Michael O'Dowd of Urban Vine: "I'm Trying to Be Normal, But It's Hard."

Categories: Chef and Tell

One song to describe Urban Vine: Sam & Dave, "Hold On I'm Comin'"

The dish on the menu that best showcases your culinary style: Probably the Pulled Pork Scented with Mole. Simple yet hard to do right accented with bold flavors.

What's your ultimate vision for the restaurant: To be connected to the local neighborhood while offering great food, excellent service and to be a hang out slash watering hole for people looking to enjoy great wines, local and global beers and unique elixirs.

Lauren Saria
Gazpacho with jumbo lump crab meat.
The biggest lesson you've learned over the last year: Stay away from big talker partners with zero knowledge of food & beverage. Big talker Betty Crocker types.

Would you do anything differently if you had another chance? Nope...Life is about learning, growing and adapting to ones environment.

What drew you to this location: The neighborhood, the historical relevance and the unique cottage-like house situated on a busy, up-and-coming corridor.

What was the inspiration/s for the concept: Simply a local food & beverage hang out that anyone at any age can enjoy. Low key, fresh ingredients, friendly service, great wines, cocktails & beers. Welcome to my house.

One thing you want everyone to understand about the new restaurant: That we are not KAI and that we are not trying to be a five star, five diamond restaurant. Been there done that many times. A 5/5 venue will come and when it does you'll be sure that I will announce it as our push to be a 5/5. If you are looking for 5/5 quality ingredients yes we have it but you may not find a water bottle sitting in your car when you leave.

In your mind, how will it be similar and different from Renegade by MOD: It is already morphing into a whimsical place for food as it's in my DNA. It has elements of my lasts jaunts but again it's a new canvas, new location and a new beginning. I like to listen to the feedback then design around portions of the local voice.

What's the target demographic for Urban Vine: Local and surrounding valley patrons looking for a relaxed hang out that offers quality food & beverage. Artists, historians, museum staff, healthcare, hipsters, LBGT community, wine snobs, beer nuts, foodies, hood friends etc. etc. Our doors are open to everyone.

When it comes to the Chef Special's what sort of things can people expect: A range of products that are sourced fresh daily.

What's your favorite kind of cuisine to cook: It's all good. I like to cook anything from any culture because it is within the culture is where we find the people, flavors and ingredients that represent each geographic region.

What's your favorite kind of cuisine to eat: I love all food that is my problem...addiction.

Ten years ago I was...in a triple wide trailer office pod on the reservation building menus for Kai and Sheraton Wild Horse Pass resort while the resort was being finished. When someone fired up a burrito in the microwave the whole pod of computers would shut down...Good times!

One thing most people don't know about you: I love to race cars for adrenalin and fly fish for serenity. I'm a frustrated writer.

Your personal mantra or catch phrase: I don't really have any one phrase but I do like to live life to the fullest, laugh as much as possible, love more each day, and give as much as I can to my family and team as well as others in terms of what I know, have seen, or want to do. Brainstorming is a blast.

Your favorite local restaurant right now and why: That's a tough one but Binkley's, Petite Maison, and Christopher's are solid. All have a great vibe you can bank on.

Your favorite cookbook right now: Too busy to read now and don't really read cookbooks. I like learning about a chef's world meaning what they do for a hobby, how they think about food, what motivates them, etc. For me it is life that dictates my food, not books. It's the smell of the damp grass in the morning or the aroma of a wild jasmine plant. It is life's voice that I listen to and past experiences in life combined with memories as a child growing up.

The one cookbook you think everyone should read and why: White Heat, Marco Pierre White is a cool cat with a twisted good mind.

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Location Info

Urban Vine

2201 N. 7th Street, Phoenix, AZ

Category: Restaurant

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Kay Morris
Kay Morris

High hopes and best wishes for Urban Vine. But "White Heat"? Oh please. What a poser choice which makes me a seriously wonder.

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