Bra-istas Coffee Bar opens in Glendale, more Valley locations planned

BY Jess Harter Wednesday, March 22, 2017

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MXSW’s West Valley readers often complain all the ‘‘good stuff’’ opens in the East Valley. But now there’s something new just for westsiders.

Bra-istas Coffee Bar, staffed by baristas in ‘‘classy corsets,’’ has opened on the southeast corner of 67th Avenue and Glendale in Glendale.

Besides a full range of hot and cold coffee drinks, smoothies, and protein drinks, the 1,100-square-foot venue also serves paninis, pretzels, and muffins.

Bra-istas is open from 6 a.m.-6 p.m. weekdays, 7 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday, and closed Sunday.

And there’s some good news for any interested East Valley residents: Bra-istas’ owners reportedly plan to open more Valley locations.

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Former Arizona Republic restaurant critic Howard Seftel, who parted ways with the newspaper in 2015, has returned to the Valley food scene with a new online video series.

Entitled ‘‘Turning the Tables with Howard Seftel,’’ the five-minute videos are intended to give viewers a behind-the-scenes look at the top local restaurants and chefs.

‘‘One of my pet peeves is dishonest food criticism and advertorial, or free meals disguised as independent opinions,’’ says the formerly anonymous critic (pictured above). ‘‘People deserve the honest truth and true expert reviews.’’

The first video, which is already online, features Scott Holmes and his award-winning Little Miss BBQ in Phoenix. See it here.

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Get free food Thursday at grand opening of Uberrito in Arcadia

BY Jess Harter Wednesday, March 22, 2017

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Texas-based Tex-Mex fast-food chain Uberrito celebrates the grand opening its second Valley location at 10:45 a.m. Thursday on the southwest corner of 44th Street and Indian School in Arcadia.

The first 100 customers will receive a free meal, a T-shirt, and a loyalty card good for a free burrito every week for a year.

All other customers can get a burrito, drink, and cookie for just $2.99 all day. You also can spin a prize wheel to win food or promotional items.

Ubberito, which until 2014 was known as Mission Burrito, offers build-your-own burritos, bowls, tacos, nachos, and salads.

The first Arizona location opened last March in Scottsdale.

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Thursday: Elevation brewer & Paint Night at 55 Chicago in Chandler

BY Jess Harter Wednesday, March 22, 2017

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Downtown Chandler’s 55 Chicago is hosting a pair of events Thursday.

From 5-7 p.m., you can stop by and meet the head brewer from Elevation Brewing. The Colorado brewery’s notable offerings include Apis IV quad, Oil Man imperial stout, and First Cast IPA.

From 6-8:30 p.m., an artist from Burst of Butterflies will help you create the Dandelion Trio during a Paint Night. The $32 class includes canvas and all painting supplies. Register here.

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Ted’s Hot Dogs, a Tempe institution for 34 years, plans to open a second location at Gilbert and Germann in Chandler late this year.

Meanwhile, the aging Tempe location will get a cosmetic facelift. Three weeks of renovations will take place in late May or June, according to ASU student newspaper The State Press.

Besides a variety of hot dogs, Ted’s menu also offers sausages, burgers, and chicken breasts – all cooked over hardwood charcoal.

The western New York-based chain, which was launched in 1929, opened its sole out-of-state location when Spiro Liaros, son of company founder Theodore Liaros, retired to Arizona in 1983.

Spiro Liaros, who lived in Ahwatukee, passed away in 2013.

The new Chandler location will feature a couple of firsts for Ted’s: Online ordering and a drive-through. Its opening is targeted between Thanksgiving and Christmas.

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Yet another change is coming to the former World of Beer in downtown Tempe, which morphed into Wasted Grain in October.

By the end of this month, the space will introduce a new concept, The Funky Monk.

Square One Concepts, best known for its Cold Beers & Cheeseburgers, took over the faltering WOB franchise, as well as the one in Tucson, in September.

Both were quickly converted to Square One’s Wasted Grain concept, which was launched in Scottsdale in 2014.

Now, Square One instead has decided to switch gears and convert the Tempe and Tucson locations to an all-new concept.

According to a company spokesperson, The Funky Monk will have ‘‘a handcrafted cocktail program featuring a variety of mules, floats, and signature drinks.’’

For food, there will be ‘‘traditional American fare with a snappy twist.’’

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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.

