Cheeky rock 'n' roll-themed Chinese restaurants don't die, they just wait two years before resurrecting themselves in a nearby location.
At least that's the case for Chop and Wok. Established in 1986, the decades-old "gourmet Oriental wok star bar" in North Scottsdale suffered a fire in 2011. And this week, after nearly two years of remodeling efforts at its old location, the restaurant resurfaced in a new space just steps away -- and its loyal fans couldn't be happier.
"It's nice, but not too nice," jokes Jamie Mather, who bought Chop and Wok in 2002.
And Mather's got some new ideas in store for this old favorite.
Mather, who's also a member of rock band Blanche Davidian, says after the fire, Chop and Wok was initially supposed to come back in its original location (the small building next to the Circle K on the northwest corner of Scottsdale and Shea), but that things didn't work out.
"After a year and a half of construction, we were forced out of business for reasons not of our doing," he explains.
A new location, catty-corner from the old one, seemed perfect. The former home of Rio Sabor Brazilian Steakhouse (at the southeast corner of Scottsdale and Shea), Mather says the new remodeled home of Chop and Wok is at least twice the size and with more indoor space than the old building.
Along with a patio and take-out area in the front, the new space also features a centrally located bar, see-through window to the kitchen, and walls filled with rock 'n' roll and punk rock memorabilia, much of it donated by local musicians.
Mather's also planning to bring back live music to the restaurant. He says he'll start with an open mic night every Thursday and add new events over the next few weeks.
And he's got some new things in store for the menu.
Chop and Wok's menu of Americanized Chinese food (think chow mein, crab puffs, and pu pu platters) has been brought back in full along with its "31 flavors" of beer. The restaurant and bar stay open until 2 a.m. every day and delivery is available until midnight. Even Chop and Wok's chef, who's worked at the restaurant for 26 years, is still in place.
Mather says he'd like to add at some point in the future a Sunday brunch and breakfast every day. He's also planning on creating a separate menu he calls "Hong Kong pub grub" featuring Mexican street food like quesadillas and nachos with an Asian twist.
On coming back after two years, Mather, who initially worked at Chop and Wok before purchasing it 11 years ago, is ecstatic.
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"It's been a part of my life on and off for 22 years," he says. "It feels good to be back and see a lot of old friends."
Chop and Wok 10425 North Scottsdale Road, Scottsdale 480-483-1939 http://www.chopandwok.com
Hours: 10 a.m. -- 2 a.m. everyday