From now until we publish the 2016 edition of Best of Phoenix, New Times is naming 100 Tastemakers — members of our local culinary community who help shape the way we eat, drink, and think about food in Phoenix. Some you'll know, and for others, it'll be a first introduction, but each person on our list deserves a nod for helping make our city so delicious. Oh, and while you're here, be sure to check out our list of 100 Creatives.
56. David Tyda of EATERAZ and Arizona Taco Festival
Though it may have started as a snarky-but-honest food blog back in 2009, EATERAZ has since grown into one of the Valley's top food festival production companies. Sure, you can still check the website for bits of news and a restaurant review, but mostly, these days, it's known as the driving force behind events including the Arizona Taco Festival, Street Eats Food Truck Festival, and 2014's Scottsdale Beer Palooza.
Before starting the EATERAZ with partner Rick Phillips, David Tyda worked as a magazine editor for more than a decade. These days, however, food-festival production — and staying active on Instagram — keep him busier than blogging or writing reviews. He and Phillips got into the event game seven years ago with a barbecue festival held on a dirt lot across from Scottsdale's Olive and Ivy, and have been hooked on bringing Valley diners together to eat, drink, and party ever since. Most recently, Tyda launched the Phoenix Pizza Festival, which will return this November for a second year.
Today he dishes on his go-to place for ribs and why he's over overeating.
My go-to place for ribs in Phoenix used to be Little Miss BBQ. I’d ride my bike to Phoenix Public Market, chat with Scott and Bekke, who used to vend out there before the restaurant, and grab a rack for the week ahead. Now you can’t get in their place. So luckily, my biz partner in the Taco Fest owns Bootleggers, where I still get delicious ribs, but now they’re free!
The best-kept secret in Phoenix is where Richardson Browne of Richardson’s lives. I imagine it to be a really cool cave filled with cash and great lighting. I bet the music’s always rockin’ and there’s nothing but white wine in the fridge. I love that guy.
My dream food festival would be called The Taco Festival and would serve you guessed it, tacos and margaritas. It sounds cliché, but that festival is a dream come true. It’s got awesome food and drinks, the crowd is fun as hell, and it supports local businesses. And, I’ve made some great friends along the way.
Right now, I'm totally obsessed with figuring out why no one has knocked off Postino, as a concept. It’s so perfectly simple and great. People knock off restaurants all the time, so why has no one copied that one? No one ever should because that’s bad karma and it’s owned by really kind people, but still, why has there not been a Postino fugazie in this town or anywhere else? And I'm totally over eating. No, not over eating, I mean overeating. I love producing food festivals, but do you know how many calories I have to consume to stay current in this business? It’s obscene. I’m ashamed. Quick shout out to my Mom and Dad for the skinny genes.
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A taco should never be a weapon. I’m saddened when I hear people call tacos or taco festivals a representation of some alleged American appropriation of Mexican culture. Tacos are the world’s most adapted and adaptable food item. That should be celebrated. Plus, at the end of the day, I think we’re all just trying to have as much fun as we can before Trump gets us all blown up.
The 2016 Tastemakers so far:
100. Aaron Chamberlin of St. Francis and Phoenix Public Market Cafe
99. Ross Simon of Bitter & Twisted Cocktail Parlour
98. Debby Wolvos of DW Photography
97. Anibal and Salem Beyene of Café Lalibela Ethiopian Restaurant
96. Bo Mostow of Uptown Farmers Market
95. Julian Wright of Pedal Haus Brewery
94. Stephen Jones of The Larder + The Delta
93. Eric Glomski of Page Spring Cellars
92. Richard Bock of Giuseppe's on 28th
91. Walter Sterling of Ocotillo
90. Daniel Sevilla of Angry Crab Shack
89. Doug Robson of Gallo Blanco and Otro Cafe
88. LaDawn Driscoll of Liberty Market
87. Jason Calhoon of The Shop Beer Co. and Side Kick Cold Brew
86. Tim and Kim Cobb of United Lunchadores Street Gourmet
85. Micah Olson of Bar Crudo and Okra Cookhouse and Cocktails
84. Paola Embry of Christopher's + Crush and The Wrigley Mansion
83. Jared Porter of The Clever Koi
82. Diane Corieri of Evening Entertainment Group
81. Erich Schultz of Steadfast Farm Shares His Go-To Place For Beer That Tastes "Like Arizona"
80. Jeff and Leah Huss of Huss Brewing Company
79. Aaron Pool of Gadzooks Enchiladas and Soup
78. Diana Santospago of The Maine Lobster Lady food truck
77. Gio Osso of Virtu Honest Craft and Nico Heirloom Kitchen
76. Lauren Bailey of Upward Projects
75. Rodney Hu of Arizona Distilling Company and Yucca Tap Room
74. Jacob Cutino of Homeboy's Hot Sauce
73. Country and Sergio Velador of Super Chunk Sweets and Treats
72. Dean Thomas of Cornish Pasty Co.
71. Jennifer Caraway of The Joy Bus
70. Scott Holmes of Little Miss BBQ
69. Jared Allen of Proof Artisan Breads
68. Steve McFate of McFate Brewing Company
67. Mel Mecinas of Four Seasons Resort Scottsdale at Troon North
66. Jessa and Dan Koppenhofer of Gilbert Farmers Market
65. Todd and Kelly Bostock of Dos Cabezas WineWorks
64. Ryan Probst of Odelay Bagel Co.
63. Diana Brandt of AZFoodie
62. Benjamin Butler of Hayden Flour Mills
61. Jim and Maureen Elitzak of Zak's Chocolate
60. Michael Babcock of Welcome Diner and Welcome Chicken + Donuts
59. Nick Ambeliotis of Mediterra Bakehouse
58. Peter Kasperski of Cowboy Ciao and Kazimierz World Wine Bar
57. Kimber Stonehouse of LGO Hospitality