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The Roosevelt Tavern


We went last nite to the Roosevelt Tavern - its Matt from Matt's Big Breakfast's new spot. Its located at 816 N 3rd Street, which is across from Holga's at McKinley.

Its an adorable restored house with parking in the back. The living room in the front has a fire place, a table and chairs, and a couple of bar stools using floating shelves for a table. the bar is kind of small, but has a TON of beer on tap. The beer is amazingly cold, and we had the house draft at 4.50 a pint, which I found out was brewed by 4 Peaks. It's sort of lager-like *sorry, not normally a beer drinker but I wanted to try*. The wine list was extensive, altho I don't recall seeing anything bubbly. I'm a fan of prosecco ;)

Each other room has a variety of tables or couches or high barstools, and the back room has a long wooden table, which I assume would be able to be reserved for events.

For nibbling, we had the cheese plate, which had an aged vermont cheddar, a nice bleu, and my fav - humboldt fog. I think it was around 10? Nice dark bread served warm with the plate. They have a couple of sandwhiches on the menu, and will be adding more food as they go on.

I loved it, altho I admit I was a little sad, since its probably the last time we'll ever get the big pretty table in the back ;). I know its going to be a huge hit, and on its 3rd nite open, it was already full. Not packed, but full. I love Matts, but can hardly get in for breakfast any more. I fear this will go the same way. ;) I'll be back.

They are open from 6-2 right now, altho I don't know if those hours will change as they go forward.

Parking is limited in the back, or on the street/side streets.

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  1. You might get some responses if you decided to fill us in on in what city the Roosevelt Tavern is located.

    1. people in phoenix all know Matts and the Roosevelt.

      1 Reply
      1. re: hzp

        Last time I looked, this board is labeled "Southwest." Not Phoenix.

      2. The Roosevelt is a new one to me. It just opened right?

        Welcome to the board Winedubar. Maybe I can state it in a more gentile manner: The SW board spans AZ, NV, NM, and CO. If there is a restaurant you'd like to discuss, just put "PHX" or "Tucson" or whatever city it happens to be in before the restaurant name. That will alert everyone on its location.

        But thanks for the heads up. I believe I've walked by Roosevelt Tavern before it was open during First Friday - or maybe that's another spot. I'll have to find out.

        1 Reply
        1. re: mamamia

          oops - sorry i didn't think of saying phoenix :D its in central phoenix, pretty much downtown :)

        2. I cannot wait to try this place. More of what downtown Phoenix needs.

          Is there a website yet? I haven't been able to find one.

          1. It's great to hear about another late night option. This site is the BEST! (And, now I know exactly how it works...lol :) ) Thanks for the heads up...I have lots of friends and family showing up this month and next...hopefully we can expereince the "big table"!

            1. This is the second glowing response I've heard/read today. I will move this up on my list of places to try.

              1. The beer and atmosphere sound great, but I'd like to hear more about the food. I'll confess that I've never been a fan of Matt's Big Breakfast. The food there is just too "white" for me. In other words, the MBB menu features too much white flour, eggs, butter, sugar, and whole milk and too little whole grains, fresh fruit, and vegetables for my taste. That's a matter of personal preference, and I acknowledge that MBB prepares everything with top-quality ingredients and a great deal of care. Nevertheless, the food just does not have enough flavor to appeal to me, even if I suspend all concerns about nutrition.

                I guess my question then is if the Roosevelt's menu is similar in style to MBB or if there are some more interesting and flavorful options on the menu. Is it all "heartier diner style fare" (wording from MBB Web site), or does the Roosevelt take the menu in a different direction than MBB?

                1. i think its going to be higher end pub fare...they have some hot spicy nuts, a couple of sandwhiches *all seemed to be interesting smoked meats - sopprasetta, mortadella, that type of thing*, a cheese plate, fresh pretzels...

                  im sorry you don't like matts - fwiw they always have a bowl of fresh local fruit on the menu - :)

                  in a separate thread, id definitely be interested in learning about some great healthier dining options. my predilections lean towards local : ingredients, chefs, restaurants. other than that im pretty open :)

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: winedubar

                    Thanks. I'm not a fan of smoked meats, but nuts, cheeses, and pretzels are all great snacks. The menu sounds different enough to be worth a try at least once. Even if I don't find the food appealing, I never reject good beer. As for the fruit bowl at MBB, I've never seen it when eating there. Perhaps it's a new offering.

                  2. Well, hang on a minute there - mortadella and sopresssata - along with a host of other Italian sauasages - are cured, not smoked. In fact, I'm trying to think of which of the Italian deli meats are gonna be smoked....and I'm not coming up with many very quickly. (All you guys familiar with Italian meat curing techniques jump right in here)

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: Alice Letseat

                      True, but I still don't like them. I've never had a taste for any deli meats, cold cuts, charcuterie, etc. -- whether smoked or cured. In any case, I hope the Roosevelt offers some lighter sandwich and entree options once its menu is fully deployed.

