the white chocolate grill
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The White Chocolate Grill
December, 2007, Page 204
Restaurateur, Bobby Fitzgerald talks about how he created The White Chocolate Grill from the ground up and plans for it's debut in other cities.
The White Chocolate Grill has it all – great food, excellent service and a sleek, sophisticated look. This Ameri-can restaurant is so pulled together, one might think it’s one cog in a well-oiled corporate machine. Think again.
The brainchild of restaurateur Bobby Fitzgerald and his partner John Carcasole, The White Chocolate Grill is a homegrown local creation and the only one of its kind. In its two years of operation, the restaurant has grown a loyal customer base and averages serving 4000 customers per week. And though the menu is distinctly American, you will find some unique selections to choose from such as the Spit Roasted Turkey French Dip or the Filet Mignon Cobb Salad.
The well-rounded menu, which includes a nice selection of salads, sandwiches, burgers and wood-fired specialties, was created by Fitzgerald who worked with some of the best food consultants in the country. The White Chocolate Raspberry Cheesecake, for instance, took two consultants who created dozens of versions over six months before Fitzgerald gave it the green light.
Fitzgerald says he wants his guests to have an “honest American dining experience” when they come into The White Chocolate Grill. “We live by the mantra of you’re only as good as your last meal served,” he says. “We’ve really kept the kitchen consistent since day one.” And that’s one of the reasons he says that his guests keep coming back for more. “My philosophy on food is that either it’s right or we don’t serve it,” he adds.
This attitude combined with a sophisticated design of rich wood and European stone, creates a recipe for success. The restaurant’s Frank Lloyd Wright- inspired design, leather booth seating, soft lighting and spectacular bar impart a classic yet stylish atmosphere.
with Owner Bobby Fitzgerald
Bobby Fitzgerald, owner of The White Chocolate Grill in Scottsdale, has been in the restaurant business for 23 years. At the age of 14, he started working at a family friend’s restaurant in Washington DC.
Later, Fitzgerald went to culinary school and studied restaurant manage-ment at Johnson & Wales University. After he graduated, he traveled the country while working for a major restaurant corporation for six years. In time, Fitzgerald decided to put his schooling to work for himself. That’s when he teamed up with Carcasole to start his own restaurant business in 1999, opening two Italian restaurants, one in Denver and the other in Kansas City.
In 2004, Fitzgerald and Carcasole recognized a need for some quality American dining, and that’s when they created The White Chocolate Grill. Having lived off and on in Scottsdale since 1994, Fitzgerald was thrilled to locate the first restaurant and his business headquarters in Scottsdale. “We decided to build an American restaurant on the high end of the scale,” he says. “We set out to build an honest American restaurant, and we feel that we have.” A second restaurant opened last month in Las Vegas and a third location in Chicago is set to open in February.
Q & A
How did you come up with the name of the restaurant?
I like to say that coming up with The White Chocolate Grill was one of the shortest conversations in the planning of the restaurant. We knew what we wanted to do with the menu, and when we finalized the desserts we saw the dominance of white chocolate. One day, half in jest, Carcasole said that we should name the restaurant The White Chocolate Grill. The name stuck.
Tell us a little bit about The White Chocolate Grill’s menu and what drives it.
The menu is comprised of straight-forward American cuisine. One reviewer remarked that the menu had all the “usual suspects,” and I took that as a compliment. Our customers know what they’re getting. Many of our dishes are centered around a wood-fired grill. But we also work to take casual American dining to next level with unique items such as the Filet Mignon Cobb Salad, Parmesan Crusted Filet and the French White Chocolate Bread Pudding, which is made from fresh bread each day.
What are your favorite dishes on the menu?
I’m hooked on the Spit Roasted Turkey French Dip. And I know like many of our loyal guests who have their favorites, I plan what I want before I even get in the car to drive to The White Chocolate Grill.
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