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Interview with Chris Osborn of Cadillac Ranch

Posted on: January 27th, 2011 by Taryn Jeffries 1 Comment

Taryn Jeffries interviews Chris Osborn of Cadillac Ranch:

PhoenixBites, Taryn Jeffries: What prompted your entry into the culinary world?
Chris Osborn: My family has been in the business for years and years and years. I actually like really, really young decided to start trying to learn to cook. I would watch my Saturday morning cartoons and then the cooking shows would come on and I would stay put. I would cook food for my mom and my grandparents and I was pretty young when I started experimenting around the stove and they were really supportive of it. I started at a really early age being pretty good at some stuff and that started me being really passionate about it. When I went to school, I went to school at ASU and when I was an undergrad, I completed undergrad with a track to be pre-law , and it was a Political Science/ Bachelor of Science Pre-Law and I was supposed to go on to law school and I got accepted to a couple of law schools but I was working in restaurants all through college as a bartender, a server, and a manager eventually which was towards my last year which was with the PF Chang’s company and part of being a manager you have to spend 3 months in the kitchen. I looked back at my family as I was getting ready to graduate and I was like, I’m not going to do the law school thing and they were like, what, what do you mean, you don’t want to do this. I said, yeah I really do and I love it. So I set a goal and I said if I don’t own my own place by the time I’m 30 then I’ll go back to law school because people do that all the time. They told me, oh good luck, but we don’t know – and uh, I did it so…No law school for me. I would have been , trust me, nothing against lawyers – I’m getting married to one – just for me I’m really happy with food and beverage, I’m really happy with the libations side of things, I’m really into mixology too – the whole part of it, down to the music, entertainment and the marketing of things, like all that stuff is something I wake up every day and I look forward to as to where when I was grinding it out in my pre-law, you know writing these great arguments and these great papers, you know I would have been great at writing briefs or great at being a litigator – I wasn’t happy doing it. What I did look forward to was going to work at my restaurant job after I was done writing my papers. I was always that overly enthusiastic guy at work. So when I hit graduation it was one of those moments where I had to draw the line in the sand and say this is what I want to do.

Taryn: Tell us a little about your role here at Cadillac Ranch and your culinary history.
Chris: My role here is that I wear a lot of hats, so I’m the chef and owner so, I create the menu but I also am responsible for everything else that you see here. I have a Chef that works under me that is like my Chef De Cuisine that runs the kitchen, runs the day to day back there and I do the creative. I create all the dishes and what I like to do, I really like to get other people involved in the creative process. There are a lot of people out there that cook and do things and it’s their way or the highway. I have a 10,000 square foot place here, I have 90 people on staff, and I have thousands of customers that come through every week. So, creating new items and putting it out there for people to try is an excellent way to get other opinions. I’m not the guy that is, ‘this is the way it is – period”. In my past I have found a lot of people I’ve worked for, different concepts, different people are that way. A lot of them, there are the rare ones that go on to become very successful, that’s a rarity that that guy becomes successful or that lady becomes successful. But most of the people that I have worked for – I worked for Sam Fox, Paul Fleming – and a lot of these people that I worked for that are really successful and grew leaps and bounds, as I grew up in the industry I saw these people just jump. They were always experimenting, they were always trying new things and the biggest thing was they were allowing people to give them feedback. Now, like say Sam, for example, he would go more for public feedback, as to where Paul Fleming – his management team were looking to the employees for feedback. Well, I kind of looked at both of those models and I said ‘why not give everybody a shot.’ So when we do these specials and were putting out these new items what were really doing is involving our staff and we’re involving the customers in the creative process. And we find sometimes that some things that we throw out there, you know you throw it out, it sounds good on paper, it tastes great to your palate, then when it gets out to the tables its not appealing to the customer or like you’ll have the staff come back to you and like we think this might be better if…and talking to the tables they think… So we get this big pool of ideas together to let us be a little bit more successful at what were doing and that’s what ends up getting permanent fixtures on menus and creating some of our most popular dishes. One of our most popular dishes was something I actually made at home from leftovers. It’s the AZ Mac-n-Cheese. It’s basically the cheese that I had at home and I had some rotisserie chicken and some pasta so I made this into a dish because I had leftovers it was a Sunday and I didn’t feel like going out. I made this dish and my fiancé said this is amazing. So I came in and I made it for everybody here and they were like if you don’t put this on the menu you’re crazy. Then we have another one that’s an appetizer that you are going to try in a second, its called Bacon Wontons, and basically I took my Asian inspiration and we had some wonton skins laying around from another special, we have a salad that they wound up on as like crispy wontons strips on the salad. So we had these wonton wrappers laying around, I’m back there I’m like, you know what, it would be cool to do like a wonton appetizer. I had just watched a special on the Food Network that was like everything’s better with bacon kind of thing. So you’ve got Guy Fieri on there saying bacon, bacon, bacon, bacon. So I took a crab wonton which is probably in Chinese restaurants, at least Americanized ones, the most popular appetizer out there. Like everybody loves them, it is cream cheese, its crab…