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

  • Feta Dill Fritters: A blend of gyros meat, feta cheese, fresh dill, spinach, and pine nuts. With yogurt sauce.
  • Teriyaki Chicken Salad: Sauteed chicken, black beans, cilantro, tomatoes, onions, avocado, feta, and lemon over romaine.
  • Goat Shrimp: Bacon-wrapped jumbo shrimp with feta and sun-dried tomato stuffing. Served with sauteed vegetables.
  • Paella Barcelona: Shrimp, chicken, clams, Italian sausage, vegetables, and brown rice (pictured).
  • Ricotta-Cherry Tart

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

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It’s Taco Tuesday! Here are today’s East Valley taco deals

BY Jess Harter Tuesday, March 21, 2017

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El Palacio: $1.50 tacos & $3 Mexican draft beers

Baja’s Joe’s Mexican Cantina: $2.50 tacos

The Hungry Monk: $2 tacos (fillings change weekly)

Ocotillo Golf Resort: $2 carne asada or chicken adobado tacos (pictured above) & $4 house margaritas after 6 p.m.

Social Box Neighborhood Eatery: Buy one Taco Trio, get a second for $6

Pier 54: $2.50 smoked chicken, pork or brisket tacos, $3 mahi mahi or shrimp tacos; $1 off Modelos, Coronas and Dos Equis; $5 margaritas after 3 p.m.

La Fonda: 99-cent tacos; $2 Dos Equis lager cans

Cogburn’s: $1 chicken or beef street tacos

Devil’s Advocate: $1 tacos; $1 domestic pints from 11 a.m.-4 p.m.

Los Taquitos: $1 tacos

Jolie’s Place: $1 tacos from 11 a.m.-6 p.m.

Los Taquitos: $1 carnitas, pastor, and chicken tacos

Rancho de Tia Rosa: With purchase of any beverage, get $1 Tijuana Tacos, $1 rice or beans, $1 chips and salsa in the cantina/bar area

Backyard Taco: $1.49 tacos from 2-10 p.m.

JoyrideTaco House: $2 tacos & $5 margaritas from 2 p.m.-close

AZ Wilderness Brewing: $2 house pork tacos and a weekly specialty taco (price varies)

Sandbar: $2 tacos; $2 Dos Equis; $4 house margaritas

Philly’s Sports Bar & Grill: $2 Rocky Point tacos & $3 domestic pints

Macayo’s Mexican Kitchen: $2 tacos & tostadas at the bar or on patio

Someburros: $2 shredded beef, shredded chicken, or ground beef-and-potato tacos

Isabel’s Amor: $2 street tacos

America’s Taco Shop Chandler: $2 tacos

Dos Gringos: $3 for two chicken and chorizo or shredded beef tacos; $3 for two crispy tacos; $4 for two tostadas; $4 monster tacos

Blasted Barley: $3 fish or house tacos, $3 Mexican beers & $5 margaritas

24 Carrots: Buy 4 tacos, get the 5th one free

SoCal Fish Taco Co.: Buy any taco plate, get another for half-price

Tortilla Fish: Buy 2 tacos or quesadilla, get a third one free

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Opening today: Backyard Taco at Agritopia in Gilbert

BY Jess Harter Monday, March 20, 2017

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Backyard Taco opens its second East Valley location at 10 a.m. today at Agritopia on the southwest corner of Higley and the 202 in Gilbert.

After a decade of grilling carne asada tacos in their Mesa backyard for friends and neighbors, Ruben and Maricela Alvarez launched Backyard Taco near Stapley and University in early 2013.

Besides the namesake tacos, the restaurant’s menu offers burritos, quesadillas, gorditas, and tostadas.

The new Gilbert location, which is larger than the original, has a 1,600-square-foot patio and a drive-through.

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Slow-roasted leg of lamb will be the featured entree at this month’s ‘‘3rd Tuesday’’ dinner at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday at Romeo’s Euro Cafe in downtown Gilbert.

The three-course dinners feature three new dishes from chef Romeo Taus’ creative kitchen crew paired with three wines selected by the knowledgable waitstaff:

  • Appetizers: Spicy baked brie, scallion pancake with ahi tuna poke, roasted eggplant salad, and lamb meatball, paired with 2014 Halter Ranch Adelaida District Grenache Blanc.
  • Entree: Roasted leg of lamb with Israeli couscous, paired with 2013 Terra Valentine Spring Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon.
  • Dessert: Ricotta-cherry tart, paired with Ventura Orangecello Blood Orange Seasonal.

Cost is $36 per person plus tax and tip. RSVP: 480-962-4224.

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