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Sierra Bonita Grill: Bringing New Life to Old Arizona

Posted on: November 10th, 2011 by Amy Martin 2 Comments

Sierra Bonita Grill, located on the southeast corner of 7th Street and Glendale Avenue, offers a little piece of ‘Old Arizona’ as the menu echoes the multifarious cuisine of Southern Arizona, which was influenced by the Spanish Conquistadors, Mexican Vaqueros and American ranching families who constructed Arizona’s culinary traditions. Even the restaurant’s name pays homage to our state – it was named for the historic Sierra Bonita Ranch in Southeastern Arizona, founded by Henry Hooker in 1872. The ranch was known for its warmth and reception and creative ranching methods, something the owner and manager, Nate Hopper, aspired to recreate at the restaurant: great hospitality and innovative dishes that celebrate Arizona’s flavors. Nate has been with Sierra Bonita from the very beginning and his dedication shows. Sierra Bonita supports local farmers and vendors and utilizes their products wherever possible. Sergio Mendez, Chef de Cuisine, brings more than 17 years of culinary expertise to the restaurant. His impressive background includes experience working at the Gotham Bar and Grill under Executive Chef Alfred Portale (named the most influential chef in New York by Gourmet Magazine), and the Four Seasons Hotel in New York. He relocated to Scottsdale to join the James Hotel as their banquet chef (now known as the Scottsdale Mondrian), but found his ‘home’ at Sierra Bonita as he is able to use the spices and chiles he grew up with. Start off your meal right with one of their signature appetizers like the Sizzlin’ Peppers (jalapenos stuffed with panela cheese, goat cheese and Menonita cheese $5/8):

Sizzlin’ Peppers

Dishes you’ll find on Chef Mendez’s dinner menu include: Smoked Red Chile Pork Roast (served with charro beans, roasted tomato rice, Indian salsa and warm flour tortillas | $17), Buttermilk Chicken (all natural chicken breast lightly fried and finished in the oven with mashed chipotle sweet potatoes, asparagus spears and cracked black pepper cream gravy | $17), Sergio’s Pork Tenderloin (xhocolate-espresso rubbed served with vegetables and roasted potatoes and finished with a vanilla bean serrano butter sauce | $19), Grilled Wild Scottish Salmon (red chile citrus glazed filet with poblano creamed corn, vine ripened tomatoes, baby spinach and panela cheese | $23) and the El Jefe (26 oz. bone in Ribeye steak topped with a chimichurri sauce served with a baked Yukon Gold potato with horseradish cream and a saute of fennel, leeks and onions).

The “El Jefe”: 26 oz. bone in Ribeye steak topped with a chimichurri sauce served with a baked Yukon Gold potato with horseradish cream and a saute of fennel, leeks and onions.

Hint: Sign up for the Club Bonita newsletter and you’ll get an email for a free dessert of your choice on your next visit! Find them on Facebook too, occasionally they’ll post daily specials. The restaurant is open for lunch too, offering a variety of soups, salads, burgers, sandwiches and small plates. Head in for Southwestern Brunch served on Saturdays and Sundays. View the brunch menu here. Happy Hour, served weekdays from 3pm-6pm, boasts both food and drink specials including: $6 small plates (among your choices are Albondigas, Fried Avocado with Ceviche, Red Chile Mac & Cheese, Sopes de Chicharron and more), $2 Domestic Bottles, $3 Well Drinks and Draft Beers, and $6 Signature Cocktails and wines by the glass. You’ll find Happy Hour menus here and a list of their drink offerings here, including the Paloma (muddled orange and lime with a reposado tequila and grapefruit soda served on the rocks with a cayenne salted rim | $8).


For special events, the restaurant offers a lovely Private Wine Room for dining downstairs. There’s no additional cost to use the private dining room (just be sure to reserve it ahead of time) – it can seat up to 10 people.

Local Arizona Stronghold Wines, just one of the many wines offered at Sierra Bonita, can be found in the restaurant’s cellar for private dining.

Additionally, Sierra Bonita just launched a new leg of the restaurant – the Sierra Bonita Catering Company. Now, the restaurant’s unique southwest flavors can be enjoyed throughout the Valley at both large and small events. Nate Hopper speaks about the catering operation, “We are very excited about this new business venture and the opportunity to share our menu and traditions. We are especially excited about the purchase of our off-site catering kitchen that allows us to prepare for any size event. It also gives us the opportunity to do these events without disturbing our main kitchen and the diners at Sierra Bonita Grill.” To book Sierra Bonita Catering Company for your next event, contact Julie Beer-Breuer at 602-570-0686 or Erin Weldon at 602-821-6124. For more information about Sierra Bonita Grill or to view the menu, visit Sierra Bonita Grill | 6933 North 7th Street | Phoenix, AZ | 85014 | 602-264-0700

About the Author - Amy Martin

Author of Her Plate, Amy's love of food, cooking and all things culinary keeps her endlessly plotting what her next meal will be. Her pastimes include creating in (i.e. demolishing) her own kitchen and baking far more sweets than her tiny family could ever eat.

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