Summer Beer Fest at Boulders on Southern June 24

BY Jess Harter Friday, June 23, 2017

Post image for Summer Beer Fest at Boulders on Southern June 24

Thirty bucks will get you a dozen beer tastings at the third annual Summer Beer Fest from 1-4 p.m. Saturday, June 24, at Boulders on Southern in Mesa.

A partial tap list:

  • Elevation Vanilla Oil Man
  • Council Beatitude Pineapple Tart Saison
  • Oskar Blues Death by Coconut 2016
  • The Bruery: Humulous Turreaux
  • Alesmith Nibs and Beans Speedway
  • The Bruery Frederik H.
  • Ballast point Barmy Apricot Honey Strong Ale
  • Bear Republic Cuvee du Bubba
  • Bell’s Kal Haven
  • Dragoon Sarcosuchus DIPA
  • St. Bernardus/Rodenback collaboration
  • Great Divide BA Espresso Stout
  • Hess Steel Beach
  • New Belgium La Terrior
  • Dogfish Head Red & White
  • Victory Barrel-Aged Coffee Stout 2016
  • Odell Friek 2016
  • Boulevard Scotch on Scotch
  • Founders Frootwood
  • Deschutes Abyss
  • Firestone Bretta Rose
  • Founders Doom Barrel-Aged DIPA
  • Modern Times Tetra City DIPA
  • Goose Island Bourbon County Stout 2015
  • Belching Beaver Interleague IPA collaboration with Half Door
  • Prairie Artisan Paradise
  • Maui Imperial Coconut Porter 2016
  • Mission Barrel aged Berried Treasure Goldwater DIPA
  • The Perch Outer Planet Janet – 100% Galaxy hops
  • Uncle Bears Ocean Beach Cask Conditioned whole cone hops
  • The Bruery Quadrupel Tonnellerie with Blackberries
  • Arrogant Double Bastard Ale
  • Funkwerks Dark Prophet
  • Great Divide Barrel Aged Yeti
  • Brooklyn “K” is for Kriek
  • Green Flash Vivid Sauvage
  • Stone Xocoveza Extra Anejo

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Post image for Can you ever have too many BBQ joints? AZ Barbecue Co. to open in Gilbert this fall

Is Gilbert on its way to becoming the barbecue capitol of the East Valley?

Earlier this week I broke the news longtime Mesa fave Waldo’s BBQ is making a second attempt at opening a location in Gilbert.

Now comes word of another smokehouse opening in the town this fall: Arizona BBQ Company is taking over the former La Calabria strip-mall space on the northwest corner of Val Vista and Ray.

(Side note: La Calabria, in turn, has found a new space and is reopening in a couple of months.)

AZ BBQ Company is owned by longtime Gilbert residents Mark and Colette Nichols (pictured at top). He is a Le Cordon Bleu-trained chef with 27 years of experience in the hospitality industry.


For the past five years, the couple have run JC’s Catering out of a church kitchen, and they’re looking forward to having a commercial kitchen of their own.

Mark Nicholls describes his BBQ as a spinoff of Texas-style, ‘‘but we do BBQ a little different.’’ As an example, he points to six planned sauces: sweet, tangy, chipotle, habanero, red chile, and green chile.

The featured meats will be brisket, pulled pork, St. Louis-style ribs, and smoked chicken. There also will be four kinds of BBQ tacos and two kinds of brisket chili.

Side will include ranchero beans, chipotle potato salad, green chile and bacon mac and cheese, Southwest cole slaw, and chile lime roasted corn.


A liquor license should be approved by the expected opening soon after Labor Day.

Nichols says he was unaware Waldo’s had selected a spot just a mile away, but he’s not concerned about competition.

‘‘We’re a little unique,’’ he says. ‘‘And there are a lot of people in Gilbert.‘’

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Post image for Freezer’s Ice House in Tempe hopes to heat up local billiards scene

Is pool dying as a sport? Scott ‘‘The Freezer’’ Frost doesn’t think so. The sport’s problem, he says, is aging, uninviting pool halls.

