Mondo Beef

Talk is swirling that the massive Mondo's restaurant may be closing, barely a year after opening at The Promenade on Scottsdale Road south of Frank Lloyd Wright Boulevard. While restaurant staffers say it's "just a dirty rumor," court documents suggest otherwise.

A lawsuit filed September 5 shows that Mondo's of Scottsdale has filed suit against the Smith & Wollensky Restaurant Group, claiming breach of contract for a failed sale. The suit says that SWRG offered "to purchase Mondo's interests under the lease" including its fixtures and equipment. The deal was to close September 3, with SWRG taking occupancy in early October.

The changeover would be a big deal to the Valley. In size alone, Mondo's is an imposing presence in the restaurant industry, with the Scottsdale store spanning more than 18,000 square feet and seating 500. The chain entered with a bang last summer, touting its almost 100 entrees, full-service bakery and upscale mahogany bar.

Mondo's loss would be our gain, though: Smith & Wollensky is one of the best steak houses in the nation, serving aged, USDA Prime beef at its stores in New York, Chicago, Miami, New Orleans, Washington, D.C., Philadelphia and Las Vegas. One of its charms is its staff loyalty, so strong that the steak house boasts, "Our USDA prime beef is aged on the premises. Come to think of it, so are our waiters." A clutch of employees have been with the award-winning steak house for 20 years, dishing out specialties like pea soup, English cut prime rib, steamed lobster and Bourbon pecan pie.

Mondo's had high hopes for Scottsdale, committing to a 20-year lease, with six five-year renewal options.

This Dinner's a Disaster: Some seats still remain for October 7's Disaster Relief Dinner at Eddie Matney's, 24th Street and Camelback. One hundred percent of all proceeds will be donated to the American Red Cross.

The progressive, $100-a-plate meal includes hors d'oeuvres by Chef Razz Kamnitzer (Razz's), appetizer by Chef Michael DeMaria (Michael's at the Citadel), salad by Chef Robert McGrath (Roaring Fork), entree by Chef Matney, and dessert by Chef RoxSand Scocos (RoxSand).

Telephoney: Last week's information about the October 11 Windows of Hope fund-raising dinner included an incorrect phone number. The real number is 602-522-2344. Seats are still available for the dinner, hosted by Chef Christopher Gross and showcasing some 20 of our Valley's top chefs.


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