Every day, the chefs at Allen and Traci Thompson's award-winning The Grind cook their organic burgers in coal-fired ovens. At Chick Rotisserie & Wine Bar—the duo’s other restaurant, located just next door—the culinary team relies on an alternative means of preparation. Here, Chef Bevin O'Neil cooks free-range and organic meats on rotisserie racks before brushing them with homemade glazes such as peach barbecue and mandarin orange chutney. He supplements these meats with American comfort staples that include breads, soups, cinnamon buns, and whipped potatoes.
Guests can monitor the rotating rotisserie racks from an open-air dining room with floors of Aspen wood. They might be distracted, however, by a wine list with more than 40 varieties of reds and whites. Along with in-house meals, the Chick Rotisserie team sells entire to-go chickens that, unlike a middle-school dance, are entirely free of hormones.
Smart Shopper Cards get consumers discounted access to a variety of businesses in Arizona, California, Las Vegas, and Seattle. Dining cards get cardholders appetizers, entrees, and desserts at local restaurants; golf passes include rounds at award-winning courses; activity passes could include admission to roller skating rinks, trampoline parks, and laser tag arenas; and pamper passes combine salon and spa treatments such as facials, haircuts, and tanning. Each card comes attached to a card backer that has information about all the merchants including their phone number, address, and website as well as information about the deal.
Nancy Fitzgerald, owner of The Tasting Room, knows the importance of being local–having grown up in the Phoenix area herself–and populates her eatery’s wine and beer lists with local Arizona tipples. Specializing in boutique and specialty wines and beers, she's also amassed a menu of more than 70 wines from across the United States, South America, and Europe that are complimented by more than 20 microbrews and a cider. Her chefs pair these libations with small plates of italian crostini and goat-cheese-stuffed bell peppers, and paninis topped with smoked and cured meats and eclectic cheeses. A variety of pre-arranged specialty cheese and meat plates are also available, or guests can create custom plates from a list of 18 different cheeses and 7 meats with which to impress a date or immediately see the benefits of a low-carb diet.
Ground Control’s cuisine reflects the cosmopolitan lifestyle of its owner, Sean, who offsets his nightly bartending with daily travels as a professional pilot. He and his wife, Tara, have also lived abroad, a sojourn that developed their taste for European dining. Now settled in Arizona, executive chef Chris Ibarra still satisfies their cravings—and those of their patrons—with scoops of house-made gelato atop stuffed crepes, short ribs braised in Guinness, and custom wood-fired pizzas crowned in ingredients such as roma tomatoes, duck, and gouda. Open for three meals a day, the eatery also anoints glasses with exotic ingredients by serving rich espresso drinks, creative cocktails, and sippy cups of water from the Fountain of Youth. Live music fills the space every Friday from 8 p.m. to 11 p.m.
By morning, Brady Bogen is "the voice of morality" on KUPD's Holmberg's Morning Sickness, but come lunchtime, the quirky radio personality dons another cap: barbecue aficionado. After finishing his radio shift, Brady heads over to his barbecue restaurant—Porkopolis—which he co-owns with seasoned restaurateur Matt Hamilton. You can spot Brady in the joint's dining room, captaining the bar, greeting customers, or digging into a juicy barbecue sandwich himself. Otherwise, he might be in the kitchen, directing chefs as they pile platters high with slices of tender brisket, pulled pork, and ribs. The skilled chefs smother platters with Brady's own brand of tangy sauces and pair dishes with classic sides such as mac 'n cheese, beans, and cornbread. For dessert, the chefs dish out apple crisp and handmade popsicles from Paletas Betty.
Customers hungrily inhale barbecue aromas as they await meals in the dining area—a space described by a Mouth By Southwest blogger as "sleek" and "modern." They bide the time by sipping draft beer and artisanal cocktails, including bacon bloody marys and drinks made with whiskey from Ole Smoky Distillery.
Italian for "your wine," Su Vino doesn't only curate a lineup of award-winning varietals, it also crafts custom wines to suit even the most discerning palates. Inside an eye-catching tasting room, Su Vino Winery pairs glasses and bottles of its vintages with a menu of light appetizers and sensuous desserts. Red wines such as the jam-flavored cabernet sauvignon/merlot blend and peppery zinfandel pour crimson into tasting glasses, whereas white wines—including the tongue-twisting gewürztraminer—immerse taste buds in crisp, off-dry tones. They also open their bottle-lined space to guests interested in hosting a birthday party, bridal shower, or scared-straight event for delinquent grapes.
There are no marketing gimmicks or cutesy names for menu items at Sevens’ Bistro. When preparing for their August 2012 opening, the owners kept their sole focus on delivering simple, mouthwatering American fare, and it paid off. Though modern light fixtures, tiled accent walls, and a neon-blue bar transform the dining space into a chic hangout, the spicy beef sliders and caprese grilled-cheese sandwiches deliver accessible takes on comfort classics. An Ahab-like obsession with hunting down fresh ingredients leads to plates of ginger-glazed miso salmon and bowls of creamy tomato bisque. Not content to remain a happening lunch- and nightspot, Sevens’ Bistro serves breakfasts of custom omelets and four variations on eggs benedict, including a meat lovers’ version layered with prosciutto and jalapeño bacon.