Taryn: It’s fried…
Chris: Oh yeah – we sell a lot of fried food. I have 8 fryers on deck back there. All the fried food we do here is from scratch. Like the chicken strips are made to order.
So what I did was I took the wonton skins, I took our Applewood smoked bacon, I cooked it and chopped it up real fine and then I made a mix like I was used to doing at the Asian restaurants of the crab and the cream cheese, stuffed it in the wonton, fried it up – but I couldn’t think what to do with the sauce. The sauce in most Chinese restaurants, they’ll give you the sweet and sour or they give you the mustard or a lot of the more sophisticated ones will give you like spicy chili soy. So I took come chili paste, maple syrup and butter and I emulsified it. So I plate these up and I sent them out some customers at the bar, and I was like ‘I hope these don’t suck’ because I had tasted them and I liked them and like I said a lot of times people will like their own creations and you can be biased. So I sent them out and all six plates came back empty and the sauce that I thought was the one part that people might be hesitant about was wiped off of the plate. I was like people really like and they were like yeah. So I sat down and I grabbed one of the prep cooks and we knocked out like 5 sheet trays of these and we made like 60 orders of them and I just started flying them out. It was a Thursday night, happy hour – we were really busy, so I just started flying them out and I have the staff tasting them and the next thing I know everyone is telling me to put those on the menu!

Taryn: Sounds like it worked out well.
Chris: It definitely did. So our claim to fame on this one is, Robert Irvine, he came in when he was in town filming and doing a speaking engagement at the Desert Botanical Gardens. So he came over and he tried those, and he doesn’t even look like the kind of guy that would try something like that, he’s this built guy, muscular – you think really health conscious. So he got an order and then he got a second order and we were like, oh no, he’s going to steal my idea. It turns out he took an order back to one of his producers on the Food Network and it wound up they emailed us and were like in the future if we do another episode of The Best Thing I Ever Ate – Bacon, you’re going to be on it, so just be ready. So that was really cool and you know one of those that things that you kind of try to not let it go to your head but you know –a Food Network chef came here and took an order to a producer! What was funny was we wound up getting extra exposure to that because Guy Fieri has that show Minute to Win It, that same producer left Food Network and went to NBC with him to do that show and they wound up remembering the place, remembering the bacon, and they had us do a casting call here for that show and we had 700 people here for that show. So that worked out!

Taryn: And I am sure they were hungry at some point.
Chris: It cycled through. And I mean that’s kind of the experimentation in a nutshell. Everyone I have seen that does it and listens to feedback gets successful.

Taryn: How do you find the inspiration for creating your new dishes?
Chris:The way I learned to create new recipes was really pretty cool. I was talking with a buddy right when I was getting ready to graduate. I was the bar manager at Bloom working for Sam Fox, I had a job offer to go back to PF Chang’s to be a corporate manager – all of this stuff and thinking, what do I do, what do I do, I’m going to graduate in 6 months and one of my buddies was Sam’s corporate Chef – and now that Sam is so bug, he still does the cuisine for him but not every restaurant – this guy was doing every restaurant at the time. I was like, Chris man – how do you do it. You have like 5 different restaurants, 5 different types of cuisine – how do you do it? He said honestly man; I look at other peoples recipes and a lot of times I’ll just take their recipes and I’ll just start adding my ingredients to it and see what happens. And that was what my kind of cooking foundation was because by doing that, that then enabled me to go okay well if I’m thinking this way and I’ve done this, I know this works too, what if I combine these 2 styles of cooking, you know like the bacon wonton, Asian and American breakfast put together – Chinese appetizer/ American breakfast – Boom! Super popular appetizer and that process he told me is true. I would follow a recipe; say like take a Bobby Flay recipe. Take his recipe , I take it, I write it down and I sit down with it and I say okay I’m gonna change this I’m gonna change this and this and ill see what happens. And luckily 9 out of 10 times when I do that it has been pretty well received – but there’s that 1 out of 10 when people are like what were you thinking! I make this, in my opinion, amazing jalapeno pesto and everyone that I’ve given it to – if you don’t have a pretty high spice tolerance – they just freak out, like oh – what did you do, I’m like c’mon it is not that bad!

