Pit Stop

Have we had our last nibble of Sir Charles' excellent Texas-style ribs? The award-winning shop has closed, barely a year into its latest location at 23rd Street and Bell. I thought something was up when I read a notice of owner Charles Taylor's filing for bankruptcy about a month ago.

Despite packing in the accolades for his tooth-tender down-home victuals (Sir Charles was New Times' Best of Phoenix winner for Best Barbecue last year), running a business apparently wasn't as easy as manning the stoves. Taylor's original location at 12th Street and Northern opened in early 1997, then closed suddenly for several months in the summer of 2000.

No word on whether he'll resurface again; the restaurant phone is disconnected and the property is available for lease.

Blue Who: The guys from Dos Gringos are at it again. The highly popular bar and Mexican cafe in downtown Scottsdale (you know, the place that tossed out the foul-mouthed, drunken TV news anchor Liz Habib a little more than a year ago) has opened another operation down the street. Sugar Daddy's at Scottsdale Road and Osborn is primarily a blues bar, though its owners are pushing it as a family restaurant, too. The site is the former Avanti's Italian restaurant.

What's on the menu is anyone's guess. The owners are "seeking input from the community" before they commit to anything. For the time being, the focus is on "typical" appetizers, like pizza and tacos.

No doubt the music is delicious, though. Live bands rock nightly, including Big Pete Pearson, Hans Olson, and Big Nick and the Gila Monsters.

Rat Chow: Residents in the Arcadia neighborhood have their special problems with nasty roof rats infesting the area. Now, they've got the varmints in their local grocery store. The Safeway at 47th Street and Indian School is baking what it calls rat bread -- critter-shaped French-bread loaves complete with beady eyes (poppy seeds) and a long tail (a bread rope). Each rat snack costs 75 cents. How cute.

I've got to wonder, though, whether rodents are becoming a hallmark of Safeway. I was in the store in my north Scottsdale neighborhood the other day, and darned if I didn't see a furry little mouse scamper from the florist section back to a storage room (he was hightailing away from the beer aisle). Management chalked it up to the building's old age.

All I know is I'm staying away from the cheese.

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