Comfortably nestled in the shadows of the San Tan Mountains, owner Perry Rea and his family coax silken oils out of the olives they grow in their own groves. After more than 10 years of experiments, they finally settled on planting a few more than 16 distinct varietals, which thrive in the otherwise unforgiving Arizona deserts. Extending thoughtful care to each harvest, they avoid using any pesticides or genetically modified trees, employ water-conserving drip irrigation, and hand-pluck their olives at the peak of ripeness. Within 24 hours of picking, the staff then presses the crop in order to extract oils that taste as fresh as honey taken directly from a bee's pantry.
The fresh oils line the shelves of the mill's marketplace alongside imported wines and locally made goods. In addition to gourmet food items, the store stocks an extensive collection of Italian ceramics, works by local painters, and bath-and-body products infused with extra-virgin olive oil.
Queen Creek Olive Mill's oils also appear on the menu of del Piero, the facility's Tuscan-inspired bistro. Based on the Rea family's own recipes, each entree incorporates organic ingredients whenever possible, including locally sourced meats and herbs from the organic garden.
Although they rely heavily on culinary traditions from across the Pacific, the chefs at Sushi Creek also draw inspiration from regional ingredients as they hand-forge a lineup of traditional and signature rolls. Beyond the confines of the sushi bar, they man grill tops in the kitchen, searing marinated slices of chicken or salmon and layering a half-pound patty of beef, ground turkey, or black bean onto their burgers.
Illuminated by a combination of dangling pendant lights and sconces, the dining room's vibrantly orange and yellow walls sport a number of nautically inspired influences, including a ship's wooden steering wheel and a submarine's snorkel tube.
Chefs at Skippy's Grill & Cantina assemble fresh ingredients into Mexican and American pub grub made from scratch, filling menus with chorizo-derived spices and ham-packed sandwiches alike. Limber up chomping muscles with spicy bean dip ($6) that blends chorizo, beans, and cheese before delving into ham and swiss melts ($7.95) that compress generous portions of sliced ham between hoagie-roll halves. French dip sandwiches ($7) pile rolls high with roast beef sliced thinly and exquisitely folded into beef cranes, and the homemade linguine noodles of Steve's pasta alfredo ($11.50) stow away on fork tines and sneak into unsuspecting mouths. Mexican specialties build transcontinental bridges with carne asada burritos ($9), enchiladas ($3–$4), and enormous suspension cables hidden under tables.
Starting with only a single ice shaver and a hand-built hut, Bahama Buck's has expanded its icy empire to include a menu loaded with arctic indulgences and more than 91 gourmet flavors of Sno. Dessertsmiths drizzle complex flavors such as tangy kiwi, sweet sugar cookie, and emotionally ambivalent tutti frutti over fluffy mounds of pulverized ice to create Sno cones ($2.69+). Fruit juices and syrups spawn creamy smoothies ($3.99+), and frozen limeade ($2.79) puckers drinkers' lips, making them as taut as the bed sheets in a black hole's hotel.
The menu at The Deli shows off eclectic dishes concocted from ingredients grown exclusively for the restaurant on a 3-acre organic farm. Melted pepper-jack cheese, caramelized onions, bell peppers, and horseradish swaddle warm roast beef on a baguette ($9) on the hefty sandwich menu. Pizzas, crafted with house-made dough, mozzarella, and marinara, provide a stage for topping tribes—such as sausage, red onion, roasted peppers, and parmesan ($14)—to perform their hunger-squashing rituals. Hydrate a dusty esophagus with a swig of Tempe-born Four Peaks ale ($3), or sip the vanilla-and-berry-toned Trivento malbec ($7), which stains tongues more easily than a French kiss from the Kool-Aid man.