It’s your Friday food-and-drink news recap. This week: Phoenix's barbecue and cocktail makers get some awards, the north and west Valley get some new restaurants, and a local coffee chain gives back ... locally.
Michael Waltrip Will Launch a Brewing Company Here
We don’t often have the occasion to spotlight NASCAR news, the exception of last year’s keto-heavy interview with Matt Tifft notwithstanding. Today, we've got some: former driver Michael Waltrip is starting his own brewing company, and it will be headquartered in the Valley. The aptly named Michael Waltrip Brewing Company will offer beers with names like Two Time (because he’s won the Daytona 500 twice) and Checkered Past (a coconut IPA). A production facility and the Two Time Tap Room are expected for late 2020, though an address has yet to be announced.
Some Awards for the Phoenix Food and Drink Scene
The winners of the remaining 2020 James Beard Awards will not be announced this year (sorry, Phoenix chef finalists), but some local restaurateurs have pulled in a few other accolades recently. Phil “the Grill” Johnson of downtown’s Trapp Haus BBQ placed 19th out of 224 competitors in the 2020 American Royal World Series of Barbecue rub contest, winning him a 2020 Best Rub on the Planet award. In addition, Arcadia’s Century Grand is one of four Best New American Cocktail Bar finalists in the 2020 Spirited Awards. The winner will be announced September 21.
Three New Restaurants Coming to Peoria's Park West
Park West in Peoria will soon be welcoming three new locations of well-known restaurants: Hash Kitchen, The Sicilian Butcher, and The Sicilian Baker. All are part of the Maggiore Group, and these west Valley locations are scheduled to begin operation in September 2020. They join a few other locations of local restaurant chains — Pita Jungle, Cold Beers and Cheeseburgers — that are already up and running at the Peoria shopping district.
Aioli Gourmet Burgers Opening in Northern Phoenix
The third location of Aioli Gourmet Burgers is set to open on September 7 in the former site of Caveman Burgers, one of our dearly departed COVID closures. The new Aioli location will be 430 East Bell Road, #103, in north Phoenix. This news comes six months after Aioli — which, we must note, serves one of the best burgers in the Valley — opened a spot in Litchfield Park, its second location.
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Press Coffee’s Community Blend Gives Back
The local coffee chain recently released a Community Blend coffee. Each quarter, a portion of the blend's sales will go toward a local organization. First up is the Arizona Coalition for Change, a Phoenix-based organization focused on bettering public education, increasing voters’ rights, and criminal justice reform. A bag of the blend (it has notes of strawberry, nougat, and sugarcane, in case you were curious) costs $19 and will be available at all eight stores of Press Coffee and/or online.