Mesa’s Steak & Stone to open location in Gilbert

BY Jess Harter Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Post image for Mesa’s Steak & Stone to open location in Gilbert

Steak and Stone, a steakhouse and BBQ restaurant that opened in December 2015 at Falcon Field in northeast Mesa, is opening a second location in Gilbert.

It’s taking over the former American Taphouse building on Gilbert Road, south of Warner, in Gilbert Town Square. Other previous occupants were BoomBozz Pizza and Boston’s Gourmet Pizza.

Steak and Stone’s signature menu items are steaks cut in-house and cooked at your table on a 500-degree stone (pictured).

No opening date has been announced.

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Post image for Like to try new restaurants? Here are 27 opening in the East Valley

Know a new restaurant coming to the East Valley that’s not on this list? Let me know at

This month

Brooklyn V’s Pizza: Family-run pizzeria, which debuted in Gilbert in 2014, is opening a second location on the southeast corner of Rittenhouse and Ellsworth in Queen Creek.

Meridiem Kitchen & Lounge: New all-day concept with American Southwest menu is opening on Price, just south of the Loop 202, in south Chandler.

Carolina’s Mexican Food: Five-decade Phoenix favorite finally is coming to East Valley with new location at Country Club and U.S. 60 in Mesa.


Jimmy T’s Holy Crab Shack: New Cajun seafood restaurant with full bar is taking over the former China King space on northwest corner of Alma School and Ray in Chandler.

Bush’s Chicken: Texas-based fast-food chain, known for its triple drive-throughs, is making E.V. debut on southeast corner of Val Vista and Williams Field in Gilbert.

Pita Jungle: Tempe-born chain of Mediterranean restaurants is opening 16th Valley location in Queen Creek, just south of Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport.

Old Ellsworth Brewing: Queen Creek’s first craft brewery is opening in the ex-The Manhattan Vine building on the southeast corner of Ellsworth and Ocotillo.

Osteria: Casual Italian eatery and bar coming to the southeast corner of McKellips and Alta Mesa in northeast Mesa.

Cider Corps: Craft cidery and (eventual) taproom is opening in downtown Mesa.

Freezer’s Ice House: Upscale sports bar and pool hall on southeast corner of Mill and Broadway in Tempe.
Old Ellsworth Brewing Company.

B2 Burgers & Brews: New burger-and-beer concept is taking over space formerly known as The Reef on Warner, just west of Arizona, in Chandler.

La Calabria: Mom-and-pop Italian restaurant, which closed in 2015, reopens at new location on southwest corner of Val Vista and Williams Field in Gilbert.

Ahipoki Bowl: California-based poke bowl concept is opening its sixth Arizona location at San Tan Village shopping center in Gilbert.

Steak and Stone: Utah-based steak & BBQ concept is opening a second E.V. location in the former American Taphouse building on Gilbert Road, just south of Warner, in Gilbert.

Hop Culture Kitchen: Oregon-based beer-focused restaurant and bar is retooling the ex-Elephant Bar in front of Chandler Fashion Center.

El Autentico: Mexican restaurant is opening in same plaza as Osteria (see above) on the southeast corner of McKellips and Alta Mesa in northeast Mesa.

Tempe Public Market Cafe: A sibling to the Phoenix Public Market Cafe is taking over a former Circle K on the northeast corner of Rural and Warner in south Tempe.

Rudy’s Bar-B-Q: Texas-based chain is opening its second East Valley restaurant on the northeast corner of Higley and Baseline in Gilbert.

Fall & beyond

Equal Parts: New northern Italian concept is revamping the former Vintage 95 space in downtown Chandler.

The Local Chandler: Upscale sports bar is taking over the former 55 Chicago building in downtown Chandler.

Firebirds Wood Fired Grill: North Carolina-based chain is opening its second E.V. location on the northwest corner of SanTan Village Parkway and Williams Field in Gilbert.

Ted’s Hot Dogs: Longtime Tempe favorite is opening a second location – with a drive-through – at Gilbert and Germann in Chandler.

