca Tap Room in Tempe.

Friday: Hopslam & Donuts Pajama Party

In what’s become an annual tradition at The Hungry Monk in Chandler, they’ll be celebrating the release of Hop Slam, the highly rated seasonal double IPA from Bell’s Brewery, with a 7 a.m. pajama party (pictured above). Doughnuts are provided free of charge.

Saturday: 16th annual Arizona Strong Beer Festival

The centerpiece of Beer Week, Arizona’s largest craft beer festival will feature 500-plus beers at Steele Indian School Park in Phoenix. VIP tickets sold out quickly, but some general-admission tickets still are available. Grab yours before they’re gone!

Sunday: Boulders Beer Fest

Beer Week’s annual day-after-the-fest fest takes place in the parking lot of Boulders on Broadway in Tempe. A scaled-down fest (80+ beers) for those who couldn’t make it to Strong Beer – or those who did and still want to sample even more beers!

Monday: Hot Scotchy Night

In another Beer Week tradition at The Hungry Monk, wort from a local home brewer is mixed with a Scotch of your choice to create a tantalizing concoction that’s been one of brewers’ best-kept secrets.

Tuesday: Beer & Cupcakes / Beer & Ice Cream

Think beers don’t pair well with sweets? At SunUp Brewery in Phoenix, they’ll be pairing four beers with four cupcakes from 4 p.m. until they run out. At The Perch, they’ll be pairing two Prescott Brewing ales with ice creams made with those beers from 5-7 p.m.

Wednesday: Ska Brewing Burlesque Show

Enjoy rare beers from Colorado’s Ska Brewing while watching the annual burlesque show by Breezi and Her Deviant Dames at iconic Tempe live-music club Yucca Tap Room. The fun starts at 7 p.m.

Thursday: Arizona Firkins / Colorado Casks

Cask-conditioned ales take center stage as Angel’s Trumpet Ale House in Phoenix taps up to 30 firkins from Arizona breweries, while Flanny’s in Tempe hosts its annual showcase of casks from Colorado breweries.

Friday: Four Peaks & Cigars / Cigars with Uwe

As Beer Week winds down, enjoy 14 rare or limited-release Four Peaks beers with a cigar at Fox Cigar Bar in Gilbert. Or join brewmaster Uwe Boer on the patio of SunUp Brewery for a cigar and four stogie-friendly ales.

Saturday: Barrel-Aged Beer Tap Takeover

Finish the week strong with 58 barrel-aged beers on tap at World of Beer in Tempe.

Keep up to date on local food & drink news: Click here to receive a daily email roundup of new MXSW posts

Post image for Yet another weekly East Valley food truck roundup launches Saturday in Tempe

The East Valley apparently loves food trucks. And with Gilbert, Chandler, Mesa, and Queen Creek hosting regular weekly roundups, it probably was inevitable Tempe would join in. Enter Saturday Food Trucks at Kiwanis Park.

Starting this weekend, a food truck roundup will be held 5-8 p.m. Saturdays at Kiwanis, located on Mill just south of Baseline. Look for the trucks on the north end of the sprawling park. Admission and parking are free.

Some of the trucks participating this Saturday include The Maine Lobster Lady, Sweet Magnolia Smokehouse, Waffle Love AZ, Queso Good, and The Grilled Cheese Truck Phoenix.

Other East Valley weekly food truck roundups:

Keep up to date on local food & drink news: Click here to receive a daily email roundup of new MXSW posts

Thursday specials & deals from MXSW sponsors

BY Jess Harter Thursday, February 11, 2016

Post image for Thursday specials & deals from MXSW sponsors

Today’s specials and deals from MXSW sponsors:

Keep up to date on local food & drink news: Click here to receive a daily email roundup of new MXSW posts

Helio Basin Brewing to open this summer in Phoenix’s Arcadia neighborhood

BY Jess Harter Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Post image for Helio Basin Brewing to open this summer in Phoenix’s Arcadia neighborhood

Helio Basin Brewing, a new craft brewery named after the Valley of the Sun, will open this summer in Phoenix’s Arcadia neighborhood. It takes over the former Clicks Billiards building on the southwest corner of 40th Street and Thomas.

“Helio is play on the Greek word for ‘Sun’ and Basin is a catch-all for Valley, which we felt was a nice fit for a Phoenix-based brewery,” says co-owner Dustin Hazer, who’s partnering with friend Mike Conley on the venture.

Hazer has a decade of professional brewing experience, including a few years at Four Peaks Brewing and, most recently, four years as brewmaster at Southern Tier Brewing in western New York. Conley, an MBA graduate of the W.P. Carey School of Business at ASU, currently is a bartender at Arizona Wilderness Brewing in Gilbert.

The 8,200-square-foot brewery will have a 15-barrel brewing system that will be visible to customers. Hazer and Conley plan to offer six core beers – mostly American-style ales – as well as seasonal and limited-release ales.

“Quality is our primary focus, top to bottom,’’ Hazer says. ‘‘Dedication to the quality and consistency of the beer, the food, the service, and the atmosphere are all top-tier priorities at Helio Basin Brewing.”

There will be 135 seats, ranging from communal tables to two-tops, and a large space next to the brewhouse for private parties and charitable events. Chef Tamara Stanger will head the kitchen; she most recently worked at The Henry, a Fox Restaurants concept at 44th Street and Camelback.

Hazer says the build-out is slated to take 12 weeks, so look for an opening in early summer.

