Local Fave: Postino Wine Café – Central
District: North Central
Here’s The Deal: While many of us are familiar with Postino’s Monday and Tuesday deal, did you know about the great deals you can get for lunch? Every day from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. they offer $5 glasses of wine (anything by the glass) and any pitcher of beer for $5! Also, a majority of the menu is under $10 for a nice selection of sandwiches, salads, and combinations, including a half Panini with a side salad, or “soup of the moment” (today’s was chicken and wild rice).
Have a Seat: Like many of the Upward Projects locations and concepts, you can sit at a great bar. This one has a double-sided seating section for guests to sit across from each other and engage in conversation. There is a nice window area for people watching along Central Ave and a beautiful covered patio with heaters and fireplaces that will keep you shaded but warm. Inside is bistro style area, with brick walls and racks of retail wines you can buy and take home.
The Concept: Urban Projects is known for taking historic Phoenix buildings and turning them into new, updated neighborhood hangouts. This Postino’s location was originally home the Manhattan style Katz’s Deli. Urban Projects took over in 2009, keeping as much to the original building design as they could. The rafters and overall layout will be familiar to the old timers while appealing to newer Phoenicians with the swanky, graphic décor, as is evident when you look around at the eclectic mix of people gathered for a busy lunch rush on a Wednesday afternoon.
The Eats: The bruschetta will always be a successful staple but other stars on the menu include the Autostrada Panini served with a side of housemade organic chips. The chips are crunchy and light, which is a great complement to the hefty sandwich on the plate. Your choice of ciabatta or focaccia bread surrounds a pile of sopressatta, Italian ham, capicola, mortadella, provolone, arugula and tomatoes with spicy pepper relish. This sandwich is nicely balanced with acid, pepper, and quality proteins. It has a great zing from the ingredients that don’t leave you feeling heavy after eating one. Another notable is the Italian picnic salad that has fresh, California roasted beets, goat cheese, bacon and walnuts, and adds some delightful texture with an array of crispy root veggies (beets, tarot chips, and sweet potatoes). The herb vinaigrette is slightly sweet but adds depth with a variety of fresh herbs.
The Staff: Eager to serve their guests, the staff seems to be able to handle volume with smiles and good knowledge of the menu. Ben Grissom, server, can educate diners on “Brent’s Pick,” a wine selection by resident wine merchant Brent Karlicek, which is featured on the menu and as wall décor with accompanying bottles of wine. The staff also looks great in their uniform of the day (usually including a witty, Postino-centric t-Shirt) and they have great personalities to match.
Report: Postino’s will always be a go-to place for a good deal and quality food and beverage. Labeled a wine café, it lives up to the name with great wine selection and a food menu that doesn’t feel overwhelming. Come here to be comfortable in your surroundings, listen to some good music, laugh and enjoy your wine while being served by some of Phoenix’s best. The owners should be proud to know that they have some of the best waitstaff you can find in the valley, no matter what location you might visit.
Want to go where the locals go? Read DPJ’s new E&D Beat and visit some favorite Eats & Drinks destinations.
(New) Local Fave: Federal Pizza
District: North Central
Owner: Lauren and Wyatt Bailey and Craig and Kris DeMarco
Opened: October 2012
The Concept: Being the newest member and neighbor to the Postino Central and Windsor family, Federal Pizza has a reputation to stand up to. Locals are used to good, local food at affordable prices in unpretentious spaces. The building is a 1970’s First Federal Savings & Loan Bank (hence the name) and the owners were firm on keeping as much original history in the concept as possible. The brass piping, wood beams, and color scheme is true to turn of the century design. The space is eye catching with bright colors against neutral finishes with something interesting in every nook to look at. Bold chandeliers, a colorful mural, and 60’s inspired salt shakers are some notables.
The playlist hosts bands like Ratatat, Beck, and Run D.M.C. then jumps to an 80’s hairband for a toe tapping, eclectic mix. The menu font looks strikingly similar to that found on paper money and the bar stools, chairs, and light fixtures are a modern twist on 60’s and 70’s swag.
The original bank vault was kept above ground with an intricate security system under the building to keep robbers from pinching the cash. During renovation, the owners were sensitive to working around this in order to preserve as much of the building as possible. After the big purchase, they let the building sit until the concept birthed itself.
