How long does it take for an international culinary trend to hit Arizona? I'm always curious about the trickle-down effect.
In the case of gastropubs, the trend du jour, it's about six years, if you consider the 2004 debut of The Spotted Pig in Manhattan's West Village to be any major milestone. Gastropubs' popularity in Great Britain goes back even further.
And now, with nary an AZ gastropub in sight until this new decade, suddenly there are three new restaurants calling themselves just that. Culinary Dropout and Mabel's on Main launched about a month ago, and now there's a Mad Chef Gastropub, new spot in Ahwatukee that just opened today.
How does owner Vincent Rana define "gastropub," you might wonder?
"It's a pub that has all the liquor (of a full bar), but the main focus is food -- really good homestyle food," Rana says.
To look at the menu, there's a cornucopia of everything here -- pub grub like bangers & mash and fish & chips, "oriental" chicken salad, St. Louis-style ribs, Italian snacks like crostini and charcuterie, French onion soup, roasted turkey sandwich with cranberry sauce, a few entrees like pesto-crusted salmon, and burgers (of course).
Mad Chef occupies the former Big Daddy's Smokehouse at 3941 E. Chandler Blvd, #101, in Ahwatukee, and is open daily from 11 a.m. to 2 a.m.