Chef News

Steve Freidkin of TEXAZ Grill On Chicken-Fried Steak, His Favorite Local Deli, and the Two Local Chefs He Most Admires

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He and a friend entertained the notion of opening their own place in Portland, but they didn't have enough capital. The friend, who had attended ASU, knew somebody who knew somebody (namely, a Cork and Cleaver employee whose wife knew Bob Gosnell's wife) and Freidkin wound up in Phoenix opening the Pointe of View on 16th Street.

Three years down the road, Freidkin opened Clam Diggers at 28th Street and McDowell, a tiny place he describes as "really neat but poorly financed." It tanked two years later (in the meantime, Freidkin had shucked "more oysters than anyone in the state") and Freidkin decided to try his hand at catering, making food for Pony Express (a huge Country Western bar in Tower Plaza), PIR and Compton Terrace. Besides handling these huge venues, he was also doing backstage work for Denver-based Feyline Productions and Evening Star Productions, making food all day long and well into the night for entertainers and their massive crews. But that work quickly became a grind, and he and his friend Jim Mitchell (another Victoria Station alum) started talking about doing something small and manageable. When they heard through the grapevine one morning that the Carlos O'Brien's space was available, the two partners secured the space on a handshake that very afternoon. Now TEXAZ Grill is a dimly lit, quirky and infinitely comfortable Phoenix staple, offering up a delicious slice of Texas to Arizonans hungry for down-home.

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Nikki Buchanan