Aftermath’s Charles Barber Announces Opening of Second Restaurant Born & Bred

Nikki BuchananJune 20, 2023
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There was a day when an indie restaurant owner had one restaurant, period. Now everybody and his mother owns at least two. It’s a trend, which probably started with OGs like Matt Carter (Zinc, two Missions, Fat Ox), Bernie Kantak (Citizen, The Gladly) and Chris Bianco (Pizzeria Bianco, Pane Bianco, Tratto, etc). Nowadays, the list must also include Gio Osso (Virtù Honest Craft, Virtù Pizzeria, Piccolo Virtù), TJ Culp (Restaurant Progress, Sottise), Dom Ruggiero (Hush, Fire at Will), Michael Babcock et al (Belly, Sin Muerte), Stefano Fabbri (three Pomo Pizzerias, Rosso) and Armando Hernandez and Nadia Holguin (Tacos Chiwas, Cocina Chiwas and partnerships in Bacanora and Espiritu). There are plenty more, I’m sure, but we don’t have time for this fun little memory exercise because I need to tell you about Charles Barber of Aftermath in Phoenix.

We’re adding him to this esteemed list because Barber, who has slowly but surely made Aftermath a North Phoenix fixture, is opening his own second restaurant in Central Scottsdale. He’s taking over the Humble Pie space located at the north end of The Shops at Hilton Village and naming the new spot Born & Bred, an allusion to the five generations of his family who’ve lived in metro Phoenix. He considers the opening a homecoming, bringing him back to his career roots in Scottsdale, first at Zinc Bistro, then at Hush, not to mention a bunch of early low-paying bartending gigs cranking out Red Bull-jacked cocktails in Scottsdale’s entertainment district.

The new place, Barber says, will get a revamp — new paint, new floors, new bar tops — but the wood-burning pizza oven will stay because Barber intends to do pizza. Not exclusively, mind you. The menu will be 50 percent shareables and entrees (similar in style to those at Aftermath) and 50 percent pizza. He plans to offer two or three pizza classics and a handful of oddballs with creative toppings. Some will be healthy options. He says the kitchen will work, too, on creating a pizza dough alternative, perhaps something that is gluten-free.

Now, here’s the cool part. Born & Bred will be serving those pizzas (and pizzas only) until midnight so that event-goers and partiers can wander in for cocktails and a late-night nosh.

Not long ago, Barber’s partner and executive chef Dave Bowman left Aftermath to take a corporate gig that surely pays well and offers saner hours. Barber, the consummate professional who understands that in the restaurant business, sh*t inevitably happens, wishes him well and says he’ll always be a part of the Aftermath family. William Bedene, who was a sous chef at Zinc for more than six years as well as opening sous at Aftermath, has stepped into the executive chef position, and Barber is thrilled, saying Bedene is the kind of guy who loves tackling it all — the grill, fish, sauces and now pizza.

Barber is hoping for a mid-October opening but promises Born & Bred will be open by Halloween no matter what.