As restaurants scramble to stay afloat, some open for dine-in, others stick to takeout and a few split it both ways. Here’s a small snapshot of the takeout scene in mid-June.
3717 E. Indian School Rd., Phoenix, 602-954-1700, beckettstable.com
Takeout: W-Su, 4-8:30 p.m.
Chef-owner Justin Beckett has been dispensing satisfying comfort food – embellished with a chef-tastic tweak of sophistication – since he opened his eponymous restaurant a decade ago. Now his deviled eggs, mac and cheese, bacon cheddar biscuits and luscious short ribs with creamy, dreamy mashed spuds seem like edible Prozac in these uncertain times. Order à la carte from his regular menu, or select a family-style dinner for four ($100, give or take), which changes every week but generally includes salad, veggies, a main (maybe roast chicken or barbecue-glazed salmon) sides (think crunchy-edged bacon biscuit stuffing), dessert and wine. (To-go booze is the one positive from this pandemic.) Family dinners may be purchased hot and ready to eat, or cold (at a lower price) for a warmup at home. The menu offers cocktails, wine pairings and a chance to be a good Samaritan by donating a bottle of wine to health care workers and first responders. Order on the restaurant’s website for curbside pickup or delivery. Curbside is quick and seamless. You call when you get there; they bring it out lickety-split. Minimal contact, maximal pleasure.
7125 E. Fifth Ave., Scottsdale, 480-284-4777, fnbrestaurant.com
Takeout: W-Sa, 4-8:30 p.m.
After a 12-week hiatus (it felt like a year), chef-owner and James Beard Award winner Charleen “Veggie” Badman reopened FnB in early June – a challenging month for Phoenix restaurants even without an interminable pandemic. As of this writing, she’s offering the same sort of seasonal, globally inspired menus for takeout that made her a dine-in superstar, with the same knack for exotic spices – say, garam masala with Indian barbecue whole chicken, Urfa butter with Turkish lamb manti and dukka with roasted carrots.
She updates the menu every two weeks, so keep an eye out for gloriously succulent braised pork shoulder with roasted vegetables and tiny, tender flour tortillas ($28). Don’t forget a cocktail, bottle of wine and some butterscotch pudding. Entrees range from $26-$32 and are ordered (and paid for) through Tock to Go. Your food will be packaged, labeled and waiting on a table on the patio for a completely contactless transaction.
702 W. Montecito Ave., Phoenix, 602-441-0553, restaurantprogress.com
Takeout: W-Sa, 5-10 p.m.
T.J. Culp, the nimble young chef-owner of Restaurant Progress, has a preternatural talent for assessing which way the wind is blowing and changing course as needed. At the beginning of the shutdown, he already had a plan in place and executed it – one entrée per night, plus a side and Proof sourdough bread with French butter ($25). His meatloaf was ridiculously good, and the fried chicken sold out early every Sunday. Now that restaurants have opened back up, he’s doing a bit of dine-in.
(Difficult, because his tiny space makes social distancing tricky.) At press time, he’s also in the process of changing his takeout format. His new menu offers rusticity and generous portions – nothing small plate or froufrou – but also conveys sophistication. Think ahi tuna carpaccio, tri-tip tartare with quail egg, bavette (i.e., flank steak) with chimichurri, a cheeseburger and roast chicken ($14-$29). Good cocktails here, too. Check Instagram for features, call in your order, pay by phone and they’ll bring it out to you when you pull up.
3433 N. 56th St., Phoenix, 602-675-2000, vecinaphx.com
Takeout: Tu-Sa, 4-9 p.m.
For me, it was love at first bite at Latin-inspired Vecina. The music, the cocktails, the ceviche, the pork belly tacos, the carne asada-style ribeye… I’m crazy about all of it. And until the plague hit, it really was my neighborhood hangout. It’s open for dine-in again, and I’m told the place is packed on weekends. Takeout is still available for the crowd-averse. Meanwhile, the menu is slowly evolving. Chef/co-owner James Fox explains that distribution has been spotty (sometimes, he can’t get the blue cheese, hiramasa kingfish or the high-quality mussels he prefers),
so for now, some favorites are off the menu. The good news: His new additions sound fabulous. Consider a carnitas empanada with Duroc pork confit, onion marmalade, Manchego, salsa verde and Manzana chile ($15) or a smoked half chicken with tomatillo nam prik, seasonal stone fruit, chiltepin and peanut ($26). Order from their website anytime after 3:30 p.m. for pickup after 4 p.m. They’ll bring it to your car.
218 W. Main St., Mesa, 480-833-2180, worthtakeaway.com
Takeout: M-Sa, 8 a.m.-9 p.m., Su, 8 a.m.-4 p.m.
Few restaurants were as well-prepared for a pandemic as Worth, a locavore gourmet sandwich shop whose entire premise (despite its indoor tables and chairs) is takeout food. That said, owners Jim Bob and Kelsey Strothers are enjoying success for an even better reason: Their food is terrific. Built on artisan sourdough, ciabatta and focaccia baked by Proof Bread, a Mesa microbakery, these heavenly handhelds rise to the level of cuisine.
Signature crispy chicken, layered with house-made pickles, gem lettuce, honey Sriracha and mayo on ciabatta is one such stellar example ($12.50). Spicy pork with roasted serranos and Sriracha aioli is another ($11.75). If you develop an insuperable case of sandwich fatigue, Worth also sports a fetching collection of veggie hash bowls, and flexes its culinary muscles with rotating Monday “family dinner” specials such as chicken and dumplings, cod tacos and other rib-sticking delights.