100 Tastemakers in Phoenix

Brandon Casey of The Ostrich on the Best Dive Bars in Arizona

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.

53. Brandon Casey of The Ostrich

"Growing up in Tempe, close to Arizona State University, destined me for a life in and or around the bar industry," says mixologist Brandon Casey. His first gig was at Top of the Rock at the Buttes as a host when he was 15, and he's had pretty much every job in between there and ownership over the last 15 years. Casey spent much of his career at Old Town Scottsdale's Citizen Public House, which he left in 2015 to open The Ostrich, a speakeasy-inspired cocktail bar in downtown Chandler. He recently took his first foray into bar ownership, purchasing The Woodshed 1 sports bar in Tempe. 

"This is certainly an industry I never thought I would fall in love with as much as I have," he says. 

Today he dishes on industry night at The Q & Brew in Tempe and his guilty pleasure drink. 

My go-to place for Mexican Food in Phoenix is Rosita's in Tempe

The best-kept secret in Phoenix is 
The Q & Brew, free industry pool on Wednesday nights, they'll microwave anything you bring in, and it's in an old strip club by the railroad tracks ... how could that be bad!?

Phoenix could use more well-thought-out tapas menus and less burger chains. I think we all know In-N-Out is the best anyway.

The three best dive bars in Arizona are The Palo Verde Lounge, The Monte Vista Lounge in Flagstaff, and The Woodshed 1 in Tempe, because I just bought it!

My guilty pleasure drink is Coors Light and an expensive shot of whiskey. There is something about how a fine macro brew pairs with a well-aged and -defined whiskey that helps me embrace my inner garbage person. 

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
56. David Tyda of EATERAZ and Arizona Taco Festival
55. Pavle Milic of FnB
54. Pat Christofolo of Santa Barbara Catering Company and The Farm at South Mountain