Fox Restaurant Concepts: Something for Everyone

Fourteen ‘concepts’ in 39 locations — and growing.

FoxRestaurants-logoI 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.

Industrial sinks in the restrooms of both Olive & Ivy and Culinary Dropout. A signature of Fox Restaurant Concepts?
Industrial sinks in the restrooms of both Olive & Ivy and Culinary Dropout. A signature of Fox Restaurant Concepts?

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.

Tasty pastries -- one cheese Danish with a trio of blueberries on top -- and a filled croissant are a great way to start a day.
Tasty pastries — one cheese Danish with a trio of blueberries on top — and a filled croissant are a great way to start a day.

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.

Olive & Ivy on Urbanspoon

Culinary Dropout

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.

Culinary Dropout's eye-catching chandeliers.
Culinary Dropout’s eye-catching chandeliers.

 

Fish and chips features three crisp pieces of white fish atop fries with Cole slaw and sauces on the side,
Fish and chips features three crisp pieces of white fish atop fries with Cole slaw and sauces on the side.

 

Lots of healthy ingredients in this refreshing salad. Since Arizona in April offers up summer temperatures, a big salad filled the bill.
Lots of healthy ingredients in this refreshing salad. Since Arizona in April offers up summer temperatures, a big salad filled the bill.

 

Culinary Dropout on Urbanspoon

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