Post image for Amazing Jake’s in Mesa undergoing renovations, food & beverage upgrades

After 10 years, Amazing Jake’s entertainment center in Mesa is undergoing a massive renovation, including an upgrade of its food and beverage offerings and a new name – Jake’s Unlimited.

Starting this week, Jake’s is closed for construction Mondays through Thursdays, but remains open to the public Fridays through Sundays. Construction is scheduled to continue through September.

The 87,000-square foot building on Baseline, west of Gilbert, is getting new paint, flooring, lighting, and finishes (artist’s rendering shown above).

New attractions will include a dual-level laser tag arena, VIP bowling suites, six mini bowling lanes, an open-space bumper car arena, a custom-designed carnival-style ride, more than 170 arcade games, midway games, a full redemption store, and an expanded kid zone.

The former all-you-can-eat buffet will be revamped by executive chef Scott Nelson, who will also introduce an a la carte menu. There will be two full bars for guests to enjoy specialty cocktails, wine, and beer.

Jake’s Unlimited also will debut Jake’s After Dark, an adults-only happy hour starting at 8 p.m. daily. The event will include DJs, food specials, drink specials, and attraction specials.

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Post image for Aug. 24: ‘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, Aug. 24.

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

  • Greek Skins
  • Mediterranean Salad
  • Kasseri Chicken
  • Ravioli Marco Polo
  • Cheesecake Brownies

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

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Post image for SunUp Brewing celebrates 16th anniversary with 3-day party this weekend

SunUp Brewing in Phoenix celebrates its 16th anniversary today through Sunday with 16 house beers on tap, three special beer releases, live music, and prize giveaways.

The craft brewery also will kick off the full release of its Sunna’s Nektar Braggot (bottle purchases only).

Prizes, which will be given away in hourly drawings all weekend, will include brewery schwag and other goodies. The grand prize is breakfast and hot air balloon trip for two.

The three limited-release beers:

  • Lil Tart Cherry Hefe
  • 2014 Barleywine
  • 2015 Barleywine

A special anniversary T-shirt will be on sale while supplies last.

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Post image for Adventurous Stills in Tempe to release Peralta Bourbon Cask 001 on Saturday

Tempe distillery Adventurous Stills releases the first cask of its Peralta Bourbon, which it’s billing as the only bourbon made exclusively in the Valley available for purchase, on Saturday.

For those who didn’t pre-order, approximately 60 bottles will be for sale on a first-come, first-served basis.

The distillery, which opened in January near Price and Fifth Street, will offer free bourbon samples and $5 cocktails from 5-9 p.m. Saturday.

On Sunday, Adventurous Stills will host its second ‘‘Day at the Distillery.’’ From 7 a.m.-5 p.m., participants learn how spirits are made and get to participate in the process.

Cost for the day is $150, which includes breakfast and lunch. A $75 deposit is required to reserve a spot. See more info here.

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Post image for Win beer for a year as Casual Pint celebrates 1st anniversary Saturday

The Casual Pint, a craft beer bar and store in south Chandler, celebrates its one-year anniversary with a party from 3-10 p.m. Saturday.

Beer for a year will be just one of several raffle prizes. Another prize will be a New Belgium bicycle.

The party’s tap list has not been released yet.

Live music will be performed by Kassi Jayde and Steve Ayotte.

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Post image for Flancer’s unveils winning names from customers for new breakfast menu items

You have to admire the creativity of Flancer’s customers. The restaurant recently asked for help in coming up with clever, tongue-in-cheek names for the items on its new breakfast menu.

Here are the winning entries (which earned free gift certificates):

  • Smothered breakfast burrito: Hunk ‘a Burnin Love
  • Eggs un-Benedict: B-b-b Benny and the Eggs
  • Avocado toast: California Dreamin’
  • Potato & chorizo hash: The Notorious P.I.G
  • Pancakes: Leader of the Stack
  • Hand-held breakfast sandwich: Two Handed Heaven
  • Egg & cheddar biscuit: Mind Your Own Biscuit
  • Hand held breakfast burrito: I Want To Hold Your Hand-held Burrito
  • The Standard: Good Day Sunshine
  • Make your own scramble or omelet: Go Your Own Way
  • Steak & eggs: When a Cow loves a Chicken
  • Biscuit & sausage gravy plate: Goin’ Off the Rails on a Gravy Train

Flancer’s, which has locations in Gilbert and northeast Mesa, serves breakfast from 8-11 a.m. Friday-Sunday.

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Post image for Scottsdale Beer Company, Quail Distributing reach agreement

Scottsdale Beer Company, Arizona’s eighth-largest brew pub in terms of production volume, soon will be providing its beers to bars, restaurants, and stores throughout the state.

Valley-based Quail Distributing will begin delivering SBC beers in mid-September.

“It brings us great pride to team up with such a well-respected local brewery,’’ says Shawn Hillman, portfolio manager for Quail.

‘‘Scottsdale Beer Company’s dedication to freshness, craftsmanship and community involvement are major factors in why we are so thrilled to join forces,’’ Hillman says. ‘‘We couldn’t be happier about our new partnership.”

