>>>And now, an 8 original production –>>>”Check, Please! Arizona” is made possible by Ironwood Cancer & Research Centers, a member of the association of community cancer centers and the American society of clinical oncology. Patients have access to clinical trials, administered in a patient-centered environment.>>Whitfill Nursery, a valley tradition since 1946. Over 200 acres of Arizona-grown trees, complete custom design and installation and Whitfill Nursery still does the digging.>>BestDentalCareAZ.com identifies selected dental offices in the Phoenix-metro area, providing services from basic cleanings and fillings to advanced cosmetic procedures. More information at BestDentalCareAZ.com.>>Lawns by les, serving clients while working to improve the local community. Proud to support 8, Arizona PBS. Enhancing Arizona landscapes since 1982.>>>Hello. I’m Robert McGrath and welcome to “Check, Please! Arizona.” The show where people recommend and talk about their favorite restaurants. So this is how the show works. Every week we have three guests. Each recommends his or her favorite spot and then the other two go see what think. Joining us is Jenna Keck. She enjoys discovering local places with amazing food and service. When it’s time to celebrate, her family knows the spot. Our next guest is Jodene Saavedra. She loves to drive around to look for places to stop and dine. Their hidden gem is a unique setting. Up first, we have businessman Dick todd. He’s eaten at just about every restaurant in Phoenix and isn’t afraid to try anything. He keeps coming back to his favorite place. It’s Arcadia tavern, located east of 48th street in Phoenix.>>Arcadia tavern puts an emphasis on American classics with great food prepared by chef Robert Wagner. Our roasted half-chicken served on mashed potatoes with grilled asparagus is phenomenal. Our miso salmon is something you haven’t experienced that you need to come down and try. All our burgers are made from ground chuck and every patty we do is formed in house by hand. We have a very generous bar, a large bar seating area as well as a very large patio. Right now, we currently have 72 different beers that we offer here between our drafts, our bottles and specialty cans. We allow the family to come in and dine with us. They can bring their children, they can still be adults, have it the cocktails and enjoy tell us but more importantly the kids can still be kids. We have lots of game systems. We are now up to 25 TVs in this establishment 50 inches or larger and there’s always a day where I think where could I put another one? And we’ve been able to provide live music every Friday night. Arcadia tavern is a family dining experience with an emphasis on food that’s prepared daily, being seated and able to watch your favorite sports.>>Dick, you chose this restaurant. Why did you choose Arcadia tavern?>>It’s been a pizza place, it’s been a lot of things but it opened a few years ago and we went in there and my wife and I tried it and it was great. They had the best burgers to me anyway and the ribs and everything is very, very good. Good service, and it’s a sports bar so you can watch all the sports you want to in a place. We loved it there.>>Sounds like a good reason to nominate it.>>Yeah.>>You all and visited it.>>It was family dining, a large family gathering spot. It wasn’t cold feeling, it wasn’t feeling like you were at a restaurant some place, just kind of a community room where you’re able to gather together and hang out.>>I agree with you because there was a very loud band playing and there were lots of kids. It didn’t feel like any one distinct noise rose above the chatter of friends and family. So I think the hum and thrum of the place is definitely people interacting.>>Let’s describe the interior when you come in.>>I see the big screen TVs, you can’t walk six feet without watching something about sports. They promote Arcadia high school, the high school there. The ambience in there is a sport bar but a clean one and the food is excellent. So that’s what you feel when you walk in the place. You feel welcome.>>Now, obviously the choice you made here was based on a lot of different things. What would you say that the thing that made you nominate the restaurant besides the interior?>>The food. The food is just — it’s not just typical sport bar chicken wings and something else. They have wings but I mean, you can get prime rib, you can get spaghetti, chicken. The menu is three pages of things that you can get. The one that I really like is the prime rib au jus French dip. And they really — it’s really prime rib. They put it on their own bread and it’s heated with — a little cheese and you dip that in and if that don’t satisfy you, there’s something wrong with you. It’s that good. The other thing that I’ve always liked is the baby back ribs. They’re excellent. They just are. It comes with French fries or coleslaw or whatever you want with it.