Taryn: So I had wanted to ask you – is this restaurant part of a franchise?
Chris: No, it’s kind of a unique story. There’s a company called Cadillac Ranch All American Bar and Grill and then there’s a lot of just Cadillac Ranch, Cadillac Ranch Honkey Tonk places – because it’s a song name. Bruce Springsteen has a song and it’s also a country song (Brooks & Dunn), so everyone uses the name. But mostly people get us confused with Cadillac Ranch All American Bar & Grill – because actually there are a lot of them. Very similar in décor if you were to look at them but we are stand alone. I am the owner and I have 2 investors and everything that comes and goes in here is my idea – we paid them to build the place. So they constructed it but we put our own twist on it, so it may look similar, but we use more TVs than they use. We have a huge projector because I believe that really brings the sports in as to where the ones that they built are more like bars. So it says Bar & Grill but if you were to ever walk into one of theirs versus ours – like they have one in Vegas, for example, you’ll be like, yeah it kind of looks like it, but its more like a club you know as to where we’ve got this big restaurant like tavern sort of feel. They built it for us – we use the name and they have this weird sort of incestuous relationship with us where they use on their website as they built us but that’s where you draw the line – but it sorts of gets to me a little, like but you didn’t do anything else but put up the walls and the lights. And because I just did the name Cadillac Ranch and I have a totally different sign package than they do, so that was a big thing for me too. I went and sought out Western fonts and created this CR logo and all this stuff that kind of looks like a brand – like, that was me. And it is funny because now they are trying to license the rights from me to use that and I’m like, but that makes mine different! Yeah, so people do mix us up. They list us on their website too – if you scroll down they list all the locations and it lists Tempe as independently owned and operated and if you click on it, it says Cadillac Ranch Group Built.

Taryn: But it’s kind of tricky, though – it’s like they’re being sneaky…
Chris: And unfortunately I didn’t negotiate that part of the deal. Because unfortunately when you use a name that is similar to someone else they get attention to it and they had so many that they were like, well what are you doing – and during the ‘what are you doing’ conversation was when the construction was going on and I was like ‘how about I employ you guys to build it?”

It’s a burr in my side from time to time because we will get people that come in with gift certificates saying we’re in town from Ohio” – er, it is not the same. We saw you on the website – Well, did you click on the link – No…

My favorite was we had a group come in that; I guess went to the one in Cleveland all the time. They are more of a bar and their stuff is more like frozen bar food, you know frozen pizzas and stuff like that. The group came in to ride the bull and this and that and they were late night and they asked can we get some of those frozen pizzas? And we were like, what pizzas? And that’s how I found out that they had frozen pizzas! Yeah – we’re not them.

Taryn: I guess if you’re busy liquoring people up sometimes they won’t mind if there’s a frozen pizza thrown in there!
Chris: We steered them into the apps because we do the apps from 10 to midnight so we steered them into that and then they were happier and they were like this food is so much better than the one in Cleveland – : Yeah I know!

Taryn: What is, in your opinion, the best part of your job?
Chris: I would have to say creating things for people to enjoy and adding to their enjoyment of life…and basically the way I look at it is the added bonus to life and civilization because it brings families together, people together, and when you enjoy food instead of just eating food it adds to the quality of your life.

