East Indian School is really hoppin' right now. Along with last week's openings (Maui Dog and Loving Hut) and another spot coming soon (Beckett's Table), the latest debut is Vatra Grillhouse (at the southeast corner of Indian School and 56th Street).
"The name Vatra means "fire" in a number of Slavic languages," says corporate manager Andy Miller, who came up with the concept along with partner Anndee Rickey. "It's not Slavic food, though. We just thought it was a cool word that fits with our concept." Mike Grzegorek is the operating partner.
Wood-fired dishes from the grill and oven make up the bulk of chef Christian Movassaghi's menu, including a caprese salad with chargrilled tomatoes, a Caesar with charred hearts of romaine, Neapolitan pizzas, steaks and skewered meats, and marinated Moroccan chicken.
"We used to be the purple building," Miller says of the restaurant's locale, a well-known spot on Indian School that's been vacant for four years. It was a longstanding auto shop, and opened in 1961 as a gas station. Miller says they renovated the existing shell to feature "great Camelback Mountain views," a full bar, and a patio.
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Vatra is open for lunch and dinner. Call 480-994-5656 for details.