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.
McFadden's Restaurant & Saloon, which now has locations from coast to coast, first opened its doors just a few blocks from Times Square in New York City in 1977. The founder, Steve McFadden, drew upon his Irish heritage when creating the menu and even incorporated his family's own shepherd’s pie recipe. Diners will also find international pub grub such as burgers, sandwiches, and hand-cut top sirloin to accompany the bar’s full selection of beers and cocktails. The atmosphere gets lively after dark here, as groups cheer on their favorite sports teams, shimmy to DJ-spun music, and perform round-off back-handsprings.
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.
Located inside the Wildlife World Zoo and Aquarium, Tiburón serves deep-sea treats with courtside views to a 60,000-gallon shark tank. Tiburón's menu features succulent seafood creations made with sustainably harvested fish. The New Orleans shrimp ($12.95) comes sautéed in Cajun spices in a beer-butter sauce, while the firecracker calamari ($9.50) sizzles in a spicy tomato coulis and roasted-poblano aioli. The East Coast is well represented with rich, creamy lobster bisque simmered with jumbo crab meat ($6 cup, $8.50 bowl). The entree choices are equally aqueous and ambrosial—a grilled Arizona pecan-crusted trout ($20) is served with wild-rice pilaf and seasonal vegetables in a lemon-butter sauce, while the shrimp tortellini ($22) comes with fresh asparagus and a choice of alfredo or marinara sauce. Diners who suffer from acute cases of crustacean commiseration can opt for land-based dishes such as the chef's famous roasted-duck tacos ($12.95) or a steak option ($28–$29) with a choice of sides. Each menu selection is paired with a wine or beverage recommendation.