Taryn: What do you feel are the necessary qualities of a successful chef?
Chris: I kind of take this question to the chef/owner level. You have to have talent first. Anyone can go to cooking school, I didn’t. I have no formal training. I took that kind of talent that I had as a kid and then I was self-taught and took bits from training at different restaurants that I worked at like I said PF Chang’s gave me 3 months in the kitchen. I’ve got Asian wrapped! I mean they have 250 restaurants, they know what they’re doing. I say you’ve got to have talent but then you have to have creativity because a lot of people come out of culinary school and they’re not creative. They’ll make good kitchen managers, don’t get me wrong, that’s great they want to work in the kitchen and do their thing, but that kind of distinguishes kitchen operations versus chef. If you have that talent to cook but you don’t have the creativity to go along with it, you’re kind of going to move along with other people’s material. And you know that’s fine, that’s a lot of other people on that route but my route was ‘this is my idea and were going to do this’ and how I ended up at a level where I have my own place. Then my next big one and this is one that kills a lot of people in this business – you have to have organizational skills. If you don’t, I mean, you might survive on talent alone for a little while but without organizing, yourself first but then you have to organize other people – if you don’t do that or you don’t have that there’s only so long that a good location or something like that can last – because eventually that will fade and you know at the end of the day if you don’t have your ducks in a row… And honestly, I took that from two people that really ground that into me, one was Paul Fleming, PF Chang’s is probably one of the mort organized restaurants I have ever seen. It’s described by me as a well-oiled machine. Everything in there and everyone in there has a place and a purpose – it is in sync and if something goes out of sync someone steps in and puts it back in sync. Another person that I worked for that wasn’t the level of Paul but has gotten to a pretty good level is Sam Fox. That guy had his act together and he was to where I was when he was 25. He had me beat by 5 years. My big thing after that is an ability to lead and delegate. If you’re not a good leader and can’t delegate and trust people underneath you, you’re going to be stuck. You might be able to open a 2000 sq foot place that you run every day and maybe are closed Monday’s because that’s your day to be off. So if you don’t have that you’re not going to be able to grow – you’re not going to be successful. And then my last one is a 2 part-er – desire to succeed coupled with an ability to learn from your mistakes. Its like, I want to be successful but I have screwed up a lot in my career, but every time that I have screwed up, I’ve acknowledged the screw-up especially when I worked for other people because I think that is a big thing in this world a lot of people want to point the finger away. So screw up, acknowledge it, learn from it and move on and don’t ever do it again. I think that is the ultimate and final trait that will make someone successful. You’ve got to want to succeed but when it comes down to it, if you messed up say, yeah I screwed up, I will never do that again – plus I learned a valuable lesson from that – thank you.

PB: What is your go-to meal when you are not at the restaurant?
CO: I really love seafood. I cook a lot of seafood at home because I live in the desert. So, I’m always reaching out for seafood because I can go anywhere and have Mexican, pizza – there’s an abundance of all these things around me. There’s not an abundance of good seafood around me. There just isn’t. When I go to Seattle or San Diego or I go to Ireland all I eat is seafood, seafood, and seafood.

Taryn: So as far as at home, you live with your fiancé, who does more of the cooking there?
Chris: I used to do all of the cooking and she was deathly afraid of it. Like I said she’s going to law school, about to graduate and about to become a full-time lawyer. She got into the movie, Julie & Julia. All of a sudden the cookbook, The Joy of Cooking, came home. And then Julia Child’s book came home, The Art of French Cooking. And she started wanting to experiment. Now in the house, I would say that she dominates the day to day cooking, because to her it’s an outlet from the day of law school. So, I still cook, but she cooks more frequently. Like, I’ll go home tonight and something cool will be waiting. Between the of us we have probably 200 cookbooks from pamphlet-sized cookbooks and then we have some from magazines that we find and take the recipes that we like and scan them. I mean we do Bon Appetit, Food & Wine you know all of those and our house is definitely a food house. And it’s great. When she wouldn’t share the duty with me, I would get burnt out and we would eat out a lot. I’d be like, I do this for a living, let’s go out tonight. And now we eat at home way more often and like I said she is of the same mind with me on seafood so we’re always questing for good seafood

Taryn: What is the best thing that you have eaten?
Chris: There are a lot of things that I would like to say but if we nail in one – I love steak. Seafood yes, but steak! I just don’t eat them every day because if I did I’d be John Wayne and I can’t do that! So, Craft Steak, which is Tom Colicchio’s restaurant in Vegas. They have a Kobe Beef Rib eye, and its Japanese Kobe not the American or Australian knock off. It was one of those times I went in and it was at a point where I didn’t really have the money to dine there, but being a foodie you kind of go beyond your budget. At the time, my fiancé and I were just dating and that rib eye left a permanent mark on my brain. It was this, I eat steak rare, and you didn’t need a knife to cut it and it was a rib eye! Like, that’s how tender and juicy and amazing Kobe beef is if it’s done right. That was right when Top Chef has had its first season and Tom was always ripping on everyone about seasoning. And, I didn’t know this until I got there, but the whole pitch on the restaurant is that you don’t need any additional seasoning to where when you get there – there is nothing on the tables except for wine glasses and utensils and to ask for salt and pepper is almost an insult. They say they cook it perfectly and season it perfect. I have no argument. That steak, hands down- like, I like going to Ocean Club or City Hall and getting a good steak or trying a new steak house. I took all my managers for Christmas to BLT Steak, you know. I have never had anything even come remotely close to that. I mean I was able to literally use my fork to cut my steak. It was the server who came to ask me to cut into it so see if it was done right, so I grab my huge spear of a steak knife and he stopped me saying, you’re not going to need that. I was like; you’re kidding me, its rib eye. He just looked at me and said, Sir, Its Japanese Kobe. I was like, okay cool – I guess that’s why it was 200 bucks!

