Sunnyslope's Spoke & Wheel Off to a Wobbly Start

Categories: First Taste

Photos by Laura Hahnefeld
Short rib poutine
When a new spot opens in town, we can't wait to check it out and let you know our initial impressions. First Taste, as the name implies, is not a full-blown review, but instead a peek inside restaurants that have just opened, sampling a few items, and satisfying curiosities (yours and ours).

Restaurant: Spoke & Wheel
Location: 8525 North Central Avenue
Open: One week
Eats: Upscale tavern food
Price: $11 to $30 per person

Open just one week, and with almost as many bicycles near the front entrance as cars in its parking lot, Spoke & Wheel, Sunnyslope's new bike-friendly restaurant, already has captured the attention of both two- and four-wheeled travelers in the neighborhood.

See also:
- Old Dixie's in the Welcome Diner: The Coolest Place You (Probably) Haven't Been to Yet
- Portillo's in Scottsdale: The Happiest Reunion Between Girl and Food

Located in the former Dillon's, the restaurant comes courtesy of Wildthyme Restaurant Group, whose associates include Heinrich Stasiuk and chef Mercer Mohr, owners of Timo, their wine bar just north of Spoke & Wheel, and Brick, a gourmet pizzeria downtown.

But Spoke & Wheel has some work to do before it can lose the training wheels.

Street Tacos
The menu, created by chef-owner Mohr, is a listing of upscale tavern food in the form of small plates, sharable dishes, and entrees. In the adult libations category, there are signature cocktails with names like The Drunk Biker and Easy Rider, as well as wine and beer.

For now, you should probably skip the short rib poutine ($7.85), a small and sad-looking offering of flavorless cheese curds, dry pieces of short rib, and an oxtail gravy tasting mostly of wine. The same advice could be taken for the three street tacos ($8.95). Overfilled with average chicken and chopped steak and a less-than-acceptable seared tuna, they suffered from bland toppings and housemade corn tortillas that do not taste housemade. The best thing about the dish is the accompanying cup of white bean soup.

Burgers and sandwiches do better.

Location Info

Spoke & Wheel

8525 N. Central Ave., Phoenix, AZ

Category: Restaurant

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My Voice Nation Help

Been there three times now with family and friends.  Excellent IMO.  Food, drinks, sports on TV....Can't wait to try out the comedy on Saturdays.

Two thumbs up :)


Why do you insist on going to these places as soon as they open, so that you can write about everything that went wrong?  At least give a little bit of time for all the parts to get moving before writing these negative articles..


Tried out Spoke & Wheel on Sunday, it was a little sad. Food was OK shared some different things. The calamari seemed right out of the freezer to the fryer, the guacamole was really good, The pretzels and sausage was OK, the melted cheese dip had a skin on top and was cold a min after it arrived. The deviled eggs were good but you only get 3 (halves) you should get more at least an even number when sharing. 

Service was pretty bad, waited for ever to get water waited again, ordered drinks and all food at once because we didn't know when someone would be back. When we were ready to go, our server was no where to be found for about 5 min, must have been break time.

I do want to try some of the sandwiches they looked good. I would love to see some more creativity on the menu and less freezer to fryer food, (if it's not frozen it needs to be made better.)

This makes me excited for North Mountain Brewery to open, hopefully the food is better there.

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