“Nearby Aiello’s closed and the owners wanted that neighborhood pizza place everyone could go to while challenging themselves to separate from their other concepts,” explains James Anderson, bartender with the company for two years.
FUN FACT: Owner Lauren Bailey had the genius idea of using Postino wine crates to create a beautiful, functioning ceiling that adds a piece of their own history to the restaurant.
Have a Seat: Big, comfy corner booths and tables face the breathtaking open kitchen. A long bar sits many and a small area just before the patio will envelope you in psychedelic pattern coming from the wall adorned mural. Sit at the counter and watch the action around the pizza oven, and get your mouth watering.
The Patio: A true urbanite can appreciate a street side patio, especially as the Phoenix weather cools down. Easy on the eyes during the day and metropolitan-romantic at night, this patio is a retreat for mingling and people watching while breaking bread. The staff keeps it clean and comfortable. For the chillier weather there are plenty of heaters. The City recently added a bike lane on Central Avenue to reduce traffic and street noise, and they’re also working on adding a light at the intersection of Colter and Central.
The Eats: Federal Pizza presents traditional pizza joint offerings with some specialties that will have your taste buds singing. The corn coins are a fun appetizer that are seasoned to perfection with fennel, herbs, melted pecorino and dusted with paprika. The pizzas are exciting with interesting combinations like Brussels sprouts, crispy pancetta, manchego and a zing of lemon zest. The crust has a perfect crisp but is soft and doughy on the inside. Ask anyone who works there what to order and a unanimous “porchetta sandwich” is the response. A duo of pork loin and belly are accompanied by caramelized onions that are sweet against the peppery arugula. With so many lip smacking options, Federal will have you locked in as regular before you know it.
The Drinks: An impressive beer selection of foreign, domestics, and locals are available in a variety of sizes. Chubs (32 oz) and growlers (64 oz) are available for a steal and they take it further by offering half off any other beer and wine to go. There is something special on their wine list: house made wine coolers. An old school novelty made new with high end cava and infused, natural flavors like strawberry rhubarb and blackberry rosemary.
What They Say: A proud father-in-law, Dennis Bailey, couldn’t be more excited for the new concept. He was eager to show off every detail of the space. An employee of the company, John Nemeth says, “It’s about good people having a place to go with good food and interaction. Everything in here involves you so you gain an experience rather than just giving an order and eating. We wanted this place to be welcoming, exciting, and something different. It’s part of why I love working at this location.”
Report: Overall a praiseworthy move by Bailey and DeMarco. The food is outstanding and affordable; service is knowledgeable and professional; the environment is stimulating while relaxing. The neighborhood was begging for the perfect pizza place, and now they’ve got it.
Some news items don’t need translation. That’s why DPJ launched the From the Wire series, so we could serve the destinations here by posting information and announcements – in their own words.
Neighborhood Haunt to Debut Brunch, Bloody Mary Bar on Feb. 19th
Who: North Central neighbors, beach cruisers, weekend warriors and anyone looking to start their Saturday and Sunday mornings off right
What: Rock bed-head with pride, throw on your shades and flip flops, and head over to Windsor for the brand new brunch menu beginning Sunday, February 19th, continuing every Saturday and Sunday thereafter from 9am – 1pm. A first for the local hangout that opened the doors in its namesake historic Phoenix neighborhood in April, 2011, Windsor’s Brunch & Bloody Mary Bar provides a casual and familiar wake up call to those looking for the perfect way to start or end the weekend.
“We first launched brunch at our sister restaurant Postino Central a few months ago and the neighborhood loved it, so we figured why not do it Windsor-style?” says Upward Projects co-owner Craig DeMarco who, with partners Lauren Bailey and Brent Karlicek also owns Postino Arcadia, Postino Central and Postino East (coming March 2012).