That’s why the Valley resident – who’s considered one of the best one-pocket billiards players in the world – just opened Freezer’s Ice House, an upscale, family-friendly pool room and sports bar in Tempe.

‘‘What we’re hoping this does is become a model for (pool) rooms across America,’’ he says. ‘‘In my opinion, we just need to update them, upgrade them.

‘‘Women should be comfortable walking in. Juniors and junior programs will be alive and well here.’’


Freezer’s takes over the former Walgreen’s on the southeast corner of Mill and Broadway.

The 15,000-square-foot space actually is divided into three rooms, although the main focus is the pool room with 35 new Diamond pool tables and 12 dart boards (four steel-tipped).

The Hot Spot Lounge will be a sports lounge with a full kitchen and 48 beers on tap by day; at night it will host DJs and music. A row of arcade games ranges from Golden Tee to refurbished retro faves like Final Fight and Ms. Pac-Man.


The third room, the Chill Grill, will provide an escape for those who want to eat, drink, and converse away from all the action and noise.

Altogether, more than 100 55-inch TV monitors and photos of pool champions adorn the walls, which are illuminated with LED cove lighting in 32 colors (as are the two bars). A roll-up glass garage door opens to a patio.

Freezer’s has been easing into its soft opening this week. It will open at 5 p.m. today, be closed Friday, and then open at 10 a.m. Saturday and Sunday. Regular hours – 11 a.m.-2 a.m. daily – will begin Monday.


An official grand opening party weekend is planned for July 27-30.

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Post image for Now open in Chandler: Buon Padre Pizza, home of the Grilled Hot Dog Pizza

Buon Padre Pizza, a new pizzeria that just opened in Chandler, is perhaps most notable for what it is not.

It is not another fast-casual, ready-in-3-minutes pizza concept. It is not a chain. It is not expensive. And it is not afraid to experiment with its menu.

That’s why it’s not too surprising the most popular item on Buon Padre’s short menu is its Gourmet Grilled Hot Dog Pizza (pictured below), a favorite of customers young and old alike.

Pizzas comes in three sizes: 10, 12, and 14 inches. A 12-inch one-topping pizza is just $5.99, while a 14-inch three-topping is $8.99. The most expensive pizza – a large Meatza with sausage, pepperoni, beef, ham, and bacon – is $10.99.

Other than pizzas, the menu offers two salads, two flatbread sandwiches, and a few appetizers.


Buon Padre (which is Italian for ‘‘Good Father’’) officially doesn’t deliver, but say they will do so if they aren’t too busy. They also don’t have a liquor license.

They took over the former Venezia’s Pizzeria end space (hidden behind McDonald’s) in the strip mall on the northeast corner of McQueen and Pecos.

Hours are 11 a.m.-10 p.m. daily.

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The Reef moves quarter mile to new location in Chandler

BY Jess Harter Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Post image for The Reef moves quarter mile to new location in Chandler

The Reef, a sports bar and grill that had operated for more than a decade on Warner just west of Arizona Avenue in Chandler, has moved to a new location about a quarter-mile away.

Its new home is a 5,120-square-foot building on the northeast corner of Arizona and Warner. The building most recently housed Mi Linda Mexican restaurant.

The Reef describes itself as ‘‘Arizona’s finest dive bar,’’ a tongue-in-cheek reference to owner Mark Vargovich’s passion for deep sea diving. In 2012, Vargovich bought what was then known as The Draft House and renamed it.

Its former home on Warner, which closed in April, will reopen later this summer as  (‘‘B Squared’’), a burgers-and-beer concept.

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Post image for Ex-Arizona Rattlers team president opens pizza & grilled cheese shop in Mesa

LJ’s Pizza was a Mesa institution, offering a popular all-you-can-eat lunch buffet for nearly four decades before closing in 2011.

LJ’s later reopened in a smaller, cafe-like structure behind its original location – sorry, no more buffet – and its former space on Main Street west of Stapley is home to another pizzeria.

