Sam Fox owns a lot of things in Arizona, including 23 restaurants statewide, and his latest venue is no exception to his vision. While some people were sad to see Pink Taco close down after only three years in Scottsdale, the space being taken over by the Fox group’s latest uber-cool spot was something many have been eager to see unfold. It’s not always easy to keep topping yourself, and your surroundings, in Old Town Scottsdale, but it looks like it’s happened. The new gastropub, Culinary Dropout, opened its doors in February and so far the swagger behind the new scene is getting real credibility.
The vibe in Culinary Dropout is definitely young and hip, attracting a crowd of fashionable 20-40-somethings, while also providing a menu that appeals to both drink experts and foodies. Chef Clint Woods has taken the time to create a menu with dishes that are both tasty as well as reasonably priced, especially considering the top-notch cuisine you’re receiving. The menu was obviously contrived from real knowledge of both delectable dishes as well as the clientele coming in to eat. The food is accessible, yet extravagant feeling, which is not always the easiest combination to pull off. From delicious dishes such as the Cuban pork-belly sandwich to the now-famous Monkey Bread, the menu definitely makes this a spot for the discriminate taste buds.
Aside from the fantastic food, the drinks here are a major event, making the bar scene of the locale every bit as attention-getting as the dining side. From the Last Word combining Green Charteuse and gin, to the clever Ginger Margarita, to the bacon-infused Bloody Mary, the drinks at Culinary Dropout were concocted with imagination and impeccable taste. The venue boasts an amazing bar as well as a patio that overlooks the entire Fashion Square scene with comfortable seating and great way to enjoy the Phoenix weather while being seen doing so, which is the whole point of patio seating, right?
The décor of the restaurant went to a much chicer design than Pink Taco, only really hanging on to their wood flooring. Most notably they have added an entire wall of purple tiles, gorgeous glittering chandeliers, and a stage that is decorated with black-and-white photos of famous rockers, and the ambience of the small area is an invitation to potential impromptu shows and open-mic moments. Live music happens on Friday and Saturday nights and completes the trendsetter vibe of this new hangout.
The restaurant is open from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m., while the bar stays open until 2 a.m., all seven days of the week. The staff does not wear uniforms and are all just as young and beautiful as one expects in the heart of Old Town Scottsdale. The venue carries all the swank of Old Town while backing it up with legitimately good food and drinks. A popular spot already for social gatherings and dinner before hitting the clubs in the area, Culinary Dropout is proving itself to be every bit as hipster as location.