Nishikawa Ramen to take over just-closed Taiko in Chandler

BY Jess Harter Thursday, May 26, 2016

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Nishikawa Ramen – featuring a 20-hour broth and noodles made from scratch every morning – is taking over the just-closed Taiko Japanese restaurant on the southwest corner of Cooper and Ray in Chandler.

The newcomer is billing itself as “the very first traditional ramen shop in the East Valley,” although I don’t think places like Tampopo Ramen and Republic Ramen would agree.

Nishikawa Ramen, named after a city in northern Japan, will offer six kinds of ramen ranging from $9.45 to $11.45:

  • Original Tonkotsu: Pork broth, pork chashu, green onion, seasoned egg, nori, fried onion, and thick noodles.
  • Spicy Tonkotsu/Miso: Pork broth, pork chashu, spicy bean sprouts, kikurage, green onion, house spicy paste, miso, and thick noodles.
  • Miso: Pork broth, pork chashu, bean sprouts, seasoned egg, green onion, chile oil, and thin noodles.
  • Nishikawa House Black: Pork broth, pork chashu, kikurage, green onion, nori, seasoned egg, garlic chips, garlic oil, fried onion, and thick noodles.
  • Garlic Shio: Chicken broth, chicken chashu, green onion, fried onion, nori, and thin noodles.
  • Spicy Chicken: Chicken broth, chicken chashu, green onion, spicy bean sprouts, Tokyo negi, and thin noodles.

A soft opening is planned in early June.

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Chicken salad concept Chicken Scoop to open this summer

BY Jess Harter Wednesday, May 25, 2016

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Chicken Scoop, a new restaurant concept focusing on chicken salad, will debut this summer at the Scottsdale Promenade on the southeast corner of Scottsdale and Bell.

The restaurant will offer 14 different kinds of chicken salad sold by the scoop. The menu will have sandwiches, salads, soups, and desserts.

(Pictured: The Triple Scoop meal featuring Waldorf, BBQ, and Curry chicken salads with crackers and a Banana Puddin’ Scoop dessert.)

The exact opening date has not been announced yet.

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Bartlett Lake Grill opens for summer, full bar to debut Monday

BY Jess Harter Wednesday, May 25, 2016

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Bartlett Lake Grill, a seasonal restaurant on the recreational lake northeast of Scottsdale, has opened for the summer.

The restaurant offers a menu of appetizers, burgers, sandwiches, and salads, ranging from $3-$12. Besides sodas and milkshakes, there also will be – starting this Monday – a full bar available.

The restaurant, which has operated for more than two decades, seats about 50 inside and another 60 on its wrap-around patio.

Hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Thursdays through Sundays. It also will be open on Monday holidays like Memorial Day, when it will open at 8 a.m.

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Posh chef Josh Hebert to open Hot Noodles, Cold Sake ramen shop

BY Jess Harter Tuesday, May 24, 2016

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Tuesday night ramen is getting a restaurant of its own.

Josh Hebert, chef at Scottsdale improvisational restaurant Posh, is opening a ramen shop called Hot Noodles, Cold Sake this summer.

Dominic Armato broke the news on AZCentral.com, where Hebert says he’s been looking for the right spot for two-and-a-half years.

He apparently found it in the former home of Philly’s & Fries on the southwest corner of the 101 and Frank Lloyd Wright in north Scottsdale.

Hebert, who lived and worked in Japan, has become legendary in local food circles not only for his no-menu cuisine at Posh but also his late-night ramen pop-ups on Tuesdays.

Soon that ramen – five flavors, plus gyoza, edamame, and Japanese salads – will be available for lunch and dinner Monday through Saturday.

Beside the namesake sake, the ramen shop also will serve Japanese beers.

Hebert hopes to open Hot Noodles, Cold Sake by mid-July.

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The Living Room scheduled to open within next week in Ahwatukee

BY Jess Harter Tuesday, May 24, 2016

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Back in February, MXSW broke the news The Living Room would open its fourth Arizona wine bar in Ahwatukee at the end of May. It appears to be right on schedule.

Assuming there are no problems with final inspections, the location is scheduled to open in the next week next to the AMC Ahwatukee 24 movie theaters on the southwest corner of I-10 and Ray.

The Ahwatukee space is 2,453 square feet inside with another 1,200 on an L-shaped patio. Both will have comfortable soft seating.

Unlike the other Living Rooms in Chandler (where the concept debuted in 2009), Scottsdale, and Tucson, the new one will have an open-air bistro kitchen that allows guests and chefs to interact.

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The menu will have the familiar lineup of appetizers, bruschetta, salads, flatbreads, burgers, desserts, and coffees. A full bar will offer wines starting at $5 a glass until 6 p.m. daily.

A DJ will play Thursday through Saturday nights. There will be live entertainment Sundays.

The Living Room plans to open a fifth Arizona location in the Shops at Gainey Village in Scottsdale in October.

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Post image for Dilly’s Deli closes Scottsdale location, but its 2 Tempe locations are still open

I hate to start the week on a down note, but award-winning Dilly’s Deli has closed its north Scottsdale location (pictured) after 11 years on Scottsdale Road north of Thunderbird.

