Chef Andrew Nienke of Cafe Monarch on What to Expect When the Restaurant Re-Opens and "No Bullshit" Food

Categories: Chef and Tell

Courtesy of Christian Lewkowicz
Chef Andrew Nienke
Andrew Nienke
Café Monarch

On Friday, October 4, Scottsdale's Café Monarch will re-open for the fall -- but this time without chef Christopher Van Arsdale. In his place will be a team of Van Arsdale fans looking to carry on the traditional of simple food done well and guests treated like family instead of customers. In the kitchen, you'll find chef Andrew Nienke, most recently of Searsucker, and this week we sat down to find out more about his plans for the restaurant and how he got started in the culinary business.

Lauren Saria

See also: Chef Christopher Van Arsdale Leaves Cafe Monarch in Scottsdale, Restaurant Under New Ownership

It's been nearly two months since news broke that Christopher Van Arsdale, the one-man show behind Old Town Scottsdale's Café Monarch, would be leaving the charming spot after six years there. During his time as chef and owner, he built a reputation for on-the-fly dishes that often catered to his guests' preferences. And it wasn't just the food that people loved; it was the beauty of the space and the warmth with which he hosted diners.

Lauren Saria
The courtyard at Cafe Monarch
In early August, he announced he would be leaving his restaurant in the hands of a new owner, Christian Lewkowicz, who had worked with him for a season the year before.

"[Christopher] built this place more for the love of cooking," Lewkowicz says. "It was never really a business to him, which was cool."

Over the summer, Lewkowicz -- whose history includes time at Bloom, Searsucker, and Stingray Sushi -- brought his friend chef Andrew Nienke into the fold, though the way it happened wasn't intentional. Nienke was working at Top Chef Brian Malarkey's Searsucker in Scottsdale when Lewkowicz asked him to come check out the space and give his thoughts on its potential.

"I fell in love with it," Nienke says. "I was like, 'Uh, yeah, this is happening.'"

For both men, it's fair to say that "this" doesn't just mean re-opening.

"Our main goal . . . is to really pay homage to Christopher," Lewkowicz says.

"Neither of us is so ego-driven that we think we need to fix something that wasn't broken," Nienke adds.

Location Info

Cafe Monarch

6934 E. 1st Ave., Scottsdale, AZ

Category: Restaurant

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