How do you define “Windsor-style”? Guests will know once they grab a seat inside the vintage-inspired restaurant or on the cozy, climate controlled patio, and delve into a menu of morning favorites including Homemade Donut Holes served warm with vanilla mascarpone & Cotton Country strawberry jam ($6), Southern Style Sausage & Gravy with homemade cheddar biscuits topped with country white gravy, two eggs over easy & Schreiner’s sausage ($9.75), and Windsor Eggs Benedict served on MJ’s English muffins with your choice of smoked ham with hollandaise ($11), crab cakes & spinach with whole grain mustard hollandaise ($15) or house smoked salmon with red onions & mixed greens with hollandaise ($12).
Those headed back from an early morning gym session or run down the nearby bridle path might enjoy the lighter fare, such as Quinoa Oatmeal with steel cut oats & black quinoa topped with vanilla mascarpone, brown sugar, dried fruits & nuts ($7), Easy Rider Frittata with roasted zucchini, tomatoes, fennel, red onion, red pepper & spinach topped with Spanish goat cheese & herbs ($9.50), or the simple yet satisfying Just Baked Zucchini Bread ($3). Be sure to save some room for the homemade ice cream and nostalgic candy offered at Windsor’s own next door ice cream parlor, Churn.
No morning would be complete without an outstanding beverage selection, and there is no skimping here, including fresh juices and espresso drinks, Windsor’s signature $5 Pitchas of Beer, and a creative selection of prohibition-style cocktails (all $5). But the real standout is the Bloody Mary Bar ($5), where you start by selecting one of two types, the Traditional with tomatoes, roasted vegetables, Fresno chiles & fresh horseradish or the Verde with cucumbers, roasted poblano, cilantro & watercress, and then head over to the do-it-yourself cart where you can trick out your cocktail with a selection of spices, salts, pickles and garnishes.
Thinking about riding your bike? Take note of the newly installed bike lanes up and down Central Ave. between Camelback and Bethany Home Road. Upward Projects proposed the idea to city officials last year to help slow things down a bit for the pedestrian-friendly neighborhood.
If You Go
When: Every Saturday & Sunday, 9am – 1pm, beginning February 19, 2012
Where: Windsor, 5223 N. Central Avenue (between Camelback and Missouri), Phoenix, AZ; 602.279.1111
(From the Wire includes press releases received from reliable sources that help tell the story of the many happenings in Greater Downtown Phoenix. Yep, they are ripped from our inbox.)
Oskar Blues Brewery Partners with Windsor for Live Music, Tap Takeover
Who: Day drinkers, blues brothers, sun worshippers, pub grub enthusiasts and Central Phoenix neighbors.
What: Run, walk, drive or bike down to your neighborhood hangout, Windsor, this Saturday for an Afternoon of Blues!
Situated in the heart of its namesake historic Phoenix neighborhood, Windsor will be celebrating the blues with live music from local musician Brian DeMarco (often overheard on casual weekend mornings across the street at sister restaurant, Postino Central), FREE tastes and $5 pitchers of Oskar Blues beer and familiar bar food with an upscale twist, such as MJ Pretzel Bread and Cheese Fondue, Charcuterie boards and Tenderbelly Chicago-Style Hot Dogs.
Oskar Blues Brewery, known for their hoppy, premium canned brews, will be taking over the taps with four of their classic brews: Dale’s Pale Ale, Mama’s Little Yella Pils, G’Night Imperial Red and Ten Fidy Imperial Stout. Fans of Old Chub and Gubna, don’t worry, there will be cans available as well.
Tucked into its namesake historic Phoenix neighborhood, Windsor is a hip, local hangout with one of the best patios in town. The second offering from the minds that created the original wine bar Postino, owners Craig DeMarco and Lauren Bailey kept it simple: high-quality wine and beer on tap, a robust selection of prohibition cocktails and a kitchen that cranks out casual and familiar bar food with an upscale twist. For an added scoop of “cool,” save room for homemade ice cream and nostalgic candy at Windsor’s next door ice cream parlor, Churn.
Thinking about riding your bike? Take note of the newly installed bike lanes up and down Central Ave. between Camelback and Bethany Home Road. Craig DeMarco proposed the idea to city officials last year to help slow things down a bit for the pedestrian-friendly neighborhood.
If You Go
When: Saturday, January 14, 201, 3 – 6pm
Where: Windsor, 5223 N. Central Ave. (between Camelback and Missouri)
More Info: 602.279.1111, www.windsoraz.com