Chuck, Please

But price alone isn't always the best measure of quality. If that were so, Pinnacle Peak Patio's hamburger wouldn't be the beauty it is. This hamburger will show you how the West was won: a half-pound of beef ground from steak trim, packing a breathtaking beefy wallop.

As you may have surmised, Pinnacle Peak Patio is not where you want to feed your visiting Hindu guests. There's only one entree that doesn't come from a cow. But I expect only a vegetarian wouldn't enjoy the hickory-smoked chicken, a half-bird that's as moist and tasty as it could be.

Unfortunately, the go-withs are a serious letdown. Cowboy beans are much too bland; the baked potato tastes exactly like every spud you've ever eaten; and the boiled-to-death ear of corn that was harvested and frozen six months ago should be banned by the Geneva Convention. Some fresh-cut French fries would be a welcome menu addition.

Location Info


Pinnacle Peak Patio

10426 E. Jomax Road
Scottsdale, AZ 85262

Category: Restaurant > American

Region: North Scottsdale

You can wash down everything with Pinnacle Peak Patio's two microbrews, Diamondback lager and bock.

The two desserts are surprisingly effective. The New York-style cheesecake comes just the way it should, thick, heavy and creamy. And the hot apple pie tastes like someone just baked it. A scoop of cinnamon-swirl ice cream only adds to its charms.

Sure, Pinnacle Peak Patio is aimed directly at tourists. But it's no trap.

Greasewood Flats, East Pinnacle Peak--Star Route, Scottsdale, 585-9430. Hours: Lunch and Dinner, 11 a.m. to 1 a.m, seven days a week.

In stark contrast to Pinnacle Peak Patio, Greasewood Flats oozes with genuine, Old West charm. However, reasonable folks may disagree about the exact nature of this "charm" and the manner in which it is "oozed."

Without putting too fine a point on it, Greasewood Flats is basically a drinking hole. The major function of the grub is to keep customers from starving to death. If you're looking for a kitchen manned by a culinary-school graduate, pilgrim, you've come to the wrong place.

Owned by the operators of touristy Reata Pass Steakhouse, just a few hundred yards away, Greasewood Flats' bar and kitchen are housed in an atmospheric, hundred-year-old building. Most customers, however, will choose to sit outside, at wooden picnic tables, where they can listen to country-western bands Thursday through Sunday and swig their brewski of choice.

If you do decide to drink at the bar or sit at one of the decrepit indoor tables, you'd best warn your womenfolk not to gaze at the walls or ceiling.

Why? Practically every inch of space is scribbled over with graffiti, including X-rated drawings that would make a bordello keeper blush. Believe it or not, there's actually a sign that reads, "Do Not Write on Bathroom Walls." How effective is it? Imagine putting a cat in your parakeet's cage, and protecting your feathered friend by posting a "Do Not Disturb the Bird" message.

Prudes aren't the only ones who might have a tough time adapting to the setting. On one visit, when rain drove everyone indoors, the cigarette smoke was so thick I thought I'd wandered into the world's largest fireplace.

While Gloria Steinem and the surgeon general may not find Greasewood Flats all that appealing, less sensitive souls can have a good time. Weekends are the best time to come. Not only is there music, but that's also when the Mexican-food shack is open.

It's a separate building, housing a senorita, a stove and lots of pots. The oversize nachos platter should take care of three or four appetites. A small mountain of chips comes draped with cheese, ground beef, guacamole, sour cream and a sprinkling of olives. The thick tomato salsa is a plus.

The tamale plate also goes well with the music and beer. The two models, green corn and pork, are well-fashioned, and so are the refried beans. The shredded-beef taco is small, but serviceable.

If you come at other times, your dining options are severely limited. But that shouldn't be a problem, as long as you like hamburgers. The green chile cheeseburger is luscious, thick and juicy, and the cowboy-beans side shows a lot of spunk.

Greasewood Flats is probably not where you should be entertaining your Aunt Edith and Uncle Walter, who've just arrived from Milwaukee. But if you've got visitors who want to get beyond staged shoot-outs, phony Indian dances and Frontierland settings, this place should give them something to talk about on their flight home.

Pinnacle Peak Patio:

Greasewood Flats:
Shredded-beef taco
Tamale plate
Green chile cheeseburger

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