Case of Eminent Domain in Roanoke

As reported in the Times Register by By A. Lee Graham, Twisted Root Burger Co., Cowboy Chow and other restaurants in the Old Town Roanoke, are feigning support for Scott’s Automotive (a local, independent business) as the wait on the sidelines for more parking for their restaurants.

“The parking issue is an excellent problem to have,” said Justin Springfield, whose Old Town Development has attracted Twisted Root Burger Co., Cowboy Chow and other restaurants to Roanoke. “Most cities would kill to have that problem.”

“It’s really none of my business and none of our business as a company,” said Justin Speights, a manager at Twisted Root Burger Co., just east of Scott’s Automotive on Oak Street.

“We’re in the middle of this long process,” said City Manager Jimmy Stathatos, describing the town’s proposals to purchase the property — or acquire it through eminent domain — as fair. But Scotty Mizer tells another story.

“It was never for sale until they condemned it,” said Mizer, frustrated by the city’s attempts to buy 17,500 square feet of his 108 N. Highway 377 property. Stathatos emphasized that the condemnation process is ongoing and not complete.

“We are in the middle of the condemnation process, but have not condemned the property,” Stathatos said. “At any time the city can bail out and not buy it.”

Mizer currently uses the location for parking, prohibited by city regulations that require paving, drainage and other modifications before the surface can legally hold vehicles.

With council approval, the property could be paved and made into a public parking lot.

City officials are seeking more parking spaces to accommodate motorists visiting town and its newly renovated Oak Street.

Several restaurateurs and shop owners asked by The Times-Register to discuss eminent domain and its role in providing additional parking for their customers declined.

Several recent City Council meetings have ended with executive sessions focused on Mizer’s property. The council discussed offers made by the city for the property, all of which Mizer said were unacceptable.

The city’s latest offer was for $262,500, which also is the city’s appraisal of the property. The county’s appraised value of the property is $404,616, according to the Denton County Appraisal District.

Last month, a Denton County special commissioners court, considered an objective third party under Chapter 21 of Texas property code, ruled that the city would have to pay $329,000 to purchase the property.

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Chef Bernie Kantak’s Citizen Public House Opens in Old Town on Saturday

Former Cowboy Ciao Chef, Bernie Kantak

Former Cowboy Ciao Chef, Bernie Kantak

By Michele Laudig, Thu., Jan. 13 2011 @ 11:35AM

After keeping a low profile since he left his longtime chef position at Cowboy Ciao in 2009 — with the exception of his solo appearance at last spring’s Devoured Culinary Classic — this weekend Bernie Kantak returns to Old Town Scottsdale with the launch of his very own restaurant, Citizen Public House.

Set to soft-open on Saturday (doors officially open Sunday), the upscale “new-fashioned” gastropub is located in a completely renovated building that previouly housed the nightclub Next, and was the original location of Trader Vic’s. It’s decked out with leather booths, mahogany accents, a stainless steel-topped bar, and vintage family photos for a nostalgic vibe. There’s also a private upstairs dining room, a semi-private, 12-seat alcove, and a patio.

Kantak met his partners, Andrew Fritz and Rich Moe, during his days at Cowboy Ciao and Kazimierz, and here, they’ll be handing the front of the house and an ambitious beverage program that showcases craft beers, inventive cocktails, and wine.

Meanwhile, Kantak has created an enticing menu of contemporary American pub grub with a lot of unique twists. Here, the popcorn is heirloom, popped in Tenderbelly bacon fat, while the mac ‘n cheese goes for the jugular with gorgonzola and Emmental cheeses. The burger is made with decadent wagyu beef, and there’s a lamb burger, too. Like the grilled Halloumi cheese sandwich, it’s served on a Serbian lepijna roll (a salute to Kantak’s Eastern European roots).

Starters include the Mirliton Chopped Salad (chayote, snow pea greens, grape tomatoes, heirloom popcorn, grilled halloumi cheese, cucumber-onion salad, and parsley-garlic dressing), which just might outdo the much-imitated Stetson Chopped that Kantak created for Cowboy Ciao. There’s also crispy squid with lemon-anise tartar sauce and pickled fennel, and pork belly pastrami with rye spaetzle and brussels sprout sauerkraut.

Among the half-dozen entrees, look for fair trade coffee-charred shortribs with dried cherry barbecue sauce, porcini-dusted filet mignon, and pan-seared scallops with lardons, roasted corn grits, wilted snow pea greens, and Red Rock Cola gastrique.

