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.
Next up, one of the most impressive duos in Arizona craft beer.
80. Jeff and Leah Huss of Huss Brewing Company
It's not often you find a couple as well matched as Jeff and Leah Huss — at least, that is, when it comes to beer. The couple, who opened Huss Brewing Co in Tempe in 2013, both bring plenty of experience to the project, which has helped Huss become one of the fastest-growing Arizona breweries.
Before Jeff and Leah grew up in central Illinois before making their way to the Valley. Leah, a graduate of Scottsdale Culinary Institute, was owner and manager of Papago Brewing Company in Scottsdale for more than 14 years, while Jeff graduated from both Purdue University and Siebel/Doemans Institute of Brewing. Jeff was also head brewer of BJ's Restaurant in Chandler for seven years.
Today the couple shares their go-to place for family dinner and the best-kept secret in Tempe.
Our go-to place for family dinner out in Phoenix is Pig n Pickle! Their food is always impressive, and it’s a great neighborhood spot!
The best kept secret in Tempe is Green Vegetarian Restaurant. Not that it’s a secret, but you won’t miss the meat, I promise!
One thing we miss about the Midwest is Saputo’s Italian Restaurant in Springfield, Illinois. Leah and her family grew up having family dinner at Saputo’s. Jeff and his prom date drove 45 minutes to eat there during high school, it is so good. The red sauce and salad dressing are in such demand they sell them to go. When family visits, often they are thoughtful enough to bring them out!
Phoenix could use more places serving Arizona craft beer. The spots dedicated to Arizona craft are few and far between. We are on the edge of becoming a great craft beer state and it would be amazing to see more Arizonan’s drinking independently owned, Arizona brewed beer! Ninety percent of craft beer consumed in the state comes from outside of our borders.
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Our culinary guilty pleasures are Sprinkles red velvet cupcakes and the Hell’s Fire Fries from AZ 88!
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"