The closure comes nearly six months after owners Shaun Kelley and Jeff Weninger closed Dilly’s Chandler location after they were unable to reach an agreement on a new lease.

The good news is Dilly’s two popular Tempe locations – at the 101 and Southern and on University just west of Mill – remain open.

Dilly’s is accepting catering orders for Scottsdale out of the 101 and Southern location.

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Craft 64 brews wheat ale, Sun Up to can more beers

BY Jess Harter Friday, May 20, 2016

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Craft 64 partner James Swann and Sun Up brewer Ross Perz got together this week to brew the Old Town Scottsdale pizzeria and bar’s newest contract beer – Wheat the People – at the Phoenix brewery.

The American white wheat beer (estimated 5.0% ABV and 15 IBUs) will join three other Craft 64 beers – Smoooove Hoperator IPA, Bonkers Double IPA, and Crafty Blonde, all of which debuted earlier this year.

Like the best-selling Crafty Blonde, Wheat the People features well-rounded West Coast Falconers Flight hops, resulting in what Swann expects to be ‘‘a great summer beer.’’

Look for Craft 64 to tap Wheat the People sometime in mid-June.

If you’re wondering about 64 Monks, Craft 64’s yet-to-be-brewed collaboration with The Hungry Monk, it’ll still in the works as soon as Swann and Monk owner Jim Lolli can sync their schedules.

Meanwhile, Sun Up also has been busy with its own beers. MXSW reported last week (see story) the brewpub had begun canning two of its most popular beers, Trooper IPA and White Russian imperial stout.

Sun Up brewmaster Uwe Boer (pictured above) says the demand for those canned beers has been so high he will begin canning three more beers in the next five weeks.

The five-head canning line is the latest addition to Sun Up’s 15-barrel production brewery, which opened last year next to the brew pub. The original brewing system in the brew pub mostly is being used for pilot and contract beers.

Sun Up also is in the midst of the permits-and-licensing process to open a 30-barrel production brewery and taproom near the State Capitol just west of downtown Phoenix.

Boer says there’s no set timetable for the new facility.

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Rancho de Tia Rosa closes after 5 years in Gilbert

BY Jess Harter Thursday, May 19, 2016

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Rancho de Tia Rosa has closed its last remaining full-service restaurant at Higley and Guadalupe in Gilbert.

The restaurant made the announcement on its Facebook page:

‘‘With heavy hearts and lots of sorrow we are so sad to announce the Gilbert Rancho de Tia Rosa restaurant closed today. The ‘Rosas Management Company’ has been in a reorganization stage (Chapter 11) for several years now. Today the court ruled a Chapter 7 for this location only.’’

Rancho de Tia Rosa’s flagship restaurant opened on McKellips, between Lindsay and Val Vista, in 2001 and quickly became one of the most popular dining destinations in east Mesa.

In 2010, owners Dennis and Lizbeth Sirrine launched an aggressive expansion plan, opening a fast-casual taqueria in Gilbert. The following year, they added full-service restaurants in Chandler and Gilbert.

But things quickly went awry. The Chandler location at Dobson and Germann lasted just four months. The Gilbert taqueria closed in 2012, and the flagship Mesa restaurant in 2014.

Last year, the Sirrines opened another taqueria on the northeast corner of Greenfield and Brown in east Mesa. They also operate a taco truck and a catering business.

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MOD Pizza opens 10th AZ location Friday in Ahwatukee

BY Jess Harter Thursday, May 19, 2016

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Hard to believe it’s been less than two years since MOD Pizza opened its first Arizona store in Gilbert. Friday, the Seattle-based chain opens its 10th Valley location next to Trader Joe’s on the southeast corner of 40th Street and Chandler Boulevard in Ahwatukee.

The first 52 people in line when the doors open at noon will get a pizza or salad for free, and 100% of Friday’s sales will be donated to the United Phoenix Firefighters Charities.

MOD, which stands for Made On Demand, bakes its individual-sized pizzas in an 800-degree display oven in about three minutes. Besides pizzas, the menu offers three salads, garlic knots, and dessert.

Two more MODs are scheduled to open in the East Valley this summer – at Cooper and Warner in Gilbert and Ellsworth and Rittenhouse in Queen Creek.

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San Diego-based The Baked Bear opening in Scottsdale

BY Jess Harter Wednesday, May 18, 2016

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Made-to-order ice cream sandwiches seem to be a hot trend in the Valley.

Slickables debuted in downtown Tempe in 2012 and was so successful it added a spinoff location in downtown Mesa last year.

Earlier this year, downtown Chandler welcomed Ice Cream Sammies to rave reviews (see story).

Now, The Baked Bear, a San Diego-based chain, will make its Arizona debut on the northeast corner of Scottsdale and Shea in Scottsdale.

Like Ice Cream Sammies, The Baked Bear offers customers their choice of house-made ice cream sandwiched between two fresh-baked cookies.

Prefer something other than cookies? The Baked Bear also offers brownies and donuts to pair with your ice cream.

The store will celebrate its grand opening Saturday, May 28, by giving away free ice cream sandwiches from 1 to 3 p.m.

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