Brian Archibald of The Graduate Tempe on Opening Restaurants and What He Missed About Phoenix

Categories: Chef and Tell

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Lauren Saria
Brian Archibald
Executive Chef
Tapacubo, The Normal Diner
Graduate Tempe
graduatetempe.com/dining

With the arrival of the Graduate Tempe one of the prime properties around the Arizona State University campus will finally be used to its full potential. The new boutique hotel is one of the first to come from a new brand that's targeting city schools and their guests - potential students, alumni, visiting parents - by taking over older hotels and turning them into retro-chic accommodations. In this case, that means saying good-bye to the Twin Palms Hotel.

"It was in bad shape," says Graduate Tempe Executive Chef Brian Archibald. "The city was glad to have us take it over."

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Tomaso Maggiore of Tomaso's and Vivo Ristorante on What Makes a Restaurant Last

Categories: Chef and Tell

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Lauren Saria
Tomaso Maggiore at Vivo Ristorante.
Tomaso Maggiore
Owner, Executive chef
Tomaso's
www.tomasos.com
Vivo Ristorante
www.vivoaz.com

Tomaso Maggiore opened his 12th Valley restaurant, a shiny new Italian spot, in a trendy Scottsdale strip mall earlier this fall. But while the restaurant, with its more affordable menu and relaxed atmosphere, fits well in current times, its owner longs for the days of tuxedoed waiters and salads tossed tableside.

"Young people, frankly, I feel bad for you guys," Maggiore says in a pleasant Italian accent. "Your dining is not what it used to be when I was your age. You know, it was wonderful, dressing up, going to dinner, the servers, a wonderful bottle of wine. You guys don't go for that stuff anymore. Why is that?"


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Amy Bouzaglo of Amy's Baking Company on Bad Publicity, Bullies, and the Best (and Worst) Thing About Owning a Restaurant

Categories: Chef and Tell

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Coutesy of Amy Bouzaglo
Amy Bouzaglo
Chef, owner
Amy's Baking Company
7366 E. Shea Blvd, Scottsdale
amys-baking-company.myshopify.com

In the back corner of an unremarkable Scottsdale strip mall there's a quaint and extremely tidy restaurant owned by a married couple.

The wife, a blonde who considers herself an Arizona native, runs the back of the house. The husband, an immigrant who came to this country 14 years ago, oversees the front of house operations.

They've been serving simple food and desserts from their restaurant for the last eight years. The wife, who has experience in interior design, decorated the black and white restaurant. She says she even put the Venetian plaster on the walls herself.

If you didn't know their names were Amy and Samy Bouzaglo, this couple would be easy to like at best and unexceptional at worst. Unfortunately, chances are slim that you don't already know who they are.

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Jeffrey Amber of Forge Pizza on Costco Pizza and Differences Between Phoenix and The Bay

Categories: Chef and Tell

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Lauren Saria
Jeffrey Amber
Executive Chef
Forge Pizza
2502 E. Camelback Road, Phoenix
www.theforgepizza.com

"I want it to be a pizza party," says chef Jeffrey Amber of the three-week-old Forge Pizza Phoenix. "I want it to be fun."

The 1,500 square foot eatery is the third Forge Pizza location to come from the Le Bon Temps Restaurants team, which consists of Michael Karp, Bob Burke, and Phoenix-based architect Andy Byrnes. This newest location is much smaller than the flagship restaurant located at on the waterfront of Jack London Square in Oakland. Amber describes that 4,800 square foot restaurant as "huge," "rockin'," and "loud" and though they're tight on space here, the chef says he aimes to bring that same feel and spirit to the Biltmore Fashion Park.

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Tom Harvey of Cuff in Glendale: "I Loved the Industry Long Before I Loved to Cook"

Categories: Chef and Tell

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Lauren Saria
Tom Harvey
Executive Chef
Cuff
5819 W Glendale Drive, Glendale
www.cuffdowntown.com

It might surprise you to hear that Tom Harvey, a former executive chef at Eddie V's in Scottsdale, chose to leave his comfortable, cushy corporate gig to help open an independent restaurant in downtown Glendale. But Harvey and business partner David Chang believe in the West Valley neighborhood.

'This community, it gives success to restaurants that really hard," Harvey says.