                      1. re: Alice Letseat

                        doh - you are correct - they are cured, not smoked.....sorry - still recovering from xmas and nye ;)

                      2. I've been meaning to check this place out, and drove by several times during the weeks leading up to Christmas. Looks like it finally opened on the 28th. With it being so close to Carly's and Fate, it looks like the location is prime for an entire evening out in the Roosevelt Dist. The special brew from 4 Peaks is just absolutely class.

                        1. Met friends at the Roosevelt Friday night for some pre-First Friday's libations. GREAT place (I didn't realize previously that the friend's we were meeting happened to have been the architects that worked on the place...). I had a great glass of wine, tried some new, very yummy beers (I do love a beer that could be dessert) and tried the pretzel... it is indeed, yummy. It's dark, comfortable, diverse, and really quite cozy.

                          1. Great place!

                            Matt and Ernie have done an amazing job, as was expected. It's so cool to have breakfast at Matt's in the morning, then head to the Roosevelt at night for some drinks and snacks. What a cozy, great place they built. Great service, the staff is there when you need them, with a smile. Also, GREAT music. You can hear Radiohead songs that you haven't heard in forever.

                            1. The only complaint I have of the place is it's tight, awkward layout. As this place becomes more and more popular (which it will), finding a place to set your food or drink, let alone stand, is going to become an almost unneeded hassle. Maybe as the weather warms, they'll open up that back space for a patio? It would definitely help.

                              Of course, as with Matt's Big Breakfast, Pizzeria Bianco, etc., I realize this was probably the intent.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: Grey

                                Keep in mind, The Roosevelt is a 100 year old house, not a Scottsdale strip mall. You're right, it is smaller, there are unique corners and rooms, which add to the charm.

                                If someone wants Applebees, they will be upset with The Roosevelt.

                                Currently, they are working with the City of Phoenix to obtain a beer garden permit, so that patrons may drink outside. For the entire year of them developing the place, the City of Phoenix and Mayor Gordon let down the owners by dropping the ball, losing permits, changing the rules mid-stream etc. Let's hope they do a better job of working with them on this issue.

                              2. Went tonight for the first time. Matt is darling (and clearly eats the food from MBB) and the service and ambiance was great. Of course we had one whole room (the front room) to ourselves so we could take over.

                                The place (to me) is clearly about chilling with a cold, good quality beer near downtown. I would not say it's about food.

                                Very random bar food - but good quality ingredients. Think "franks and beans" (literally) but with Neiman Ranch pork for the franks. Hot pretzels, panini, cheese plate, the aforementioned franks and beans, etc.

                                Beer was great and yes, ice cold. The wine list seemed limited but quality.

                                The food is fairly limited so not a place to drive all the way across town for unless you are having dinner elsewhere, but if you are already nearby and want to relax in a cool place with some soul, I cannot think of a better place to go.

                                1. Went to bed and felt bad about missed details so here is more...

                                  The cheese plate was of superb quality and flavor, although the uncut, mealy apple half on the plate was passable at best. And how does one share a half of an apple with no silverware or side plates?

                                  The darkly sweet and moist fig bread, the cheeses and everything else on the plate were happily devoured. Once during cheese consumption I glanced over at my friend and saw her moaning. Good sign.

                                  I particularly swooned over the 2 small Valrhona chocolates on the plate...yum.

                                  Overall superb, but if you are a person who finds appetizers and small bites unsatifying, perhaps don't try to eat dinner here, but be certain to stop by before and/or after or certainly for happy hour.

                                  2 Replies
                                  1. re: HomeCookKirsten

                                    I highly reccomend the grilled cheese and tomato soup, it's great and I am not typically a fan of either.

                                    I wish they would bring over the Butter Burger from Matt's Big Breakfast, that thing is awesome.

                                    1. re: Max Fischer

                                      Grilled cheese and tomato soup is a classic combination that is probably even better if made with artisinal touches. Maybe something substantial at the Roosevelt does appeal to me after all. I'll try to check it out soon.

                                  2. Thanks Max - I'll have to try the grilled cheese next time.

                                    Yeah, the butter burger would be GREAT with all that cold beer.

                                    2 Replies
                                    1. re: HomeCookKirsten

                                      I hope you try it and enjoy it. One note, it is more like a grilled panini, then a true grilled cheese, and you will find the sandwich press grill marks. Again, it is top notch, great cheeses, and I don't usually care for soup but it was great. Enjoy.

                                      (Let's cross our fingers that they bring the burger over, it would be SO good with that cold beer)

                                      1. re: Max Fischer

                                        omg i thought the grilled cheese and tomato soup were to die for...my fav on the menu..however the honeymooner was a close 2nd - its a grown up fried baloney and cheese sandwhich as well..

                                        and i have to confess, we ordered the franks and beans..ok - it was really good and the first thing we collectively finished..

