Fourteen ‘concepts’ in 39 locations — and growing.
I always try to eat at independent restaurants, but in Scottsdale, I got fooled — sort of. Both Olive & Ivy, a breakfast choice with excellent pastries, and Culinary Dropout, a casual pub that we rejected for dinner one evening but visited for a late lunch the next day, are part of Fox Restaurant Concepts. Each of its 14 restaurant concepts from The Arrogant Butcher to Zinburger has a distinct personality.
Like David Query’s Boulder-based Big Red F Restaurant Group, FRC came from the fertile mind of one man, Sam Fox, rather than from a marketing team. Fox opened a restaurant in Tucson in 1998, but the FRC website is sketchy on details, so I don’t know which one came first. I figured out the connection in an oddball way: the sinks in the ladies’ rooms of both were industrial-style sinks with three faucet sets and one long basin. I don’t know whether the other dozen restaurants also feature this style of sink. Denver also has an FRC restaurant, True Food Kitchen in Cherry Creek North. I haven’t been there so I don’t know what the restroom sinks are like.
Olive & Ivy
In the morning, Olive & Ivy — which is designed in a vaguely Mediterranean style to recall a marketplace in addition to a restaurant – serves, coffee, pastries and breakfast entrées. The pastries that we selected from a glass case full of temptations were served on bright Fiesta Ware-style plates and the flatware was hefty, but the coffee — even the lovely cappuccino — inexplicably come in paper cups. I don’t get it.
Morning customers relax on the shady porch and a handful of indoor tables, but the much larger dining indicates that there is robust business later in the day.
In the evening, Culinary Dropout is a super-cool, very noisy pub. at lunch, not only is it more tolerable on the eardrums, but it is also easier to secure a table. We stopped for a late lunch after a morning of sightseeing and museum-going and gearing up for Scottsdale’s Thursday evening ArtWalk, The large, high-ceilinged space features mammoth, vintage chandeliers that look as if their earlier life was spent hanging from the ceiling of a hotel ballroom.