Snooze, an A.M. Eatery: Denver-based chain is opening its fifth Valley location in front of the AMC Ahwatukee 24 movie theaters on the southwest corner of I-10 and Ray.

Flix Brewhouse: Texas-based theater and brew pub chain will anchor a new development in downtown Chandler.

OHSO Brewery: Brew pub’s fifth location will be located on the northeast corner of Gilbert and Vaughn, north of Dierks Bentley’s Whiskey Row.

Alamo Drafthouse Cinema: Texas-based theater and restaurant chain will open its second Arizona location on Baseline, between Rural and McClintock, in south Tempe.

Culinary Dropout at The Yard : Sam Fox will open his concept’s seventh AZ location across Gilbert Road from the Heritage Marketplace in downtown Gilbert.

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The Raging Bull, a huge sports bar & grill, opens in east Mesa

BY Jess Harter Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Post image for The Raging Bull, a huge sports bar & grill, opens in east Mesa

The Raging Bull, a large sports bar and grill, opened Monday on Power Road, between Broadway and Main (map), in east Mesa.

It takes over a building that began as Damon’s Grill more than a decade ago. It later became Fahrenheits and, most recently, was Conti’s Bar & Grill.

The nearly 7,000-square-foot restaurant, one of the largest sports bars in the East Valley, is a work in progress.

When I stopped in for lunch Tuesday, none of the 16 beer taps were hooked up. (They were working on it.) In the meantime, the bar offers beer in bottles and cans, as well as wine and cocktails.

Similarly, the kitchen is doing a condensed food menu for now – mostly apps, burgers, and sandwiches, although there’s a pretty good selection to choose from.

Look for a full menu to be unveiled in a couple weeks.


The food

I tried the basic burger, The Angus ($11 with fries, pictured). The half-pound burger, obviously never frozen, was delicious – grilled to perfection with a nice char – and served on a toasted bun.

The fries lacked crispness and were somewhat tasteless; next time I’ll try one of the other options, which include home fries, sweet potato fries, tater tots, house-made chips, and jalapeno cole slaw.

(Disclaimer: If you like the fries at In-N-Out, you’d probably like these. They’re very similar in texture and taste. To each their own.)

I did like how the meal arrived informally on a paper-lined tray. Delivering two napkins, knife, and fork in a one-quart Mason jar, though, seemed overly cutesy.


The scene

The three-sided bar (shown above) divides the main dining room from a lounge area with games.

Sports fans will love the TVs covering every wall, including four large screens in the main dining area (below). I counted more than two dozen screens inside, but there were more on the large patio.

According to its website, The Raging Bull offers free sample wings – like the burgers, never frozen – to everyone seated between 5 and 6 p.m. on Mondays and Thursdays.

Happy hour runs 4-9 p.m. Monday-Friday.


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Post image for New all-day restaurant Meridiem scheduled to open May 10 in south Chandler

Ante meridiem – better known by the abbreviation a.m. – is Latin for ‘‘before midday.’’ Post meridiem, or p.m., is ‘‘after midday.’’

I mention this not as a language lesson, but an explanation for the name of Meridiem Kitchen & Lounge, a new all-day restaurant scheduled to open May 10 in south Chandler.

‘‘The most important thing we want people to know is we’re an all-day destination’’ says Ryan Watson, general manager and co-owner with Anthony Fiorentino.

‘‘We’re upscale in decor, but casual in pricing and atmosphere.’’

Located on Price Road just south of the Loop 202 (map), Meridiem is a striking structure enclosed on three sides by high glass walls (shown below) with six sets of sliding doors opening to a wrap-around patio.

There obviously was a lot of work still to do when I visited last week, but the cement floor was about to be polished, and tables, chairs, and sofas had arrived and were waiting next door.


The space

The 5,000-square-foot building (not counting the patio, which adds another 2,500) sits off a large greenbelt and is divided into two main areas.

The ‘‘a.m. side,’’ accented in gray and light blue, seats 40 inside, including 10 at a pewter maple breakfast bar, and another 30 on a small patio.

The larger ‘‘p.m. side’’ (shown below), in gray and dark blue, has its own 22-seat dark maple bar, a glass case for 700 bottles of wine, and seating for 100 inside and 100 outside.