The newcomer is Joey’s PSG. Joey is chef/owner Joey Windham (pictured below), and PSG stands for ‘‘pizza, soup and grilled cheese.’’


If Windham’s name sounds kinda familiar, it might be because the Northern California native first came to the Valley in 2011 when he was hired as team president of the Arena Football League’s Arizona Rattlers.

His Rattlers tenure was quite successful. After finishing second in his inaugural season with the team, he helped the Rattlers to three straight AFL championships before joining the rival Los Angeles Kiss.

Now retired from the sports business and its grueling travel schedule, Windham – who describes himself as ‘‘a real Italian with 56 cousins‘‘ – is turning his longtime passion: food.


Torn between two concepts – an ’’authentic‘‘ New York-style pizzeria and a soup-and-grilled-cheese-sandwich shop – he decided to combine the two. Joey’s PSG was launched last month.

The menu features seven specialty pizzas in three sizes (plus a build-your-own option starting at $7.95), 17 gourmet grilled cheese sandwiches (seven with cheese only and 10 with meat, starting at $7), and several housemade desserts.

‘‘Artisan’’ has become an all but meaningless term in today’s food scene, so let’s just say Windham makes the pizza sauce from scratch every day along with the dough. He uses sliced (never grated) whole-milk mozzarella imported from Italy.


Joey’s PSG’s most popular menu items, according to Windham:

  • The Joey’s Special pizza (Italian sausage, pepperoni, mushrooms, and black olives, pictured above), his personal favorite;
  • The VP sandwich (pepper jack, cheddar, and muenster with wine Dijon mustard grilled on rye/pumpernickel swirl bread, pictured above with housemade chips), named for his wife’s initials;
  • The seven-pound carrot cake (shown below).


Joey’s PSG is still a work in progress. A liquor license is in the works, and an empty lot on the east side of the restaurant will be enclosed for a patio this fall.

Joey’s PSG is open 11 a.m.-8:30 p.m. Monday-Friday and 11 a.m.-7:30 p.m. Saturday.

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Post image for Pita Jungle’s Queen Creek opening pushed back to July 17

Queen Creek residents will have to wait a little longer for their Pita Jungle.

The locally based chain of Mediterranean restaurants had been scheduled to open its 16th Valley location Monday near the Harkins Theatres at Ellsworth Loop and Rittenhouse.

Now, the opening has been pushed back to Monday, July 17. An official grand-opening celebration is planned for mid-August.

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Post image for June 21: Get $1 Eegee’s drinks at Jimmy & Joe’s Pizzeria

Take a break from today’s high temperatures at Jimmy & Joe’s Pizzeria, which will be selling Eegee’s frozen fruit drinks for just $1 all day.

You must be a member of Jimmy & Joe’s customer rewards program; if you aren’t, you can sign up for free when you get your Eegee’s.

The popular drinks are the signature menu item at a chain of Tucson sub shops by the same name. In the Valley, though, Eegee’s drinks are available at only a few restaurants.

Jimmy & Joe’s has locations on the northwest corner of McClintock and Ray in Chandler and the northeast corner of Dobson and Baseline in Mesa.

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Post image for Cuisine & Wine Bistro launches Thirty Tuesdays special

Cuisine & Wine Bistro is launched a new Tuesday special – dubbed Thirty Tuesdays – today.

Get a meat and cheese board of your choice (charcuterie, fromage, or mixed) and two glasses of wine for $30.

The special is available all night at both the Chandler and Gilbert locations.

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115+ degrees means $4 margaritas at The Perch

BY Jess Harter Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Post image for 115+ degrees means $4 margaritas at The Perch

Record-setting summer temperatures aren’t always a bad thing.

The Perch in downtown Chandler has introduced a Summer of Sauza promotion: The higher the temperature outside, the lower the cost of margaritas.

  • Under 100 degrees= $8
  • 100-104 degrees= $7
  • 105-109 degrees = $6
  • 110-114 degrees= $5
  • 115 and higher= $4

You can add Grand Marnier for $2, and Sauza Blue shots are $6!

By the way, the forecast high for today and Wednesday is 118 degrees.

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