Taryn: I couldn’t imagine. I mean if you are going to be paying $200 for a steak, I would HOPE that it was the best one you’ve ever had!!
Chris: And that’s not even the most expensive. They have some there that are $450

Taryn: Who is one person that you would love to cook for?
Chris: Honestly, Guy Fieri. The dude just looks so fun, and you know his thing that I have noticed with him, from all the different shows that I’ve seen him on, and reading his books, you know reading about the guy and watching him on his shows, he just looks like he’s a really fun guy that really enjoys food. He looks like food is his thing, you know, and I think cooking for a guy like that because he’s the kind of guy that like if he doesn’t like it he’s going to make a face and tell you that it sucks and if he likes it he’s going to go off and give you a big bear hug, you know? And that’s why I’d think it’d be cool, his personality is so big, so over the top.
Taryn: Well, unfortunately, you will never be nominated for Diner’s, Drive Inn’s and Dives!
Chris: Yeah, I know – but, I could cook for him when he comes to town, you know. Yeah, but he’s definitely the one.

Taryn: Is there a food that you will not eat?
Chris: No actually – at this point, there is one that I don’t like a lot, I can give you that. I will try anything once and if you dare me to try it a second time…but I’ll eat it again if I have to and it’s presented to me. And it’s, uh, it’s really gross. I love Asian food and I’ve experimented with a lot of different Asian food – Chinese Japanese, Korean Thai, you name it. The Chinese and Koreans have these things they’re called 100-year-old duck eggs and you’ve seen them on Fear Factor, it’s basically a pickled duck egg – its color its texture, it quite possibly the grossest thing ever – I ate it in a really good Asian restaurant and it was kind of like , ‘the chef wants you to try this’. I ate it and it was horrible, but the thing is – I can’t say that I’ll never eat it again because I said that about sea urchin in the past. It’s one of those things that I hate it, but if the right twist is put on it ill eat it just to make someone happy you know, but I would say that I am really adventurous, to say that’s the grossest thing to me, that means I’m really adventurous. I’ve tried a lot of stuff that people would be like, ugh, but it’s just it’s the spirit of food, you know. I would say that there are things that I have seen like on Andrew Zimmerman’s show that I definitely would not eat, like a bug and things. You know Bizarre Foods is just a little too bizarre for me.

Taryn: Is there anything really off the wall as far as an ingredient that you have ever tried to incorporate either at home or in the restaurant?
Chris: I have tried a couple of things, but not at the restaurant. I think the one that I was successful with that I didn’t think that I would be successful with was a baby octopus because the recipe called for poaching them in their own ink. Here (at the restaurant) adventurous is more along the lines of challenging for people. So I made a pasta for this guy that basically was telling everyone that he could take the heat and this and that and he was eating our spicy stuff, so I ran home and I got some ghost chili powder, it is like a million Scoville units, so I came back with that I made what I call “Pasta from Hell.” He put down about 3 bites of it before he was screaming for milk. So that was my odd ingredient here. And we now actually incorporate that pasta here on request, but you have to sign a waiver and it’s a challenge and we will put the winners challenge on the wall, but there hasn’t been a winner yet.

Taryn: You should call Adam Richman!
Chris: Well that’s the thing, maybe he’ll read your article and we’ll see!
Taryn: I’ll forward it to him.

Taryn: Favorite cookbook or cookbook author?
Chris: I’m one of those people that my mind is so open, so I think that there’s just too many out there for me to just pick one, but I can give you an idea of what I’m reading right now. For Christmas and New Year’s I picked up Anthony Bourdain’s Medium Raw, which is more of a commentary than a cookbook, but kind of lets you in on the industry. Eric Ripert, he just put out a new book, Avec Eric, so I had to scoop that up because that guy is world renowned as the master of seafood. Like, he took French and Japanese and all these together, which is kind of what I say I like to do – fusions, so I had to get that. And then there’s a new book and it multiple authors – like 20 authors and it’s at Williams-Sonoma, it’s one of their little exclusive ones, and it’s called Cocktails for Cooks. Because I like the Mixology thing and I help out my bar manager that’s back there right now, Matt and this kid Justin, we do all the drinks for here and this one came out and this book I have literally been getting into it. It’s everything from the crazy molecular gastronomy to making custom powdered sugars for flavored martinis, down to just classic old fashioned muddling. Getting into this book I’ve been making drinks at home and experimenting. You know, owning a restaurant you get a lot of free liquor, so I have a great liquor cabinet but a lot of times there are things in there that I don’t know what to do with it. Now that I have this book I am entertaining the hell out of my friends and family!