The space, however, will be flexible. During the week, the ‘‘a.m. side’’ will be available as a private meeting room in afternoons and evenings. Both sides likely will be used to accommodate weekend crowds.


The pedigree

Watson, a Scottsdale native and Chandler resident, has 17 years of experience in the Valley’s food and beverage scene, starting at Flo’s and now-defunct Barcelona.

For the past seven years he’s been at The Living Room, where he’s one of several partners in the group that also operates Humble Pie, Chop, and Rock Lobster.

It was at The Living Room he developed a friendship with Fiorentino, an Intel engineer who’s a frequent patron of the Chandler wine bar.

Jeremy Lopo, a chef Watson worked with at The Living Room, will head Meridiem’s kitchen. The menu, Watson says, will be American Southwest.


Food & drink

Don’t look for anything overly fancy or expensive. Breakfast, for example, will focus on basics like eggs, bacon, pancakes, etc. ‘‘I like a traditional breakfast,’’ Watson (pictured above) says.

For his beverage program, Watson is doing 60 wines by the bottle and 20 by the glass, a lineup of craft cocktails and a separate lineup of Old Fashioneds, and six beers on tap.

While wine lounges like Postino and The Living Room have popularized the $5 glass of wine special, Meridiem will offer a $4 glass.

There will be DJ music Thursday through Saturday, and acoustic performers during weekend brunch.

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Beer ’n’ Bones FUNdraiser

The Arizona Museum of Natural History in downtown Mesa holds its fifth annual fundraiser – a fun evening of local craft beer, food bites, games, and, of course, dinosaurs – from 7-11 p.m. today. Admission to the 21-and-over event is $20, which includes your first beer. Food and brew tickets are $4 each or four for $12. Custom pint glasses, shot glasses and dino novelties are available in the museum store.

Taste of Arizona spirits

Sample distilled spirits from around the state when Adventurous Stills in Tempe kicks off a new event from 5-8 p.m. today. Try bourbon from Prescott’s Thumb Butte or whiskey from Tucson’s Hamilton Distillery, among other spirits, for $4 per taste.

Chandler Craft Spirits Fest

Sip premium spirits and craft cocktails, along with beer and wine, from 5-9 p.m. Saturday at the fourth annual festival at Downtown Ocotillo in south Chandler. Online tickets are $40 for general admission and $60 for VIP, which includes early entrance at 4.

Goldwater Brewing anniversary

The Scottsdale brewery celebrates its second anniversary with a block party from 4-10 p.m. Saturday. Admission to the all-ages event is free. Their Anniversary Barley Wine will be tapped at 4. Left Coast Burrito Co. and Brat Haus will provide food.

Epicuriad 2017

The annual fundraiser for the Beers for Brain Foundation features 12 local chefs, craft beers and fine wines from 7:30-10 p.m. Saturday at Allstate Appliances in north Scottsdale. Tickets are $49, or $75 for VIP, which includes early entrance at 6:30.

Elvira’s Belizean Cafe

Elvira’s Belizean Cafe throws a grand opening party all day Saturday at the Latin American restaurant near Alma School and Warner in Chandler. The fun includes DJs, a magician, face painting, raffles, and giveaways.

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Barrio Brewing makes some of Arizona’s best craft beers. Starting Monday, a dozen of them will be available on tap every day in southeast Mesa.

That’s when the 26-year-old Tucson brewery opens its long-awaited taproom at Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport. Doors open at 10 a.m.

Contrary to popular belief, the taproom is not located in the airport’s passenger terminal. Instead, it’s just a couple of buildings to the north (5803 S. Sossaman, Building 45, map), right off the runway.

The taproom takes over a 1,200-square-foot space formerly occupied by the Flight Deck Cafe, as well as an adjoining space.

Parking is free, and there are no security checkpoints to deal with.


The space

At 3,500 square feet, the taproom is a 198-seat space with a concrete-and-corrugated-metal bar that seats 19, high- and low-top tables, a sidewalk patio, and eight TVs. Oh, yeah – and 12 taps, all pouring Barrio beers.