>>We had the queso, which was delicious and I think it came with chips, as well. But it felt like it was really good quality cheese. It had a lot of fresh tomato in it, it was beautiful. It was one of the nicest quesos we have had. The burger was the best burger I’ve ever eaten in my life. I did the build your own so you could select from a long list of items and I had it on the pretzel bun and the bun was fantastic. I’m not sure what you had but I already know I’m going back to try the prime rib and au jus but the burger was phenomenal. My husband had the ribs and one of their tag lines is you don’t need a knife. Absolutely true.>>We started off with the hot spinach artichoke dip. We loved the dip but when you go to some places, it’s like a gelatin, it’s not as fresh with the cheese and it was completely fresh. It was so — it was just delicious, and then they had the roasted salsa that went with it as well that complemented it and we scraped it clean. That was our favorite thing.>>What comes with the artichoke dip? Is it bread?>>It’s tortilla chips.>>It was really good. And then I had the chicken pesto pizza and the portion was huge. That could feed two people. It was just delicious. And their home-made basil pesto on there. They grilled their tomatoes. It went watery. And then they saved — shaved the chicken. So that was pretty good. And then my husband had the Buffalo chicken sandwich with cheese, a grilled chicken instead of breaded and he said it was the best one that he had ever had. It was perfectly balanced with all the different flavors.>>For dessert, they have a fudge cake with chocolate and with — you have to order it and as you come in because it takes 20 minutes to make and they have this ice cream — it’s so good.>>What did you have for dessert on there?>>The baked cookie. I don’t know what the name is.>>Arcadia cookie.>>And we went for the peanut butter. I don’t know which one you had. Okay. Fantastic. I want to go back and try that. The peanut butter cookie was — just chips of peanut everywhere. My husband loves that type of dessert, I don’t, but I wanted to try it. It was delicious. I wasn’t used to it but I’m eating this cookie and it was phenomenal. One of the best desserts I’ve ever had.>>I would agree. It was huge. There was four of us there so we all split it. It had the vanilla bean ice cream and it was gooey and warm and delicious.>>If you would like to try Arcadia tavern, reservations are accepted are not required and the average tab — the average tab per person is around $15.>>>Up next is MacAlpine’s restaurant located at the corner of 7th and oak streets in Phoenix.>>The soda fountain and pharmacy opened in 1929. It’s been MacAlpine’s ever since then. The soda fountain was years ago part of a pharmacy and sodas were tonics, they would make you feel better. We had the original fountain, and then we have old fashioned marble-top tables and a booth from the late 1800s and it’s just gorgeous. The most unique part about MacAlpine’s would be the history. We have been here for so long. We serve American food, hamburgers, salads, sandwiches, and then we have an interesting variety of sodas. We have 99 flavors of soda, and then some very unique ice cream sodas, and then we have delicious sundaes, splits. We serve a meatloaf dinner. It’s real mashed potatoes which we make here, gravy, of course, and carrots. We also serve a good old-fashioned sloppy joe. We have added the antique — [ Indiscernible ] Our goal was to make MacAlpine’s a destination. It’s a unique property which makes it very interesting and very fun. I would say MacAlpine’s is a step back in time. It’s a blast from the past.>>This is your choice. Why did you nominate this restaurant?>>I love MacAlpine’s restaurant and soda fountain. It feels like you’re stepping back in time. It’s like you get a break from reality, no matter how good reality is, sometimes, you want to have an escape and I loved that the restaurant is authentic to its era, that you can look behind the counter and see a 1950s shake maker, it makes a good shake. I also loved that the restaurant is flanked by two vintage stores. So you can get lost in that atmosphere.>>What was your first impression?>>My first impression was it was different because it’s hard to find the parking and when we pulled up, we walked into one of the rooms with some of the furniture and so I was a little confused and we looked to the left and you step back into time. The soda fountain, it’s just kind of a cool vibe going on and you walk in and then you can see the rest of the store. They have vintage clothing.>>I moved here in 1962 and the place was open then. I used to go there with my kids, I used to live in that neighborhood, ice cream cones was the big thing. The atmosphere is great, it’s the 1950s.>>How much has it changed?>>It looks the same. They’ve kept the atmosphere. In fact, some of the antiques they have in the place I think were there when I was there in ’62. It goes back way back. When I went in there, I was going to try both the food but I knew the malts and the shakes had to be good so that was the first thing I got and I ordered the special, which was French onion soup and a hamburger. This is a malt shop, this is not a lunch place. And it’s nothing wrong with it. I was a little disappointed in the preparation of the food. But the malts, shakes and at the end.