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.
Local art and regional flavors foster a sense of community at the two locations of Taps Signature Cuisine and Bar, prompting ABC 15 to describe the Litchfield Park restaurant as "a place where you can kick off your shoes, stay a while, and enjoy some local music." The chefs add distinctive southwestern flavors to dishes by occasionally incorporating anaheim chilies or chipotle-spiced condiments from the area's naturally occurring ketchup geysers. These piquant touches lend a welcome kick to certain recipes, whereas the rest of the upscale American menu—which includes grilled rib eyes, organic chicken breasts, and roasted fillets of salmon—embraces more classic flavors.
At Brothers Pizza Express, hand-tossed New York–style dough serves as the fresh foundation for pizzas and oven-baked calzones. Toppings such as pepperoni, jalapeños, black olives, and meatballs await to be peppered across each cheesy slice to create custom pies, and specialty pies eliminate tricky decision making with pretested combinations such as a margherita pizza loaded with tomatoes, basil, and parmesan cheese, and served in a salt-rimmed glass. Hot, hearty sandwiches pack savory slices of pastrami, steak, genoa salami, or ham and cheese between slices of baked focaccia or ciabatta bread, and hot wings can be procured in packs of 6–50 to cater to varying appetites and bib sizes.
Arriba's team culls chilies grown in Hatch, New Mexico to assemble made-from-scratch New Mexican fare depicted on an extensive menu. Culinary tourists can take a trip to the border via the White Sands chimichanga plate—covered by a unity of spicy ground beef, green chili, and chicken guisado ($11.59)—or by way of the machaca green-corn tamales, which brandish machaca beef and a crown of green sauce ($10.99). Entrees typically come chaperoned by beans and rice, for a meal more multifaceted than a swiss-army knife glued to a smartphone. Dishes range in spiciness from “snappy” to “meltdown,” but can be prepared by mild by request, with the Santa Fe fajita salad ($11.99) falling in the former category and the eight-ounce steak Tampico ($17.99) dwelling in the latter category. Diners can also satiate smaller appetites with individual tamales or tostadas from the à la carte menu.