Mar 11, 2015

Craft 64 is Opened for Business! (and you really need to visit!)

You may recall, a few weeks back I wrote about my good friend James Swann's new adventure, the soon to be craft beer and wine bar "Craft 64". Well, I was lucky enough to be in the area this afternoon, so Mrs. Czar and myself paid James a visit, to see how things were going. I am so glad we did.

They had a sort of "unannounced" soft opening this past weekend. Despite virtually no press, aside from an announcement on social media, I am told it was pretty successful. Despite not being completely up and running yet (most noticeably, the 30 more taps that still need to be installed by next week (ish). (So, please note, if you do plan on going in the next few days, or week, there is a limited (albeit very good) tap selection as well as beer in cans and bottles.)

Now, before I talk at all about my impressions of Craft 64, I will admit, from the start, I was excited about the concept. A scratch kitchen, with artisanal, wood fired, hand crafted pizza, homemade breads, fine wines and most importantly (at least to me) an "All Arizona", local only tap list. That is why I was so excited when they finally opened their doors, and I got a chance to check it out. Here is what I found out....

James greeted us upon walking in (we were the first one there this day), and excitedly advised me to check the
place out, walk around, take pictures, explore whatever. Craft 64 has a small, cozy front patio, as well as a larger, equally cozy patio in the back. The day we were there, it was a beautiful, 80 something plus degree's out, the kind of weather patio seating was designed for! Despite this, we elected to sit at the bar so we could listen to James proudly boast about their kitchen, their wood burning oven, his partners, their team working for them, and especially their food. The dinning room is good size, and features quite a few tables, a large community table, and bar seating. James made sure to point out there is no high top seating. This is a restaurant, not just a bar, he is proud the food they serve here, and we soon found out why.

James went over the menu with us, consisting of about 7 different pizza's, various boards, bruschetta, and about five or so salads. Despite being a smaller menu, trying to decide what to have was still an issue, since just about everything I saw on the menu looked very appealing.

On James recommendation, we decided on the "Fico" (fig) pizza with prosciutto. This was a pizza made with fresh mozzarella (made in house, every morning by the way), buratta, parmigiano, truffle oil, and fig sauce topped with arugula. I know what you are thinking, fig, on a pizza? HELL YES! This is a very unique, savory pizza that has a sweetness to it that is just to die for.

Chef "Lachos"
While we were enjoying our own pizza, we where also enjoying watching the various items leaving the kitchen bound for the diners that had been slowly making their way in while we chatted at the bar and enjoyed our beers. From the mounds of colorful salads (one made with rainbow Kale) to the impressive, ample sized bruschetta, and out of this world pizzas, everything that left the kitchen was beyond impressive. The man behind the impressive menu at Craft 64, is Chef "Lachos", who has spent the last 17 years perfecting his craft at the famous, and renowned Pizzeria Bianco in Phoenix (voted the best pizza in the country a few years back...).
OK, so say you are just out shopping in Scottsdale or something, and just want to swing in for a glass of wine and some dessert? No problem. Craft 64 has a small dessert menu as well, and by small, I mean it only has 2 items currently. However, on of those items prominently featured the words "Nuttella", so I didn't get any further then that (I am told the other item is a classic tiramisu). We got a "Nuttella Sandwich, which is more like a large calzone, stuffed with Nuttella, plantains, butter and topped roasted hazelnuts. Plenty big enough for 2 or 3 people to share (I would say, too large for just one person), this dessert is just a decadent, delicious pile of goodness.

While we were there they only had 6 beers on tap. As I previously stated, they will be installing 30 more next week (ish).
The tap list will include nothing but local craft beers all brewed here in the state of Arizona. When asked if he had any criteria as to what kind of beer he will serve there (batch, brewery size, region, style etc.) James simply stated, "if its brewed in Arizona, and its good, we will serve it". Pretty simple criteria. James told me a few of the kegs he has waiting in the wings, and, while I won't give anything away right now, I will say, its the kind of stuff people have been known to line up and wait for. You can always expect something special on tap here, as well as the local favorite "go to" beers. So there will be something for everyone, of every taste.

Its not just for beer folks either. A large portion of their menu was dedicated to wines. While it may not be the largest selection of wines you'll find (its by no means small, don't get me wrong), the ones they serve are carefully selected. If you can't decide what wine to have with your food, they even have a sommelier in house to help you out!

Fresh made bread, made in-house,
every morning.
So, come for the beer and wine, stay for the food. Like I mentioned before, its a scratch kitchen, there isn't even a freezer in the whole place (aside from the ice machine). As much of their ingredients they use are sourced locally and organic (whenever possible). Everything from honey, to sausage, to flour, all made here in Arizona. The bread and pizza crust, all made fresh daily, in house, as is, like I mentioned before, the mozzarella cheese, which, I will say, is just wonderful.

So, if you find yourself in Old Town Scottsdale, craving a beer, or wine, or some incredible pizza, check out Craft 64 (right next to the Old Tortilla Factory Restaurant on Main St.). It is, already a great place to do just that.

To view the entire photo album from my visit there, click here.....

Craft 64 is located on

6922 E Main St,
Scottsdale, AZ

Craft 64's Website
Craft 64's Facebook Page

No comments:

Post a Comment