In their youth, Paul Fratella and Anthony Guerriero met as coworkers at a restaurant. They discussed their hopes of someday opening an eatery of their own. But as time went on, they drifted apart in life. Fratella continued along in the restaurant business, working at locations in Utah, Indiana, and Florida. Guerriero went on to work in refrigeration, and eventually traveled to Spain to study international business. And then, nearly two decades after their first pipe-dream discussions, they reconnected. With Guerriero’s business savvy and Fratella’s experience opening restaurants, the two finally had the blueprint that would breathe life into Caballero Grill.
Southwestern flavors give an edge to the eatery's American grill fare. Chefs cook steaks, burgers, and chicken breasts on a kettle grill fueled with pecan wood, which imbues each dish with a unique smoky flavor. A ceviche bar allows diners to customize their own selection of marinated fresh fish, and Sunday brunch sets out popular entrées alongside a seafood bar rich with shrimp and mussels. And though Fratella and Guerriero carefully curate their entire menu, one dish in particular holds a special place in the owners’ hearts, according to AZCentral.com. Manny’s empanadas, named for their late friend Manuel De Jesus Cabrera, commemorate their lost comrade with a recipe given to them by Manuel’s mother.
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.
Stinger's Sports Bar & Grill sates sports fanatics with a menu of standard pub provender, 16 beers on tap, and a plethora of flat-screen TVs. Cooks lovingly marry french fries with an octuplet of combos ($5–$8), including pork fritters ($7), brats ($7), and fish 'n' chips ($8), and buffalo wings ($0.50 each; 10-wing minimum), and personal pizzas ($5–$7) dance a bacchanalian jig with all-day, everyday Bomber specials. Like sleeping under a fluffy blanket of pancakes, plates keep warm beneath all-day servings of breakfast foods, including the bacon or sausage breakfast burrito ($6) and The Stinger ($6), a new york strip steak and eggs that carry out platter wars over territory with hash browns and toast. DJ sets on Friday and Saturday and karaoke Monday–Thursday fill the bar with amateur and professional tunes, and send feet shuffling round the dance floor.
Saddle Ranch Chop House allows diners to put together a feast from a menu loaded with steaks and salads, then rock and ride with the restaurant's "rock meets Western" theme. Chow on a sizzling steak, such as the charbroiled, marble-cut rib eye ($24.99), or chomp into the pineapple teriyaki burger, served with a wasabi cream sauce ($11.99). To wash down a full order of barbecue baby back ribs ($21.99), take part in the Texas Tea Party, a stiff concoction of vodka, gin, rum, tequila, sweet-and-sour mix, and Coke. Saddle Ranch Chop House's seasoned chefs also cook breakfast and brunchy grub, such as cinnamon swirl Texas toast ($9.99) and buttermilk pancakes topped with fresh fruit ($8.99), until 3 p.m.
Though it may have "saloon" in its name, this Western-themed eatery is appropriate for all ages. The restaurant area is often filled with families dining on burgers, half-pound BLTs, and fresh smoked brisket, while a separate bar area is set aside for more adult pastimes, such as sipping beers and cocktails, listening to local bands, or jumbling up Scrabble tiles to invent new words. Chefs grill up 8 oz. filet steaks topped with garlic butter or Blue Moon-battered cod filets for diners, who cheer on the sports teams playing on the TVs scattered throughout the restaurant. They also serve up a wide range of appetizers, such as sweet corn fritters, beer battered onion rings, and Southern-style chili potato skins.
Hearty, comforting diner-style meals are the foundation of SJ’s Sports Grill. Diners choose their satisfying meals from the restaurant’s menu of breakfast, lunch, and dinner feasts with all the trimmings, such as a breakfast of buttermilk pancakes, eggs, bacon, sausage, and home fries. At dinner, they can tuck into a 12-ounce rib-eye steak accompanied by a baked potato, veggies, salad, and dinner roll. Nearly every dish diners choose comes with expertly seasoned french fries or home fries for a well-rounded comfort food plate. To wash down rib-sticking burgers or pork chops at dinner, guests can sip draft beers, glasses of wine, or mixed drinks.