October 8, 2010 | 11:06am
An historic 1929 mansion in South Phoenix is about to get a new life as a restaurant.
Pat Christofolo, owner of Santa Barbara Catering and The Farm Kitchen at The Farm at South Mountain, is teaming up with her chef son, Dustin, to open The House at Secret Garden, on October 29.
The casual, contemporary American lunch and dinner menus will focus on seasonal, local ingredients, including Fossil Creek and Black Mesa Ranch cheeses, meat from The Meat Shop and Power Ranch, and organic vegetables from McClendon Select and Maya's.
Lunch offerings include an artisan cheese board, sandwiches like smoked brisket with a side of polenta fries, and salads, from grilled romaine to beet and goat cheese. For dinner, there's all of that and more -- white wine-steamed mussels with cherry tomatoes and shallots, jumbo shrimp and grits with bacon, creamy carrots, and sweet corn-serrano sauce, handmade pappardelle with local sausage, and grass-fed shortribs braised in veal stock.
Desserts were devised by celebrated local pastry chef Tracy Dempsey. Look for fig-ricotta fritters, homemade ice cream, sweet potato pudding with toasted coconut marshmallows and pecan pie, and "chocolate cloud cake" with housemade fleur de sel caramel and a cloud of sweetened whipped cream.
Lunch will run from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., Monday through Saturday. Dinner starts at 5 p.m., Monday through Saturday, and continues until 9 p.m. (10 p.m. on Friday and Saturday). Weekday happy hour will run from 5 to 6:30 p.m.
The House at Secret Garden is located at 2501 E. Baseline Road in Phoenix. Call 602-243-8539 for details.