Restaurant News

Ex-Kai Chef Michael O'Dowd Taking on Motorcycle Enthusiasts and Golfers in Two Upcoming Restaurants

This year is shaping up to be a busy one for chef and first-time restaurateur Michael O'Dowd.

In May, the ex-Kai chef, who put the nationally renowned restaurant on the map during his 10-year reign, opened Renegade by MOD, his restaurant of eclectic global eats in North Scottsdale, under his new company, Vivid Lifestyle Concepts (VLC). O'Dowd operates VLC with partner Ed Leclere.

Now, the busy chef has announced plans for two new VLC restaurants that will open in the fall: The first is targeted at motorcycle enthusiasts. The second, golfers.

See also: Former Kai Guy Michael O'Dowd on What He's Up to at Renegade by MOD and the Problem with Comfort Food

In September, O'Dowd and Leclere, a former promotions director at Chester's Harley-Davidson in Mesa, will open Fork & Torque, a smokehouse-style restaurant housed inside a seven-acre, motorcycle-minded complex at Curry Road and McClintock Drive in Tempe.

The two have teamed up with Rick Hatch, a former Harley-Davidson dealer, on the ambitious project (called Motorsports Garage Fork & Torque) that, in addition to the restaurant, will also include a motorcycle and hot rod dealership and rental agency, a 5,000-seat concert venue, a clothing store, and a jewelry shop.

Following Fork & Torque, O'Dowd will hit the links when VLC takes over the food and beverage operations at Wicked 6 Grill at SunRidge Canyon, a public golf course in Fountain Hills.

"Wicked 6 Bar & Grill by MOD is really my answer to fortify golf cuisine," O'Dowd says. "I can do my part in spreading quality food to golf courses while presenting it with a modernized look and feel."

Inspired by the course's panoramic views of Four Peaks, O'Dowd says he aspires to have Wicked 6 expand on having fun with food (think tapas-like options) while bringing the outdoors in -- much like "Frank Lloyd Wright's idea of working seamlessly with nature."

O'Dowd also is re-imagining the Wicked 6 Roadhouse, located on the ninth hole, which he envisions stocked with grab-and-go snacks like pig sliders, tacos, and brats. He'll also be redoing the beverage carts, or "Wicked Sleds," as well.

SunRidge Canyon, currently closed for enhancements, is set to re-open in October.

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Laura Hahnefeld
Contact: Laura Hahnefeld