Keep up to date on local food & drink news: Click here to receive a daily email roundup of new MXSW posts

Wednesday specials & deals from MXSW sponsors

BY Jess Harter Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Post image for Wednesday specials & deals from MXSW sponsors

Today’s specials and deals from MXSW sponsors:

  • Baja Joe’s: $8.99 chef’s pasta specials; dozen wings for $5 after 5 p.m. (cantina only); $2 bottles and shots, $3 mugs, margs, and Patron from 8 p.m.-close (cantina only).
  • Bourbon Jacks: 20% of sales donated to local food banks.
  • Craft 64: Happy hour all day with $1 off craft drafts and $6 glasses of wine.
  • Fibber Magees: Half-price flatbreads and desserts; half-price glasses of wine and $3 flavored Smirnoffs.
  • Floridino’s Pizza & Pasta: With purchase of $8 or more, kids under 10 eat free off kids menu.
  • Hungry Monk: 59-cent boneless wings (pictured above); $3 craft beer pints.
  • La Ristra New Mexican Kitchen: Ride your two- or three-wheel bike (with or without motor) and get happy hour pricing on drinks from 6-9 p.m. in bar.
  • My Wine Cellar: Any flatbread and select bottle of wine for $25.
  • Nicantoni’s Pizza: $3.95 house wine; $3.25 Blue Moons and Shock Tops; $9.95 salad & lasagna combo.
  • Ocotillo Golf Resort: 8-ounce prime rib for $20 or 10-ounce for $23 with potato and seasonal vegetables.
  • El Palacio: Kids eat free with a paid adult entree.
  • The Perch: 50% off all wine and meat & cheese plates.
  • Serrano’s Mexican Restaurants: Tamale with rice, beans, and drink for $7.49 from 11 a.m.-4 p.m.
  • Social Box Neighborhood Eatery: $2 off glasses of wine and $5 off bottles.
  • Uncle Bear’s: Kids eat free with paid adult entree; $3.50 Head to Tale amber ale pints; $1 off appetizers.
  • Wimpy’s Paradise: Kids 10 & under eat free with each adult meal;
  • Zappone’s Italian Bistro: 50% off all bottles of wine.

Keep up to date on local food & drink news: Click here to receive a daily email roundup of new MXSW posts

Post image for La Bocca, Modern Margarita coming to downtown Chandler, but not to The Row

In late 2014, Tempe favorites La Bocca Urban Pizzeria & Wine Bar and Modern Margarita were set to open downtown Chandler locations at The Row, a new development anchored by Alamo Drafthouse Cinema. After 13 months of delays, though, The Row still hasn’t broken ground.

In the meantime, Texas-based Alamo has chosen a new location at Arizona Avenue and Chandler Heights in south Chandler, and Julian Wright, owner of La Bocca and Modern Margarita, decided to sell both concepts when he opened Pedal Haus Brewery.

Now, it turns out, La Bocca and Modern Margarita are coming to downtown Chandler after all – and sooner rather than later. The two restaurants will share the former Coach & Willie’s sports bar on the southeast corner of Arizona and Boston – a block south of The Row.

Construction already has begun to divide it into two spaces, and building owner Desert Viking confirmed to MXSW that La Bocca and Modern Margarita will be the tenants.

La Bocca offers an upscale menu of bruschetta (pictured), salads, pastas, and gourmet pizzas. Modern Margarita focuses on Mexican small plates and 15 kinds of margaritas. Look for late summer or early fall openings.

Keep up to date on local food & drink news: Click here to receive a daily email roundup of new MXSW posts

Post image for Macayo’s unveils renovated Mesa location with new front patio, new balcony & more

Macayo’s Mexican Kitchen in Mesa unveils a new look today that includes a new front patio, a new second-floor balcony, two new community tables, and expanded seating with new booths and dining tables. It’s the first major renovation for the restaurant, which opened on the northwest corner of Dobson and Baseline in 1979.

The restaurant still offers its popular back patio, also with new tables, seating, and heaters, on a man-made lake, as well as fireplaces on the first and second floors. A wall display showcases artifacts, pottery ,and plates from Mexico, New Mexico, and Texas. The menu features some new, chef-inspired items.

Macayo’s is celebrating the Mesa reopening with a special four-course meal for $30 per person tonight, with 50% of the proceeds donated to the Positive Coaching Alliance. Reservations start at 5 p.m. Call 480-820-0237.

Macayo’s, which is preparing to celebrate its 70th anniversary, has 12 locations throughout the Valley and two in Las Vegas.

Keep up to date on local food & drink news: Click here to receive a daily email roundup of new MXSW posts

Former India Gate owners open New India Gate in west Chandler

BY Jess Harter Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Post image for Former India Gate owners open New India Gate in west Chandler

A new Indian restaurant – New India Gate – just opened in the Fry’s shopping center on the southeast corner of Rural and Ray in west Chandler. It takes over the former I Sushi, which closed last summer, as well as the space next door.

If the new restaurant’s name sounds familiar, it may be because it’s from the same family that sold their previous west Chandler restaurant, India Gate, at Kyrene and Chandler a couple of years ago.

New India Gate’s focus is northern Indian cuisine. House specialties include goat curry ($12.99), goat achari ($12.99), and house-made ice cream known as kulfi ($3.99). All of New India Gate’s dishes are made from scratch. No food colors are used, not even in the chicken tikka masala.

A lunch buffet is $7.99 weekdays and $8.99 weekends. Grand opening specials – $1 off the lunch buffet or 20% off dinner – will run for the first two months.

Restaurant hours are 11 a.m.-2:30 p.m. and 5-10 p.m. Monday-Saturday and 11 a.m.-2:30 p.m. and 5-9 p.m. Sunday.

Keep up to date on local food & drink news: Click here to receive a daily email roundup of new MXSW posts