"I'm terrified as shit, but in a locker-room-before-the-game kind of way."
That's what Keenan Bosworth says about opening Pig & Pickle, his first restaurant, slated to open at the end of November in Scottsdale serving comfort food with a gourmet twist.
The Wisconsin-born chef, who moved to the Valley in 2004, knows a little something about food featuring local ingredients sourced from the area's farmers markets -- his résumé includes gigs at Rancho Pinot, the defunct Digestif, and Atlas Bistro. Plus, Boworth, whose title at Pig & Pickle is kitchen manager, will be sharing the highs and lows of restaurant ownership with Joshua Riesner, his chef partner at Atlas and operational manager at Pig & Pickle.
Bosworth tells me the thinking behind Pig & Pickle is to show folks that quality food doesn't have to cost a lot.
"I can't afford the food at the restaurant I work at right now [both Bosorth and Riesner are at Atlas until November 10] and I hate that," says Bosworth. "That's one of the reasons we're [Pig & Pickle's] not in Old Town."
The Pig & Pickle menu, which Bosworth describes as "mellow," features a comfort-food-meets-gourmet (and heavy on the meat) array of starters, salads, sandwiches, entrees, and sides. Although not yet complete, a sneak peek revealed tasty sounding dishes such as a braised pork belly starter with yam puree and a Brussels sprout slaw; a duck ham salad; a sandwich of sliced pot roast; entrees such as confit pork shank, seared trout, and cioppino stew; and sides like goat cheese and rosemary mac and cheese, crispy duck fat potatoes, and mung bean cakes and ponzu.
Bosworth says the menu will change frequently (although not as frequently as the daily-changing Atlas Bistro) and that he plans to stay open until 1 a.m. daily with a menu geared toward the service industry.
The Pig & Pickle space, formerly a Chinese restaurant and then Detours Tavern, has been completely gutted. Bosworth says the remodeled restaurant, which seats around 150, will feature an open kitchen, a wood-burning oven where the bread will be made, a full bar, and a private dining room with a barn door called the "Pig Pen."
Bosworth adds Pig & Pickle will be open for dinner to start, with lunch and a weekend brunch to follow.
"The idea isn't to change yourself," Bosworth says of becoming a first-time chef-owner. "You have a lot more on the line, but you have friends that support you. And the culinary community here has been tremendous."
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Pig & Pickle 2922 North Hayden Road, Scottsdale www.pigandpickle.com