When I moved to Arizona in 1993, the restaurant scene was a bit smaller than what you experience today. However, you would recognize a few names – trailblazers, if you will – of the AZ dining scene: Vincent Guerithault, Mark Tarbell, Chris Bianco, Nobuo Fukuda and Christopher Gross, to name a few. Speaking of Christopher Gross, I was thrilled to hear that the James Beard award-winning chef has moved to the historic Wrigley Mansion, heading up the kitchen at Geordie’s.
While Geordie’s has been a fixture for some time, it is getting a facelift with an entire remodel of the kitchen this summer. Chef Gross has introduced some new and creative dishes, like the Rhubarb Tortellini, while also highlighting many of his most popular, including Christopher’s House-Smoked Salmon, ABC Foie Gras, Red Bell Pepper Soup (my personal fave), Duck Confit, and his iconic Chocolate Tower.
I went for lunch with a friend, and was so smitten that I took Hubby back for his birthday dinner. After enjoying Happy Hour in Jamie’s Wine Bar, a little gem of a bar, we were seated near the window with front row seats to, hands down, the most stunning view of Phoenix. The staff was knowledgeable and attentive, the food and wine exquisite, and I think I already mentioned how beautiful the view was. It is a must for a special dinner or a place to show friends from out of town. For those that have argued that Phoenix doesn’t have a colorful history, a quick look at Wrigley Mansion would prove that wrong.
Wrigley Mansion was constructed in 1932 by chewing gum personality William Wrigley Jr. as a 50th anniversary gift to his wife. That is a pretty sweet and thoughtful gift for sure. As it is situated at the top of a hill, the mansion commands spectacular 360-degree views of the surrounding valley and city. The architecture is an amalgam of Spanish, California Monterey and Mediterranean styles. The house was sold in 1973, changing hands several times, with plans of being torn down to make room for condos. Thankfully, along came Geordie Hormel and his wife Jamie, who restored it with the intention of keeping the mansion open to the public. Today Wrigley Mansion is a Phoenix “Point of Pride” and a top destination for weddings and special events…in fact, I think the last time I had visited was for a wedding some 20 odd years ago.
Geordie’s restaurant and lounge serves lunch, dinner, happy hour and Sunday brunch. Jamie’s Wine Bar, which opened in late 2016, offers a wide variety of wines by the glass and an 850-bottle wine cellar. Due to city regulations, the property must maintain a private club status. However, the memberships are very reasonable, starting with a $5 monthly trial membership, or a $20 yearly membership. Hubby and I became Wine Club members to save on bottles of wine and attend the special wine dinners. For more information on the various tiers of membership, visit the Wrigley Mansion membership page. In the meantime, Happy Memorial Day weekend! xoM
2501 E Telawa Trail, Phoenix, AZ 85016
All photos by Marci Symington for texAZtaste.com.