>>By the time you’ve had your four servings of malt, you can’t squeeze in the pie.>>I did.>>My husband had the special of the day at the time which was the roast beef with the au jus dip, which was phenomenal. I had the grilled cheese, which had –>>What bread did you have it on?>>Sourdough.>>Was it great?>>I added bacon.>>So that’s what I should have done. The waitress recommended to me do it on sourdough and I went with something else so the bread, I didn’t get that crunch. I’m going back.>>That sounds better than what I had.>>It was.>>And I would agree, I was thinking — I wanted the full effect so we wanted the meal and the ice cream and the money wasn’t what we were expecting but she recommended the toasted cheese, and they have really good bacon so it was — it was big, and so it was just so good. It was just a good crunch.>>Bacon makes everything better.>>It does, it really does.>>What did they serve with your sandwiches?>>I had the carrot salad, which was delicious. And then the other meal came with coleslaw. And what I loved about the people that work there is that they are passionate about their flavors of ice cream and their 99 soda flavors and you can ask them what do you have in the freezer and they’ll recommend combos to you and they’ll go through great detail and explaining what the different types of drinks are.>>I had a malt and it was — I was reading it, six scoops of ice cream and I was just like oh, my word, that’s huge and it came in a huge glass and it was delicious and totally ate the whole thing up because it was that old-fashioned malt. The good flavor, just took me back to the days of my grandma and eating that like a little kid. It was delicious.>>They make it the way you want it. I ordered a chocolate malt with vanilla ice cream and it came in that container that you were talking about. So I really can’t complain about the hamburger because I kept going to the malt constantly.>>And it made the cherry pie viable really.>>I could care less about the burger, I wanted the pie and the malt.>>The other great thing that we had was the egg cream. I was reading about it, you think the name throws you off but it was delicious. It was a soda, and then you had your flavor, which you did peach wedding cake flavor and then — it was half and half. So we were kind of reluctant and she made one for our whole table and it was dessert in a cup. It was delicious. It was good.>>Great place to get a soda, it truly is. I’ve been back once since I’ve got there. My wife doesn’t know about it.>>She does now.>>Well, if you would like to try MacAlpine’s restaurant and soda fountain, reservations are accepted for parties larger than six and the average tab per person for dinner without drinks is around $11.>>>Our next restaurant is Fajitas, a sizzling celebration located on black canyon highway on the east access road in Phoenix.>>Fajitas is a tex-mex restaurant with a huge emphasis on serving fresh home-made food. Every day, we season our meats and our chicken and our shrimp with a special dry marinade, 24 hours in advance and it flavors and tenderizes the food. All of our Fajitas are prepared on our grill and we use a special charcoal. Then we have a special tortilla station where they prepare them to order. Obviously, we special in Fajitas but — we do have lots of other items and our vegetable Fajitas have become very popular. Our Fajitas are for sharing. We serve it in the half and pound and the pound. Also at lunchtime, Monday through Friday, we have a quarter pound, which is more of an individual fajita. Fajitas is a fun, exciting, lively atmosphere. We have a lot of regular people that tell me that once they’ve had a fajita at Fajitas, they can’t eat Fajitas anywhere else because ours are the best. Fajitas is what we want to do perfect every time.>>This is all you. Why did you nominate this restaurant?>>Well, Fajitas has been — they’re celebrating their 25 years and it’s a place that our family has always gone for my birthday, kind of just a place where we gather together as a family with friends and we love Mexican food and when you walk into Fajitas, the smells just overtake you and they have everything right in the middle with the bar surrounding where they cook all your meat and vegetables and everything and their fresh tortillas made there. When you want good Fajitas, fresh, hot with a warm tortilla and a good family meal, it’s the place to go.>>You walk in and you have this smell of Fajitas and I don’t care where you go, Fajitas smell good.>>What was your first impression?>>I was excited to be there, it definitely felt like a fiesta was going to happen and I couldn’t wait to eat what I was seeing walking around the restaurant, which is just those sizzling platters.>>With all the smoke and everything.>>The one thing that struck me was that they have these massive hanging plants. Did you see that? I was like are these fake? And everywhere throughout the restaurant, they have very large beautifully taken care of plants, give it another kind of — is.