A series of large windows on the east wall look out onto the runway, where patrons can watch military and commercial aircraft take off and land. A mix of beer signs and aviation items will decorate the walls.

A 19-foot shuffleboard game is due to be installed in May, and there are three bean bag toss games for the public greenbelt area (with gazebo, pictured below) beyond the front patio.

There’s also a full kitchen serving breakfast (eventually), lunch, and dinner. It’s the exact same menu (and prices) as the Tucson brew pub.


The history

Brewer Dennis Arnold and his wife, Tauna, launched Gentle Ben’s Brewing next to the University of Arizona in 1981. In 2006, they took over a warehouse near downtown Tucson and came up with the name Barrio.

Barrio’s core beers include its flagship Barrio Blonde, Citrazona IPA, Nolan’s Porter (a Great American Beer Festival gold medal winner) and Barrio Rojo (a GABF bronze medalist).

For the Mesa location, Arnold partnered with Kind Hospitality, which recently opened the OHSO Brewery location at Phoenix Sky Harbor. Kind also operates the Mesa passenger terminal’s three eateries, among others.

“It’s amazing what Dennis has done with Barrio,’’ says Kind CEO Nava Singam. ‘‘He took an out-of-the-way location in an area with no traffic and built it into a ‘destination’ in Tucson.’’


The details

Arnold will be checking in on the Mesa taproom at least once a week ‘‘to make sure everything meets his high standards,’’ Singam says.

The taproom still is discussing whether to offer beer sampler flights, Singam says, but growler fills definitely will be available.

The tap room will have a two-week soft opening with daily hours of 10 a.m.-9 p.m. After that, it’ll be open from 6:30 a.m.-9 p.m. Sunday-Thursday and 6:30 a.m.-11 p.m. Friday-Saturday.

Happy hour will run from 3-6 p.m. Monday-Friday. Deals will include $5 drafts and half-price appetizers.

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Modern Grove closes Mesa location, 2 others still open

BY Jess Harter Tuesday, April 25, 2017


Modern Grove Neighborhood Eatery & Market, a two-year-old casual restaurant with a front lawn patio, has closed its doors on the northwest corner of Gilbert and Brown in north Mesa.

The concept – which offers a menu of burgers, sandwiches, and pizzas – is the brainchild of developer Aaron Klusman, the founder of Chandler-based Zoyo Yogurt.

Modern Grove launched in Flagstaff in 2013 and eventually opened three Valley locations with plans for more. It’s now down to two locations: Scottsdale and northeast Phoenix.

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Vintage 95 Chandler AZ Vintage 95, a five-year-old restaurant and wine bar in downtown Chandler, closed its doors over the weekend.

But there is some good news: A brand-new concept from some well-known East Valley restaurateurs is taking its place.

The new venture is a partnership between Julian Wright, owner of Pedal Haus Brewery in downtown Tempe, and Jim Bob and Kelsey Strothers, owners of Worth Takeaway in downtown Mesa.

‘‘It will be called Equal Parts and be equal parts bar and restaurant with fairly equal indoor-outdoor dining environments,’’ Wright explains.

At this point, final details are still being worked out.

‘‘We will most likely have an exhibition kitchen featuring rustic northern Italian cuisine cooked over hardwood and featuring many local food partners,’’ Wright says. ‘‘We’ll also have local craft beer and a good cocktail program.’’


Wright (pictured) is well-known to Mill Avenue diners. His previous concepts include The Library, La Bocca Urban PizzeriaModern Margarita, and The Handlebar, among others.

Wright sold La Bocca and Modern Margarita last year, and the new owners expanded each to downtown Chandler. Now Wright is heading that direction, too.

‘‘We’re excited to join our other restaurant friends in Chandler as we think downtown Chandler has a great vibe and we love the historic nature of the 95 W. Boston building,’’ he says.


Craig and Tricia Hills, along with Gavin Jacobs, opened Vintage 95 in November 2011, taking over short-lived Asian restaurant Siracha.

