Cotton & Copper

1006 E. Warner Rd., #113
Tempe, AZ 85284
480-629-4270
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Cotton & Copper

Jackie Mercandetti Photo

This south Tempe “public house,” a dim but warm space vaguely reminiscent of an old saloon, is surely one of the most Arizonan restaurants in the Valley. Sean Traynor, proprietor and captain of a wide-ranging cocktail program, sources glasses for his measured libations from antique shops upstate. Tamara Stanger, one of the most incandescently creative culinary talents in metro Phoenix, plates poetic riff after poetic riff, cycling through an ecstatic run of country-fried nopales and mesquite-glazed chicken, bison carpaccio and tomahawk steaks with squash gravy and indigenous-style ash, and the most eruditely madcap pies in town. Stanger grew up in a Utah ghost town and incorporates wild ingredients into many of her creative dishes. She is one of the leading pioneers of New Arizonan, a cuisine that uses globally inspired techniques to take the wild and farmed foods from our state to never-before-seen places. Eating at Cotton & Copper is taking a gastronomic journey into the harshly beautiful land where the sprawl thins to dust and tiny-leafed trees. Most of the dishes of this wild nature cycle in as sweet and savory specials or live more permanently on the menu as chicken lacquered with mesquite glaze, or bison medallions with tepary beans and cheddar jus, or a Sonoran riff on hummus composed of tepary beans and pickled local produce, farmed and foraged. The food menu is positioned toward the concept of a drinkery, meaning lots of patty melts and fish sandwiches. As with the wilder stuff, Stanger makes these utterly her own.

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