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Jan 28, 2010 05:02 PM

Main Ingredient ale house & cafe (Phoenix) - now open

This new place just opened in the old Lisa G location on 7th St between Thomas and McDowell. It's been open about two weeks and I've already been there twice for lunch. I'm actually hesitant to say anything about it because I like being able to walk in and find a table.

The menu is includes 4 salads and 8 sandwiches along with a soup, mac and cheese and a few starters. Lots of local, fresh ingredients.

I've had the Winner salad twice ($9) with romaine, field greens, turkey, genoa salami, fresh mozzarella, local tomatoes, hard cooked egg and kalamata olives. It's tossed in a zingy lemon vinaigrette and thoroughly enjoayble. I've seen the Sheridan sandwich ($9) with oven roasted turkey breast, genoa salami, cheddar, local tomato, field greens, Nut Brown Ale Mustard and mayo on a baguette. Sandwiches are served with a side of greens or chips and a pickle. The bread looks fantastic and everyone I've brought with me has enjoyed the sandwiches. I've also seen the Jive Turkey (8) with the same turkey, Jalapeno cream cheese, local tomato and field greens on a baguette.

They also have a Griddled Cheese sandwich (7) witih havarti, muenster and cheddar with tomato, and the Calvano (9) with sopressata, aged provolone, chopped artichoke hearts and roasted red peppers on focaccia.

Basically, the food looks and tastes great. There's also a great beer list, including 8 on tap for $5. The drafts are all half off every day until 6pm and there is a cool little bar. The beers include a couple from Four Peeks including the Main Ale, Kolsch-style, made for the TMI. There are another 20 beers in bottles and cans for between $2 - $8 (Stone Arrogant Bastard Strong Ale). It's a great looking list. They also have 14 wines by the glass.

A couple of things that came up during my visits. If you order a coke or diet coke, you get a bottle of Mexico coke and coke light. My friends liked it, but each is $2.50 and no refills (everyone is so used to free soda refills these days). Also, the music, which is great, is a bit loud. You can hear each other talk, but at lunch it could be a little lower.

As you can tell, I really like this place a lot. I've already put it in the lunch rotation. If you live in the area, it's a great neighborhood place for lunch and dinner, or for a drink after work.


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  1. Thanks for this report. There's been some discussion on Chow Bella lately about what is and is not a gastropub in the Phoenix Metro Area. This place actually sounds like it might come closer than some of the places discussed there.

    8 Replies
    1. re: silverbear

      I'll have to check that out. I don't think Matt is stuffy enough to call it a gastropub, but I bet its as good as anything else out there.

      Also, I forgot to mention that the chips and salsa is really good. Great salsa. $4 seems a bit high for it, but it was very good.

      1. re: barry

        I visited TMIA last week for lunch. The sandwich I had ("The Sheridan") was very good, but I don't think the cuisine quite rises to the level of that at places I consider to be good examples of gastropubs (e.g., The Linkery in San Diego; Magnolia Pub & Brewery in SF; Meridian in Berkeley; Luka's Taproom in Oakland). And that's OK.

        The discussion silverbear is referring to centers around whether FnB qualifies as a gastropub. I tend to think not. But I don't hold that against the place. While I'm baffled by the ownership's earlier decision to sell FnB as a gastropub, I think that soon the restaurant will outgrow this minor marketing misstep. If the kitchen continues to execute at a high level, FnB will come to be known as a place to get fairly-priced, delicious New American food and a nice glass (or two) of wine rather than the gastropub-that-isn't. And that's OK, too.

        1. re: hohokam

          As I think I tweeted yesterday, "gastropub" is becoming the new "bistro" in terms of a word being stretched way beyond its original meaning for marketing purposes.

          I think I'm just going to stop using the word entirely -- until maybe Canteen opens.

          1. re: hohokam

            Ah. I missed that discussion. I wouldn't think of FnB as a gastropub either (I hope I'm not insulting anyone). I agree with your assessment, hohokam. It's a cool little restaurant, great food, great service, great value. We went there shortly after it opened and had a wonderful time. I meant to post about it here, but never did. I think we'll be back on Saturday. (Did I just hijack my own post?).

            Two great new places, The Main Ingredient and FnB. Locally owned by people in the industry for awhile, both opened smoothly and professionally, and I think both will become fixtures in their respective neighborhoods.

            1. re: hohokam

              What I would like to know is...when did FnB market itself as a gastropub? I've heard that mentioned before but I've seen no evidence to backup that claim. I highly doubt they will ever choose to use that label, just given their shoebox size; there is no where to put the beer required to make that label stick.

              1. re: azhotdish

                Seftel says that Pavle called it that:


                Maybe that was the original concept, but then realities, like the obvious space constraints, set in?

                1. re: azhotdish

                  In pre-opening media coverage:


                  I believe also on the Facebook page.

                  Nevertheless, this appears to be something that has been discontinued, and the restaurant seems to be drawing a clientele these days without that label.

                  1. re: silverbear

                    Not to veer too far off topic, however I think this is an interesting Phoenix-specific conversation to be had in conjunction with this preview of Main Ingredient.

                    I think it depends on what your focusing on when trying to decipher what ultimately is (and is not) a "gastropub." I think it might just be a term that hasn't yet congealed here in Phoenix, as there are few real reference points yet. I think we're taking its definition too literally in some regards - I think it is intended to be less exacting. Gastropubs themselves evolved to be these these sort of nouveaux, hybrid breed of restaurants - breaking a certain conformity of the generic, staid "pub grub" offerings you'd find otherwise in similar establishments. Since the concept has come stateside, it has taken an even sharper turn toward the high-end, the inventive, etc. The Michelin-starred Spotted Pig in NYC, one of the original (and most famous) such examples to take root on this side of the pond, comes explicitly to mind. When I think of gastropub, I don't think of glorified burgers, finger foods, shepherd's pie, etc., I think of food, atmosphere and service on a much more heightened level than one might expect in typical pub, microbrewery, brew-pup, etc.

                    As an example (something that was brought up by previous comments in this thread), I think food and atmosphere-wise, FnB definitely fits the bill of what a "gastropub" is. Where I think many might be "tilting their heads" is in its obvious lack of beer offerings. Which I can agree with, to some extent. Though I don't think it is entirely accurate to label FnB strictly a gastropub, I can definitely see how it would also apply at the same time.

                    Many might be putting a disproportionate amount of weight on the "pub" portion of the label, forgetting that the elevated level of gastronomy in itself is largely why the term was created/has evolved in the first place. A nicer, high-quality microbrewery or brew-pup (Four Peaks, Dave's Electric, Sun Up, The Main Ingredient, etc.) are not gastropubs simply because they happen to serve a wide variety of beer/ liquor. I feel the distinction is clear, but I also understand to some that the use of the term might seem new or overly faddish, especially when applied to restaurants here in the Phoenix area.

                    Regardless of semantics (I know), I am looking forward to trying Main Ingredient in the coming days.