photo by Brian Goddard

Creative Loafing

Written by Marilyn Hawkes Category: Three Bites Issue: December 2015
Group Free

You tolerated it as a kid. You worship it as an adult. Behold: gourmet meatloaf.

Eddie’s House
7042 E. Indian School Rd., Scottsdale
Meatloaf can conjure childhood memories both good and bad. Some remember meatloaf as the dish mom made when she was feeling uninspired, while others recall it as soul-grabbing comfort food. Count chef/owner Eddie Matney of Eddie’s House among the latter. His legendary bacon-infused meatloaf ($22, pictured) springs from bittersweet childhood memories of his mother making a “ginormous” meatloaf for the family, but not having the budget to put more than four strips across the top. Thus, his own meatloaf has bacon in every bite, along with chopped Roma tomatoes and fresh basil, all perched atop a fluffy mound of sour cream- and butter-kissed Yukon Gold mashed potatoes. Draped with earthy mushroom gravy and onion frizzles, Matney’s meatloaf is 100 percent pure comfort.

Thirteenorth Grille
1301 E. Northern Ave., Phoenix
For a twist on traditional meatloaf, Thirteenorth amps up its Southwestern meatloaf ($15) with fiery red chile gravy. It’s a generous serving – two thick, all-beef slices on a nest of mashed potatoes layered with chunks of spicy chorizo and bits of melted cheddar cheese, strewn with crisp battered onion strings and a pile of fresh green beans. The red chile and spicy chorizo turn up the heat level a few notches. This is definitely not your mother’s meatloaf.  

Wally’s American Pub ‘n Grille
5029 N. 44th St., Phoenix
Owner Wally Collins is all about comfort food, so little surprise his classic meatloaf ($14.95) is one of the most popular dishes on the menu. He credits its success to mixing in Cajun seasoning to add some “zing” and marinara sauce made with stewed tomatoes to lend a little sweetness. Fashioned from ground chuck, ground veal and hot Italian sausage, the meatloaf is crisp around the edges, but fork-tender inside. Balanced on a heap of horseradish mashed potatoes, the whole affair is blanketed with a briny beef stock and mushroom sauce and onion strings, alongside sautéed fresh zucchini, pea pods and carrots.