New Restaurants

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

BY Jess Harter Friday, September 22, 2017

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

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.

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

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

BY Jess Harter Tuesday, September 19, 2017

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

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.

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

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

BY Jess Harter Monday, September 18, 2017

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

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.

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

Salad and Go announces 1st Queen Creek location

BY Jess Harter Friday, September 8, 2017

Post image for Salad and Go announces 1st Queen Creek location

Fast-growing drive-through chain Salad and Go, which just opened its 10th Valley location in west Chandler, isn’t slowing down. The Gilbert-based concept has announced its first Queen Creek location on the southeast corner of Ellsworth and Rittenhouse. No opening date has been announced, but look for it in early 2018.

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

PDQ to make AZ debut Sunday in Paradise Valley

BY Jess Harter Thursday, September 7, 2017

Post image for PDQ to make AZ debut Sunday in Paradise Valley

PDQ – a fast-growing, Florida-based fast-food chain specializing in chicken tenders, chicken nuggets, and chicken sandwiches – will make its Arizona debut at 10:30 a.m. Sunday next to Paradise Valley Mall on Cactus, just west of Tatum. The first 50 people in line will get a free lunch, a $50 gift card, and a swag bag.

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

Opening today: b2 Burgers & Brews

BY Jess Harter Monday, September 4, 2017

Post image for Opening today: b2 Burgers & Brews

B2 Burgers & Brews opens at 11 a.m. today on Warner, just west of Arizona, in Chandler. The strip-mall space formerly was home to The Reef and, before that, The Draft House. The family-friendly venue offers 14 specialty burgers (see menu), 20 beers on tap for adults, and pool, air hockey, and video games for kids of all ages.

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

Now open: The Local Chandler

BY Jess Harter Monday, September 4, 2017

Post image for Now open: The Local Chandler

The Local Chandler, a sports-themed restaurant and lounge, has opened in the former 55 Chicago building, next to The Perch brewpub, in downtown Chandler. The venue features 25 TVs and a projector on the back patio. The kitchen (see menu) offers burgers, sandwiches, flatbreads, and tacos.

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

Even Stevens opens newest Valley location today in downtown Chandler

BY Jess Harter Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Post image for Even Stevens opens newest Valley location today in downtown Chandler

Even Stevens – a Utah-based chain that donates a sandwich to a non-profit for every sandwich it sells – opens its seventh Arizona location today in downtown Chandler.

It takes over the former bridal store on Boston, just west of Arizona Avenue.

The lunch and dinner menu features a dozen sandwiches ($7.95-$8.95) with creative twists, such as the Banh Belly (banh mi with pork belly), the Mihami Vice (Cuban with roast pork and ham), and the Jackfruit Torta.

The breakfast menu has breakfast sandwiches, burritos (pictured above), and stuffed French toast.

Unlike most sandwich shops, Even Stevens serves alcohol, including local craft beers, domestic beers, mimosas, and Bloody Marys.

Even Stevens is open 7 a.m.-10 p.m. Monday-Saturday and 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Sunday.

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

New dessert shop in Chandler specializes in Thai rolled ice cream

BY Jess Harter Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Post image for New dessert shop in Chandler specializes in Thai rolled ice cream

Have you tried Thai rolled ice cream yet? The East Valley’s newest purveyor is I Roll Thai Ice Cream, which just opened on the southeast corner of Dobson and Ray in Chandler.

Thai rolled ice cream is created when ice cream ‘‘batter’ is frozen in crepe-like sheets, cut into strips, rolled into tubes, and covered with toppings.

I Roll Thai Ice Cream offers five flavors of ice cream: Original, coffee, chocolate, green tea, and mango.

Topping options include strawberries, blueberries, sprinkles, gummy bears, pretzels, marshmallows, peanuts, pecans, M&Ms, Kit Kats, Oreos, and more.

I Roll Thai Ice Cream is open from noon-10 p.m. Sunday-Thursday and noon-11 p.m. Friday-Saturday.

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

Collaborations are bringing 6 new restaurants to Phoenix & Scottsdale

BY Jess Harter Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Post image for Collaborations are bringing 6 new restaurants to Phoenix & Scottsdale

Restaurant collaborations seem to be trending in the Valley. Plans for at least six new restaurants in Phoenix and Scottsdale recently have been announced.

Mama Linda’s

Gadzooks Enchiladas and Soup and Wren House Brewing Company are joining forces on Mama Linda’s, a new bakery and restaurant on the northwest corner of 20th Street and Osborn.

The common denominator is the brothers Poole – Aaron is co-owner of Gadzooks and Drew is co-owner of Wren House.

They hope to open in about a month.

Roland’s

Nadia Holguin and Armando Hernandez of Tacos Chiwas are teaming up with Chris Bianco of Pizzeria Bianco to launch Roland’s, a new restaurant at Van Buren and 15th Street.

The trio have yet to determine what kind of food – Italian, Mexican, a hybrid of the two or something else entirely – will be served.

The opening is planned for late this year.

Starlite BBQ

Walter Sterling and Sacha Levine – the chefs who collaborated to open Ocotillo in 2015 – are getting together again to launch Starlite BBQ on the northeast corner of Indian School and Miller roads in Scottsdale.

Their goal is to create a casual hangout with an atmosphere somewhere between polished corporate places and no-frills joints.

They’re planning an opening late this year.

ShinBay & Sizzle

Shinji Kurita, who closed his acclaimed Japanese fine-dining restaurant ShinBay last year, and Hyunwook Lee, who debuted Sizzle Korean Barbecue (pictured above) last year at Desert Ridge, are dividing a 4,000-square-foot building on the southwest corner of Scottsdale Road and Second Street in Old Town Scottsdale.

Kurita will reopen ShinBay and Lee will launch his second Sizzle.

Look for the openings of both in early 2018.

Ocean 44

Brothers Jeff and Mike Mastro are hooking up with their father, Dennis Mastro, and his partner Scott Troilio, who own Steak 44, on a seafood version called Ocean 44 on the site of the former Harkins Camelview theaters at Highland and Goldwater in Scottsdale.

The Mastros are the namesakes of Mastro’s Steakhouses, which the family sold a decade ago. The elder Matsro and Troilo also run Dominick’s Steakhouse.

Ocean 44 is scheduled to open in late 2018.

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