                                        the cheese plate - humbolt fog is my fav cheese, so of course i swooned..im in love with the place :)

                                        chowhound meet up :D

                                    2. I'm in for a chowhound meet up! Someone propose a date/time?

                                      1. For those who have been, does the Roosevelt have a TV? From what Ive read, it sounds like its not really going for the whole sports bar thing, but I'd really like to be able to go down there w/ my friends, have some drinks and food, and watch the Suns game. With out sports on the TV, I rarely have reason to go to a bar (I dont drink).

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: HooverDam

                                          I agree, it is not a sports bar, but they do offer non-alcoholic beverages which will offer you some choices. The small TV gets the job done, and it has a great atmosphere, and gets quite full before suns games, as people with tickets to the game stop by for a beer and dinner before the game. Also, they have great people watching and I have already seen a few celebrities there.

                                        2. Any idea who makes their bread? I read "fig bread" and I immediately thing of MJ Coe and his wonderful figgy bread.

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: mamamia

                                            sure is from mj :D its fabulous...

                                            and they have a tiny tv, it's def not a sports bar kinda place...too small

                                          2. Damn! Damn! Damn!

                                            So we had tickets to the Suns on Saturday night,and I thought it was the perfect chance to try Roosevelt Tavern. We drive up and there's a sign on the gate: "Plumbing problem - we'll be opening later tonight."

                                            I called to see if they planned to open within the next few minutes, but was told they didn't know if they would be opening that night at all. That's just my luck.

                                            Not all hope was lost - we jumped on over to Fate and grabbed a seat at the community table for what is turning into my favorite dish at the moment: Coconut Curry.

                                            P.S. Fate is adding a dining patio out front. It should be ready by June(when it's nice and scorching outside).

                                            1. I went to the Roosevelt last night for a beer after work. I agree with the positive comments here. I love the space and the beer selection was outstanding. I also appreciated that they have plenty of non-chilled glasses for those beer snobs like me who prefer their beer at a temperature where it can be tasted. The service was also excellent.

                                              The one problem I have is that the place doesn't open until 5. This is a bar. In the downtown area of a major city. They should be opening at 4 at the latest. We got there at 4:50 and were standing in front with about 12 other people. They didn't open the doors until 5:10. Perhaps they should open earlier on Friday and Saturdays if the 4 PM everyday would be too much of a hassle.

                                              The PHX area has the worst pub scene I have ever come across in a major city. We finally get a place worth bragging about and it doesn't open until 5.

                                              1 Reply
                                              1. re: HeatmiserAZ

                                                Keep in mind that the proprietor runs another restaurant that serves breakfast and lunch. Although the other restaurant is not among my favorites, it is very popular, and as a result it's probably all the owner can do to serve his lunch clientele, clean up, and then make it over to the Roosevelt to set up for a 5 PM opening.

                                                Perhaps as the Roosevelt catches on more staff will be hired and the hours of business will increase, but until then I'd just be appreciative of the effort to maintain a vibrant pub in a formerly desolate area of town.

                                              2. I finally made it to the Roosevelt Tavern over the weekend. It seemed like a natural place to meet a friend for a beer and light supper before the Eric Clapton concert at the US Airways Center.

                                                First, following up on my comments above, I liked the Roosevelt much more than Matt's Big Breakfast. The Roosevelt reminds me of a modern pub in London. I'm much more at ease with the British pub tradition than the East Coast diner tradition, which is the apparent model for Matt's Big Breakfast.

                                                The atmosphere was just right. I loved the labyrinth of little rooms, which would probably not be possible in a newly constructed building due to code issues. The chalkboards with the wine and beer specials were also a nice touch. The music was great. It's so much nicer to hear real bands like Coldplay and the Killers than the latest anonymous lounge music.

                                                For a first visit, I made sure to sample the house beer from Four Peaks. It was predictably excellent and will be even more appreciated once the summer heat settles in. I like the idea of the rotating tap beer and will have to try some of the lesser known brews offered.

                                                As for the food, I'd say it was adequate but not great. I ordered the grilled cheese sandwich and tomato soup. The soup was flavorful and not creamy, despite being described that way on the menu. Although there might be a slight truth-in-advertising issue here, I was actually thankful for the apparent absence of cream in the soup since the sandwich was rich enough by itself. The sandwich was somewhat disappointing. The melted cheeses were nice, but the bread was tough and chewy. I'm not sure if that's an ongoing problem or if my sandwich was just made from a bad loaf of bread. Judging from the number of people around me ordering the same item, it does seem to be a popular choice. My friend had a sandwich with an assortment of charcuterie-style meats. He liked it but found it a little over-the-top in terms of quanity. Amazingly, there is a green salad with croutons and goat cheese on the menu. That's probably something I'll sample on my next visit.

                                                That's right. There will be a next visit. While I think the food still needs some adjustment, the beverages, atmosphere, and service were all terrific.