In a sea of nondescript pizza and hamburger joints in the bustling north-central Scottsdale neighborhood straddling Shea Boulevard and Scottsdale Road, a conscientiously developed locals-centric modern American eatery burst to life last week: Cook & Craft.
The warm and inviting 96-seat space – created by longtime restaurant and business executive Brandon Juniper, with partners Chris Loeffler of Scottsdale real estate investment firm Caliber and serial entrepreneurs Chris Coriale and Brent Wiese – evokes carefree, healthy Arizona living as the team sought out locally sourced products and ingredients when designing the fresh, flavorful and sophisticated menu and concept.
“Our goal was to create the type of dishes we would serve our own families,” Juniper says, “served in an atmosphere that encourages ‘hanging out,’ much like what we might do on weekends in the Valley. Just enjoy the company of friends and family, grill hamburgers and soak up this wonderful place we call home.”
Housed in the venue vacated by Sip Coffee and Beer Kitchen on the northeast corner facing Shea Boulevard, Cook & Craft welcomes neighbors with homey wood tabletops, polished concrete floors, awesome roll-up windows in the patio bar area, a pleasant blue, white and gray motif, clean copper and glass accents, hand-written chalkboards, black and white kitchen imagery, and the whimsical painted phrase “Locals Eatery” on one wall. Think modern farmhouse in food form.
Open for both full-service lunch and dinner, executive chef Martin Kucera, who has enjoyed many years directing local kitchens at Sapporo, Temple Bar and Grill, Burger Theory, The Creek Patio Grill and Kasai Asian Grill, traces a wholesome path across Modern American with starters like Bison Sliders ($14), a trio of deliciousness highlighted by a spicy aioli, grilled onions, and homemade sweet pickles stacked upon lovely brioche buns; Parmesan Garlic Wings ($10) with chilled jicama and cucumber dressing; a tricolor cherry tomato Caprese Cocktail ($12), served up in a martini glass with homemade mozzarella, fresh beets and a grilled crostini; bacon and garlic accented Caramelized Brussel Sprouts ($12); and a collection of mind-blowing Traditional ($7), Bacon ($8) and Lump Crab ($10) Deviled Eggs.
Entree-size salads like the Southwest Chopped Club ($14) featuring roasted corn, queso fresco, cayenne lime dressing and fresh avocado clearly satisfy, as do other hearty options like Quinoa Kale ($16) with its spaghetti cucumber, candied pecans, superfood red quinoa and mango vinaigrette, or the veggie-focused Crafted Salad ($16), a bed of baby arugula topped with roasted beets, pomegranate seeds, marinated artichokes, grilled veggies, goat cheese and balsamic dressing.
Guests find vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free options throughout the menu, including the main Entrees. Grilled cheese and tomato soup fans swoon over Cook & Craft’s decidedly gourmet incarnation Crafted Grilled Cheese ($12), a modern twist on the classic, built upon a buttery grilled french baguette with provolone, cheddar, gruyere and parmesan cheeses and paired with a flavorful tomato basil soup. Fun and flavorful!
Likewise, the Craft Burger ($14) elicits approvals with its juicy chuck, brisket and short rib blend of ground beef, enhanced with tangy-sweet house crafted sauce and pickles, fresh lettuce, tomato and red onion on a toasted brioche bun. Add swiss, cheddar, provolone or gruyere cheese for a buck. And of course, this tasty burger is paired with salty crispy fries. C&C also offers a meatless Beyond Burger option with a nice homemade horseradish sauce for $16.
The Entree menu continues to dazzle with Gnocchi Stuffed Acorn Squash ($12), a delightful pesto potato gnocchi, accented by cherry tomatoes and a sweet sake sauce; classic Airline Chicken ($18) with a rosemary orange marmalade glaze, spinach and cherry tomatoes; C&C’s mature take on Mac & Cheese ($10); and mild, flaky Barramundi Perch ($20) paired with julienned zucchini, carrots, baby heirloom tomatoes over lemon quinoa.
Guests find surprises in the bar as well. New Holland’s Dragon’s Milk ($8), an amazing and hard to find Bourbon barrel aged stout is available at Cook & Craft, as are two varieties of Wild Tonic Hard Kombucha ($8) from Cottonwood. This isn’t the vinegary stuff we’re accustomed to in the supermarket, but rather a honey-delish variation with genuine health properties. Local draughts from Huss, THAT and San Tan range from $6-$8 and coffee and cold brew by local purveyor Press Coffee are available and can be taken to-go through C&C’s growler program. You’ll feel no pain after hoisting the Willie Nelson ($12), which features 25mg of CBD extract, along with a zesty dose of Ancho Reyes Verde chile liquor, simple syrup, lemon juice and cucumber essence.
But before you head “on the road again,” top everything off with Karen’s Kreamery ice cream, or perhaps a serving of Mason Jar Key Lime Pie ($6) or Mason Jar Caramel Apple Pie ($6) topped with Bourbon-salted caramel ice cream. Yum!
“C&C truly is a place for everyone,” Juniper says. “Families feel welcome, office groups come in for happy hour, guests with dogs are welcome on the patio, we already have neighbors meeting and saying ‘hi’ to other neighbors. There is a really great vibe.”
Cook & Craft is located at 7306 E. Shea Blvd. In Scottsdale. Hours are 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Sunday through Thursday, and 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Daily happy hour is 3:30-6:30 p.m. Call (480) 207-1541. www.cookandcraftaz.com.