Celebrities invest in Arizona’s food scene

Above: The True Food Kitchen Winter Harvest Community Dinner featured Oprah Winfrey. Lifestyle | 8 Mar |

Some famous faces are changing Arizona’s increasingly sophisticated culinary scene. So check out this list of some of the celebrities who are investing their time, money and ideas in Arizona’s food scene before you walk into a restaurant and say, “Has anyone ever told you that you look like (fill in celebrity’s name)?”

Dierks Bentley: The Phoenix-born country music singer and songwriter helped develop Whiskey Row, an American-inspired gastropub unlike any other. Bentley now has locations in Scottsdale, Tempe and Gilbert. In 2017, he played a free show at the Gilbert location before headlining at Country Thunder.

Holly Holm

Robert De Niro: Nobu, which was founded by chef Nobu Matsuhisa and Academy Award-winning actor Robert De Niro, will be part of Scottsdale Fashion Square mall’s “luxury wing.” Nobu Scottsdale will be the market’s introduction to the popular restaurant chain, which has nearly 40 locations around the world.

Holly Holm: The UFC star, who knocked Ronda Rousey from the ranks of the undefeated with one of the biggest upset in mixed martial arts history, packs a punch in the restaurant world, too. She teamed up with her brother, Western Holm, to open Blue Clover Distillery in Scottsdale last year.

Maynard James Keenan: Maynard James Keenan, Grammy award-winning vocalist for bands Tool, A Perfect Circle and Puscifer, recently opened Merkin Vineyards wine bar in Old Town Scottsdale. The farm-to-table, vine-to-glass concept only serves and pours what can be grown and produced in the state, primarily by Merkin Vineyards owner and head winemaker Maynard James Keenan and his team in the Verde Valley. Keenan oversees 110 acres of vines in northern and southern Arizona for Caduceus Cellars, Merkin Vineyards and his new Puscifer-branded canned bubbly wine, all of which are for sale at the new Scottsdale location.

George Lopez: The comedian and actor is opening his first Arizona restaurant this year at Gila River Hotels & Casinos in the West Valley. George Lopez’s Chingon Kitchen, a fast-casual restaurant, pays homage to Lopez’s heritage and features scratch-made tacos, burritos, bowls, spit-fired al pastor and handmade guacamole.

Dan Majerle: The former Phoenix Suns sharpshooter has scored in the restaurant business, too. The Grand Canyon University basketball coach established Majerle’s Sports Grill in 1992 and has since opened establishments in Phoenix, Chandler, Goodyear, Scottsdale, Desert Ridge and Flagstaff.

Frankie Muniz: The Former “Malcolm in the Middle” star and Paige Price, his fiancée and business partner, own Outrageous Olive Oils & Vinegars in Old Town Scottsdale. The couple bought the shop, which sells premium olive oils and aged balsamic vinegar, in 2018 and say they are hands-on owners.

Oprah Winfrey: Phoenix-based True Food Kitchen, which has pioneered health-driven dining, got a boost from a very famous face last year when the talk show icon made a significant investment in the company, joined its board and is collaborating with its leadership team to advance the company’s business and marketing objectives.

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