>>They’re really plants.>>They are.>>Like a real hacienda.>>That’s exactly the feeling you get.>>A unique feature it sounds like is this kitchen in the middle of the restaurant. And the fact they make their own tortillas and that’s visible to the guests.>>They have the grill where they do all their meat and vegetables. Right there, it’s a huge cast iron one that they put everything up and they kind of — you can see it moving and getting cooked right there. It’s the big part. And then sometimes, you see the fire going, different things like that and everything freshly prepared right there. It’s a huge open area like that.>>When I took out my first tortilla out of the dish, I knew it was different from anything I had ever had before. It felt like I was in someone’s home, it was phenomenal, really good.>>You can smell all the way through the restaurant and they know what they’re doing with that.>>It’s not a trick. That’s a strategy there.>>That’s right.>>I love their salsa, it was fresh and I like the fact that we got our own salsa bowl. Sharing is good but sometimes, you want your own bowl and the chips were warm and we added the queso and it was definitely a totally different experience from what Arcadia tavern was but it was delicious. It was delicious.>>We got the fiesta bean dip. That seven-layer bean dip and it’s warm on a big plate with your beans and your cheese and guacamole, it’s a nice little pre-taster. I went during lunch with my friend and we literally split the lunch portion because you can get about almost four out of that just with all the sides and everything that they give with it. So that’s really a great cheap option for lunch is to go and get your own different flavor that you want and it’s really good.>>I had the beef and it was too big to eat. It was delicious. The beef was tender and flavorful.>>We wanted to try the regular beef to see what it was like and we were stunned. It was tender, the flavor was amazing. We couldn’t even finish the half-pound option because you can get whatever the meat is or veggies in the half-pound or the pound and they’re very clear about two people can do a half-pound, four people need a pound. You don’t feel like they’re trying to give you too much because you’re ordering the meat by the half-pound, you know that you’re getting enough meat, and then it’s just this luxurious bonus that you get this platter of sour cream and the pico de gallo. And great quality cheese.>>Now, what about desserts?>>We didn’t get the dessert because I was so stuffed from everything but they do have a really good dessert taco thing that they have there. It’s really good. Served with ice cream and chocolate and it’s just delicious. It’s full.>>I was very tempted by the dessert tortilla, that’s like fried and powdered with sugar but the girl that was serving us, she said apple pie, hands down, go with the apple pie and she was like there’s butter on the bottom and when it comes, it will be bubbling. So it was a very large piece of apple pie and she was absolutely right. It comes similar to the way the tortilla comes with the wooden board, the very, very hot cast iron skillet, and then in the bottom is like maybe brandy flavored butter or it’s just spiced butter and on top is the apple pie with the most phenomenal buttery crust, which has been sitting in the butter so it’s absorbed and crispy. And on top, the most amazing vanilla ice cream.>>Quite an impression.>>I recommend it, highly.>>If you would like to try Fajitas, a sizzling celebration, reservations are not required and the average tab per person for dinner without drinks is around $14. That’s it for another show and don’t forget to visit our website where you can watch all of our reviews and even nominate your favorite restaurant. We just might invite you to be on the show. On the go, check us out on your mobile home. I want to thank my guests this week. Join us next time when three new guests will recommend their favorite spots right here on “Check, Please! Arizona.” I’m Robert McGrath and I’ll see you then.>>>”Check, Please! Arizona” was made possible by lawns by les, a family-owned business serving hoas and commercial clients for 30 years while working to improve the local community. Proud to support 8, Arizona PBS. More information www.lawnsbyles.com.>>BestDentalCareAZ.com identifies selected dental offices in the Phoenix-metro area, providing services from basic cleanings and fillings to advanced cosmetic procedures. More information at BestDentalCareAZ.com.>>Whitfill Nursery, proud to support 8, Arizona PBS, a valley tradition since 1946. Over 200 acres of Arizona-grown trees, citrus and palms, complete custom design and installation and Whitfill Nursery still does the digging.>>>Ironwood Cancer & Research Centers specialize in prostate cancer treatment and is a proud member of the association of community cancer centers, patients have access to robotic surgery, chemotherapy, radiation and clinical trials.