Chef Kelly Fletcher says he has no skills beyond being a chef. “I can’t swing a hammer or use a screwdriver, and I know nothing about cars,” he says with a laugh. Maybe so, but he sure can cook. For the past eight years, Fletcher has manned the stoves at 25-year-old Tempe treasure House of Tricks. Food lovers flock to the charming bungalow for his creative global fare like Mongolian barbecue shrimp with pink peppercorn-lemongrass grits and kimchee.
A pull-along pizza peddler trades its wheels for a permanent spot in Scottsdale – and continues turning out wood-fired masterpieces.
Gourmet food trucks have proven so successful in the Valley that some have evolved into brick-and-mortar operations. But when a simple pizza oven on a pull-along trailer morphs into a delectable new café in north Scottsdale, well, that’s a whole new slice of pie.
Saddle up! Sizzling surf and turf and sunny service make this Texas import a worthy successor to Houston’s.
Sprawling, glitzy, and brimming with enough genuine hospitality to fill the Astrodome, Del Frisco’s Grille has slipped into Houston’s former Esplanade space with all the confidence of a smooth-talking oilman. DFG is the dressed-down kid brother in a family of Dallas-based steakhouses that have staked their claim across 18 states, though this is the first Del Frisco to hit Arizona.
Can something as simple as a banana and Nutella crêpe be life-altering? It was for Jeff Kraus. The first time he tasted a lacy Parisian crêpe smeared with warm Nutella, folded over ripe, sliced bananas, he had an a-ha moment.
In 2009, shortly after returning to Phoenix from his vacation in France, he started a food truck featuring sweet and savory French crêpes, the first of the new “gourmet” mobile trucks to hit the Valley. Kraus garaged his award-winning Truckin’ Good Food Truck in 2011 and opened Crêpe Bar, a brick and mortar storefront in south Tempe, this past June.
Brats get top billing at this Scottsdale biergarten, but it’s the burger, beer and bread that steal the show.
In a world filled with “indecisions, visions and revisions” – to paraphrase T.S. Eliot – we don’t always care to tax brain cells deciding where to dine. A comfortable spot with an interesting menu, a cold beverage and a friendly smile will do. Veteran restaurateur Dave Andrea (Old Town Tortilla Factory) puts this concept to work at Brat Haüs, an urban “biergarten” tucked into the old Oregano’s spot in Old Town. Maverick chef Payton Curry joins him to create a locally-focused menu featuring handmade sausages and house-pickled accoutrements. If you’re a beer lover like me, you’ll flip over the quirky 50-plus brew menu.
Pint-sized and popular, this repurposed coffee kiosk could signal the emergence of a new culinary hot zone.
32Shea is the restaurant equivalent of a Smart Car – almost absurdly pint-sized but undeniably cute. About the size of a large moving van, the freestanding former coffee kiosk is located in the restaurant-poor area of, yes, 32nd Street and Shea. To say the neighbors have enthusiastically embraced it would be an understatement.
Superchef Aaron May answers the prayers of Old Town-area gastropub enthusiasts.
The name is the first clue that Chef Aaron May’s newest endeavor, Praying Monk, is the polar-opposite of Iruña, the Basque-inspired tapas joint he formerly operated in the same Old Town storefront. Iruña sounds like a sexy, standoffish Spanish sophisticate; Praying Monk – named after the signature rock formation on Camelback Mountain – conjures a celibate Belgian beermaker. While Iruña was sparklingly upscale, the new eatery resembles an earthy, wood-paneled roadhouse with an open beam ceiling. Iruña served food people didn’t seem to understand; Praying Monk dishes recognizable yet elevated comfort food, with 20 draft beers – including a few Belgian breeds brewed by actual monks – and a selection of flights. The $300 jeans crowd is gone; a more relaxed clientele has moved in.
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