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Gabriele Bertaccini of iL Tocco Food: "Life Is About Beautiful Things"

Categories: Chef and Tell

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Courtesy of Gabriele Bertaccini
Gabriele Bertaccini
Owner, Executive chef
il Tocco Food
www.iltoccofood.com

Gabriele Bertaccini looks more like an Italian clothing model than a hardworking, über successful chef. But if you get him talking about cooking, dining, and Italian cuisine, it becomes immediately clear that he's much more than just a handsome face and an exceptionally well-tailored suit. He waxes poetic about the beauty of sunsets, the sensual side of dining, and his passion for bringing a taste of his Italian homeland to his guests in a way that's nothing short of inspirational.

This fall the chef's underground dining series, Culinary Mischief, will enter its fifth season and already the first event has been met with overwhelming success. Within three hours of opening reservations for the exclusive dining event, Bertaccini received more than 225 responses.


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Stephen Eldridge of Pink Pony: "I Think We're Moving in the Right Direction"

Categories: Chef and Tell

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Lauren Saria
Stephen Eldridge
Executive Chef
Pink Pony
3831 North Scottsdale Road, Scottsdale
www.pinkponyscottsdale.com /www.facebook.com/pinkponyscottsdale

You can't talk about dining in Old Town Scottsdale without mentioning the Pink Pony. After all, the steak house has been a part of the restaurant scene since for more than 60 years.

You can imagine that means there's a lot of history there, history that for the most part revolves around the restaurant's role as a gathering place during spring training. Over the years the restaurant has served a star-studded laundry list of baseball players. And their fans.


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Stephen Jones of Bootleggers: "I'm Just Going to Do the Damn Thing"

Categories: Chef and Tell

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Courtesy of Bootleggers
Chef Stephen Jones
Stephen Jones
Executive Chef
Bootleggers Modern American Smokehouse

When we met with Stephen Jones late last week, it'd been just over a week since he started his new gig as executive chef of Bootleggers Modern American Kitchen. And in just that short amount of time, he'd already written a new menu and formed some solid ideas about the changes he'll be bringing to the restaurant.

Jones, who came to Phoenix by way of Chicago in 2008, made his name in the local food scene when he opened Blue Hound Kitchen and Cocktails at Kimpton's Hotel Palomar in 2012. He'd been at a handful of other local restaurants prior, but it was his distinctive take on classic American and Southern cuisine at Blue Hound that propelled him to the forefront of the Valley's culinary scene.

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Silvana Salcido Esparza on Barrio Queen: "I'm Proud of What I Did"

Categories: Chef and Tell

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Lauren Saria
Chef Silvana Salcido Esparza
Silvana Salcido Esparza
Chef, Owner
Barrio Cafe
www.barriocafe.com

If you haven't been paying close attention, then the past few weeks may have been a bit confusing in regard to what exactly James Beard Award-nominated chef Silvana Salicido Esparza is and isn't up to these days. So first, let's clear up a few things.

As of mid-August, Esparza no longer is part of Barrio Queen in Scottsdale, which also means she's no longer a part of the second Barrio Queen location that will open in Gilbert. And those plans she had for a fast-casual spot on the west side? Those are shot too. Yes, she did help design a burrito concept for the Arizona Mills Mall food court, but it's not under her control now that it's open.


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Matt Zdeb of SumoMaya: "I Don't Want Anyone to Walk Out of Here Unhappy"

Categories: Chef and Tell

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Lauren Saria
Chef Matt Zdeb of SumoMaya in Scottadale
Matt Zdeb
Executive Chef
SumoMaya Mexican Asian Kitchen
www.sumomaya.com

When local restaurant owner German Osio announced his plans to open an ambitious Mexican-Asian restaurant last summer, he immediately made SumoMaya one of 2014's most-anticipated dining spots. Then Osio stoked the fire even more by announcing celebrity-chef Herb Wilson would be heading up the kitchen.

Well, SumoMaya finally opened in June but after just two months Wilson jumped ship to go open another new restaurant in Florida. That left former executive sous chef Matt Zdeb holding the reins to one of Scottsdale's buzz-iest dining spots.

"This is more than I ever could have imagined when I sat down with German," Zdeb says.


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