SBC was founded in 2014 by Douglas Ledger and Tom Davidson, who hired head brewer Brad Williams to oversee the 10-barrel brewing system.

It’s most popular beers include East Coast Grove IPA, Downshift Session IPA, Big Mouth Blonde Ale, and East End Amber Ale.

“It’s truly an honor to partner with an organization like Quail,” Ledger says. “We consider it a huge success to be in a portfolio that houses more than a handful of world-class breweries.”

A series of launch events will be held the week of Sept. 18.

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Post image for Tonight: San Diego breweries tap takeover at Flanny’s in Tempe

Discussions about the Valley’s craft beer scene – especially questions about possible over-saturation – inevitably seem to lead to comparisons to San Diego.

That’s not surprising. With roughly four million residents, Maricopa County is the fourth-largest in the U.S. With more than three million, San Diego County is the fifth-largest.

But while San Diego has only 75 percent of Maricopa’s population, it supports twice as many breweries – approximately 100 to 50.

Find out more about San Diego craft beer when three of the city’s top breweries – Stone Brewing, Modern Times, and Pizza Port – are featured in this month’s tap takeover at 6 tonight at Flanny’s Bar & Grill in Tempe.

Here are tonight’s tap lists (Stone separated Arrogant Bastard into its own product line in 2015):

Stone Brewing

  • Stone Ripper
  • Stone Tangerine Express IPA
  • Stone Ruination 2.0 Double IPA
  • Stone Mocha IPA
  • Stone Ghost Hammer IPA
  • Stone Enjoy By 9.4.17 Unfiltered IPA
  • Stone 21st Anniversary Hail To The Hop Thief Double IPA
  • Drew Curtis/Wil Wheaton/Greg Koch/Stone Farking Wheaton w00t Stout

Arrogant Brewing

  • Who You Callin’ Wussie Pilsner

Modern Times

  • Fruitlands
  • Blazing World
  • Lomaland
  • Fortunate Islands
  • Orderville
  • Rowing Needles
  • Oneida
  • Funky Universal Friend
  • Black House (nitro)

Pizza Port

  • Grandview Golden Ale
  • Chronic Amber Ale
  • Ponto S.I.P.A.
  • Pickleweed Point IPA
  • Swami’s IPA
  • Kook Double IPA

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Post image for Tonight: Beer 101 class with Perch Brewery at BottleShop 48 in Tempe

BottleShop 48 in Tempe will host its first Beer 101 class with The Perch Brewery from Chandler at 6:30 p.m. today.

The Perch brewer Steene Routh will discuss how beer is made, beer terminology, and popular styles of beer.

Cost is $10 per person and include three 10-ounce pours.

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Post image for Quartiere scheduled to open in late October in ex-Riazzi’s space in Tempe

Yesterday MXSW broke the news that the just-closed Riazzi’s Italian Garden in Tempe would be replaced by a new restaurant called Quartiere. Today we have details.

Like Riazzi’s, which had operated for 72 years before closing earlier this week, Quartiere will be a neighborhood Italian restaurant.

New owner Erick Geryol first discovered Riazzi’s one day when he picked up his young kids from their school nearby.

‘‘I grew up with that type of cuisine (in Waukegan, Ill.),’’ he says. ‘‘I remember sitting with a friend at the bar at Riazzi’s and thinking, ‘What a great neighborhood place.’’’

When he recently heard the restaurant was for sale, and the best offer had been a low-ball bid from a dental office, he was interested.

‘‘Looking at new places is a bit of a hobby,’’ admits Geryol, who owns neighborhood sports bars Boulders on Broadway and Spokes on Southern in Tempe and Boulders on Southern in Mesa.

In this case, things worked out and the sale to Geryol now is all but complete, just awaiting some logistical matters like the removal of a cell tower from the property.

RiazzisInterior081617

Geryol considered gutting the 5,000-square-foot building on Mill Avenue, halfway between Broadway and Southern, but felt he didn’t have the time. He plans to reopen in just 10 weeks.

(Like most people, he was surprised by Riazzi’s owners’ decision to suddenly close before the sale was finalized. He is looking to find short-term jobs at his other restaurants for Riazzi’s employees.)

Instead of a complete overhaul, Geryol says he will focus on ‘‘floor and texture upgrades,’’ including a new bar, new tile, new booths, and new tables and chairs.

Another area of new emphasis will be Riazzi’s under-utilized garden patio with fireplace and (currently) non-working fountain.

Geryol, who has extensive experience cooking for Italian restaurants, will personally create a new menu, keeping dishes at the same $13-$14 price point.

RiazzisFountain081617

Quarteire, he says, will be a major departure from the sports bar/outdoors theme of his other restaurants. No walls of TVs. No long lists of craft beers (but some European imports instead).

The name change is necessary, he says, because Riazzi’s owners want to ‘‘retire’’ the original name.

Quartiere is Italian for ‘‘neighborhood.’’ It derives from the word quatro, or ‘‘fourth,’’ referencing the way Italian cities typically were divided into four regions.

Either way, it seems the perfect name for Geryol’s fourth neighborhood restaurant.

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