Taryn: What is something that you have learned from that that maybe before you wouldn’t have known how to deal with?
Chris: I will tell you, it has opened my mind to doing things with Whiskey other than just drinking it straight. I’m really a big Whiskey guy, my family is Irish, I’ve traveled to Ireland 3 times now, and Jamison’s is my drink but when you drink that you just drink it. You either have it neat or on the rocks. There are all these recipes in there that I have been getting into because I have a collection of Whiskey at home and I can be sitting there now and be able to mix them with things and not get mad. Almost all the traditional mixed drinks with whiskey are like Whiskey and Coke, you know what I mean. There’s always so many more things that you can do with muddling with fruit or you know flavored ice cubes – things just really thinking outside of the box that can take a really good whiskey that has its own flavors and textures to it and enhance is – So it really didn’t necessarily get me into something new because like I said I’m adventurous, I’ll try anything. I mean I’ve tried from straight moonshine to the weirdest of flavored vodkas, there’s one from Sarah Palin’s town that’s salmon flavored. It’s nasty; I bought it thinking I’ll try it. But I’ll keep my whiskey, that’s my drink, I’m a whiskey guy.

Taryn: Funniest kitchen moment:
Chris: When I was starting out early on, I was unaware that Sesame Oil in too much quantity has laxative properties. I was trying to impress some executives for the company that I was working for at the time, which I am sure you can guess at that one. I made this Chinese Chopped Chicken salad because we were trying out some new things. And here I am, a new young manager trying to prep the team. So I sent one of the executives that was really high up in the company, I won’t name him but, he was really high up, not the owner but a really powerful man in the restaurant business and he liked it, a lot. He ate the whole thing and he spent the next 2 hours in our location’s restroom. I was like; I’m going to get fired! And instead, I didn’t get fired but I did get a lecture on how too much of a good thing can be a bad thing! Then the corporate chef said to me if you had just told me how much sesame oil you had used I would have told you not to serve it. Not because I wouldn’t want to encourage you to try things on people but because it has laxative properties. I mean it was pretty quick too and I’m talking this guy was powerful! I was expecting to hear, “Your ass is fired, Get out of here.” From there on out I was always known as that guy that caused that to happen!

Taryn: What is one thing that you would like for our readership to know – above anything else – about Cadillac Ranch?
Chris: Honestly, I think that this place, as far as this market goes, and when I say market I mean the greater phoenix area, is that it wears a lot of hats. It’s a restaurant with really good food that’s unexpected. Our most common compliment that we hear is this is really good food, I was expecting bar food. So we wear that hat but were also a Sports Bar and people come in and appreciate that and then we wear the hat off on Friday and Saturday night turning into a night club. And a lot of places have tried to do that but they don’t make it work. And I can honestly say that I think in Arizona and the greater phoenix area was the only place that hits on all those cylinders. There are other places like us, like Saddle Ranch or Mc Fadden’s – they’re really just a bar or a sports bar. We’ve actually incorporated all of it and that to me is my ultimate accomplishment. I was able to weave together, basically 3 concepts and make all of them successful under one roof. I think it’s one of the most fun places. Our motto is “Saddle Up for a Good Time”.

Taryn: Fill in the blank: To me, food is____.
Chris: Food overall – I think Anthony Bourdain said it best, is that it enhances your soul.


About the Author - Taryn Jeffries

Editor and Chief Eating Officer of PhoenixBites, 2017 Food Writer of the Year (Arizona Culinary Hall of Fame) Taryn grew up in a small town in Illinois with a doting Grandmother who taught her the way around a kitchen and that food is representative of love. Her current quest is to find the love in local dishes and the chefs behind them. In addition to running all things PhoenixBites, Taryn is also a freelance writer, sharing her insight on the best dishes and where to get them each and every month.

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Friday Bites with Jody Jackson

Posted on: October 7th, 2016

If you’re a local sports fan, you’re definitely already familiar with Jody Jackson from FOX Sports Arizona. She’s been with the network since 2000, which makes her the longest-tenured member of the network. Jody also holds the honor of being a two-time Emmy Award winner, which she treasures almost as much as her title... Read More

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