Jon and Elena Rowe want to change the Northeast Mesa food culture through their new restaurant, Red Mountain Bar and Grill.
“We’re going to take this place from a bar that serves food, to a destination restaurant that has a great bar,” he said.
“Everybody’s buying into it. The (staff) is challenged to make better food. A lot of them come from steakhouse backgrounds or somewhere they worked a fryer for four or five years. We’re totally changing their foodscape.”
The extensive menu proves his point. It starts with dips and bar items, including typical snacks like potato skins and jalapeno poppers ($7.95). But it steps beyond traditional fare. Stuffed mushroom caps have items like chorizo ($8.95) and tater tots are filled with a variety of flavors ($8.50).
It continues with smothered fries/sliders/marinated skewers with options like poutine with brie cheese curds (starts at $9.95), trip-tip sliders ($9.95) and marinated filet steak cubes skewers ($12.95).
The wraps go beyond the usual. Sesame lime steak wrap features a half pound of ribeye loin, thinly sliced, and cooked with a touch of lime juice, honey, toasted sesame seeds, ginger and a sweet chile sauce ($12.95). Bacon and hatch chile, California and Buffalo chicken wraps are also available.
Comfort foods are sure to accomplish their goals. Build-your-own mac and cheese and grilled cheese are available (starts at $6.95), as well chicken tenders and Maryland-style Mahi fried filet fingers and chips ($13.95), the latter of which is a house special, are on the menu.
Philly and hoagie sandwiches include ingredients like ribeye steak, shrimp and Andouille sausage ($12.95). House-crafted sandwiches like the barbecue and Santa Fe pulls pile meat between a ciabatta bun ($9.95). The holiday burger – brioche bun filled with sweet cranberry relish, half-pound stuffed turkey patty, white cheddar cheese, garlic mashed potatoes, brown gravy, lettuce and tomato – is a favorite at $14.95, as is the chili cheese dog ($9.95).
The pasta menu features spaghetti, pesto chicken with fettuccini alfredo, Nawleens penne pasta (with Andouille sausage and chicken) and lemon fettuccini chicken ($14.95).
On Thursdays, the staff celebrates the life of Anthony Bourdain, with dishes like Asian lettuce wraps with house-stuffed crab wontons, and a filet with Santa Fe shrimp cocktail.
Rowe said his menu reflects his family’s traditions.
“Most of my recipes come from my family get togethers,” he said. “We’re very big on food, beer, wine and fun. Everything that comes off the grill – all the barbecue and Mahi – is what we’ve been doing for years.”
Rowe has a restaurant background. His father owned five Italian eateries in Colorado, which is reflected at Red Mountain Bar and Grill with John Elway and Peyton Manning jerseys. Rowe worked at Bennigan’s and high-end restaurants in California, and was classically trained in Newport Beach, California. He recently sold a janitorial company that cleaned 1,200 restaurants from Flagstaff to Tucson.
“I’ve never been far from the restaurant businesses even when I was doing that,” he said. “I was able to scratch the itch with Red Mountain Bar and Grill. This location is fantastic. It’s a neat little place.
“I added a few touches. The pony wall is crucial to the restaurant culture. When it wasn’t there, guests would wonder if it’s a restaurant or bar. Now, when they walk in, it’s a split-second thing. It’s a restaurant with a bar. This is a happy place.”