Jacobs eventually left the restaurant and launched The Brickyard Downtown just two doors down.

Look for Equal Parts to start construction in May and open in September.

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Southwest Cajun Fest

From noon-9 p.m Saturday, Angry Crab Shack, Creole Cajun Bistro, and Eddy Dee’s will be among the restaurants providing Cajun food in downtown Chandler. The fest also will feature live music and themed zones such as Bourbon Street, the French Quarter, and the Garden District and more. Patrons of all ages are encouraged to dress in festive parade-style attire. Eating competitions will include watermelon, Cajun wings, and crawfish.Admission is $8 online or $10 at the gate.

Frozen Creamery grand opening

Although it’s been open for five months, Frozen Creamery in Gilbert finally will throw a grand-opening party this weekend. Today, there will be cold brew shake samples (all day), Miranda the Lipstick Reader (6-7:30 p.m.), and live music (7:30-9:30); Sunday, cold brew float samples (all day) and Ursa the Frozen Creamery Princess (1-3).

Hob Knobs 9th anniversary

Chandler sports grill Hob Knobs will celebrate its ninth anniversary with live music tonight, the Blackhawks NHL playoff game Saturday, and a 3 p.m. pig roast Sunday. Specials (available 7 p.m.-2 a.m. Friday and all day Sunday) will include $1 Jell-O shots, $2 Old Style cans, and $3 domestic drafts.

Jolie’s Place 5th anniversary

From 11 a.m.-8 p.m. Saturday, Jolie’s Place in Chandler will host ‘‘A Taste of Old-Time Chandler,’’ featuring barbecue dishes and live music. Games will include Corn Hole and horseshoes, and there will be raffles and drawings to support Fans Across America.

Danky’s Free Bar-B-Q Day

From noon-2 p.m. Saturday, Danky’s BBQ in Phoenix will hold its second annual benefit for Phoenix Children’s Hospital. The barbecue is free, and 100% of donations and T-shirt sales will be donated. The rest of the day, all tips and 20% of sales will be donated.

AZ International food trucks

From 6-10 p.m. Saturday, AZ International Marketplace in west Mesa will host its first food truck festival. Participating trucks will include The Lemongrass Shack, Flippin’ Rice, and Thai Saap. There also will be a live DJ, free face painting, free raffles, and bouncy houses for kids.

Bar Viñedo’s Spring Fling

From 2-5 p.m. Saturday, Queen Creek wine bar Bar Viñedo will throw its second annual Spring Fling with complentary wine, beers, and spirits tastings and great discounts on purchases to take home. There also will be live music and 15-plus local vendors.

French Toast Eating Contest

From 10 a.m.-noon Sunday, recently opened Even Stevens in Tempe will hold an all-ages contest during brunch with a $25 gift card for first place. All-you-can-eat French toast is $3.75. Space is limited, so email to sign up.

Sausage Fest at Brat Haus

From noon-8 p.m. Sunday, Brat Haus will be serving several kinds of brats, pretzels and a variety of craft beers. They’ll attempt to best their state-recond 120-foot brat, plus there will be stein-holding and Giant Jenga competitions. Admission is a $5 donation to Honor Flight.

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Coming to Gilbert: Rudy’s Bar-B-Q & Firebirds Wood Fired Grill

BY Jess Harter Wednesday, April 19, 2017


Proving that not all restaurants coming to Gilbert are opening downtown:

Texas-based Rudy’s Country Store & Bar-B-Q will open its second East Valley restaurant on the northeast corner of Higley and Baseline. The chain made its Arizona debut in west Chandler in 2012.

Although the original Rudy’s opened in 1929, it didn’t start serving BBQ until 1989. Unlike most Texas BBQ joints, Rudy’s uses oak instead of mesquite to smoke its meats.


Firebirds Wood Fired Grill, a chophouse chain out of North Carolina, will open its second E.V. location on the northwest corner of SanTan Village Parkway and Williams Field at SanTan Village.

The first E.V. location opened at Chandler Fashion Center more than a decade ago. Firebirds grills its meats over over hickory, oak or pecan.

No opening date for either restaurant has been announced.

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