Desserts by pastry chef Tracy Dempsey (also an alum of Cowboy Ciao and Kazimierz) sound homey, but a little naughty, too: you can have your milk spiked to go with an order of cookies, or slurp up chocolate toffee bread pudding with soy sauce caramel and chocolate Maker’s Mark ice cream. There’s also “Irish coffee three ways.”

Old-school cocktails like the Sazerac and Pisco Sour are listed alongside new creations like the Citi-Zen, with pear vodka, ginger liqueur, housemade sweet & sour, rock candy, and a lemon twist. There’s a long menu of spirits, digestifs, apertifs, and cordials, plus more than 70 different wines from around the world. Among six draught beers, two are from local fave Four Peaks, while bottle brews sound much geekier than what you’ll generally find in Old Town — there’s Stone Smoked Porter, Green Flash Summer Saison, Dogfish Head Midas Touch, and more.

For now, Citizen Public House will be open for dinner only, but lunch service is planned for the near future. Happy hour is from 3 to 6 p.m., Monday through Friday, and dinner service runs from 5 to 11 p.m. daily at 7111 E 5th Ave. in Scottsdale. Call 480-398-4208 for details.

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Cowboy Ciao Chopped Salad Served at Amaro in Cave Creek

The orginal Cowboy Ciao chopped salad is now being served at Amaro in Cave Creek! Amaro Pizzeria and Vino Lounge opens November 11th in Cave Creek.

The creator, Bernie Kantak – former executive chef of Cowboy Chow, is consulting at the new restaurant in Cave Creek at Tatum and Dynamite boulevards. Though, now it is called the “Kantak Chop”, which consists of smoked salmon, dried sweet corn, black currants, pepitas, asiago cheese, couscous, bruschetta, tomatoes and arugula in pesto-buttermilk dressing.

Amaro is owned by Frank Vairo, former Cowboy Ciao bartender, and Tagan Dering, former GM of Cowboy Ciao’s lounge, Kazimierz World Wine Bar. The executive chef is Jon Spahr, who trained at T. Cook’s at the Royal Palms.

Amaro Pizzeria and Vino Lounge
28234 N. Tatum Blvd., Cave Creek
480-502-1920
www.amaroaz.com

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Former Chef of Cowboy Chow, Bernie Kantak, Opens New Restaurant

Former Cowboy Chow Chef Bernie KantacThe former executive chef of Cowboy Chow, Bernie Kantak, has opened a new restaurant in Scottsdale called Citizen Public House in the space last occupied by Next. He’s partnering with Andrew Fritz, a front-of-the-house veteran from Cowboy Ciao. The restaurant is scheduled to open mid-December.

At Cowboy Ciao, Kantak, 39, was celebrated for his offbeat, Southwestern-accented fare, which ranged from an exotic mushroom pan fry in ancho chile cream sauce to buffalo carpaccio.

But he’s pretty much ditching the Southwestern notes at Citizen, in favor of what he calls globally inspired “eclectic comfort food” in a white-tablecloth setting.

He promises to give “familiar ingredients a new life.” That means starters like mussel chowder with smoked pork belly ($8), pork belly pastrami with spaetzle and Brussels sprout sauerkraut ($12) and crispy squid with pickled fennel ($9). There will also be a version of his acclaimed chopped salad ($12).

Main dishes include coffee-charred short ribs ($26), porcini-dusted filet ($32) and pan-seared scallops with bacon and grits ($17).

There are also a couple of burgers ($12): wagyu beef on challah, and a lamb burger on lepinja, a pita-like bread from the Balkans.

After he left Cowboy Ciao, Kantak worked on two ambitious projects, both done in by the recession: a multi-restaurant group in downtown Phoenix, and the never-opened Mexican Standoff at SouthBridge.

Address: Citizen Public House, 7111 E. Fifth Ave., Scottsdale.

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Fried Pop Tarts at Twisted Root

This is how Isaac Rousso fries Pop-Tarts
​Deep-fried Pop-Tarts are now available to eaters who don’t want to splurge on a State Fair of Texas ticket — if they’re willing to settle for Chef Jason Boso’s version of the treat.

Boso, executive chef of Twisted Root Burger Co. and Cowboy Chow, created five fried dishes to celebrate Fair season, but admits his fried chocolate and strawberry Pop-Tarts have been the runaway customer favorite.

Fried Pop Tarts“It’s a lot of fun,” he says.

Boso, who prefers fried ice cream, hasn’t yet sampled Isaac Rousso’s Deep Fried S’mores Pop-Tart, which dazzled Big Tex Choice Award judges.

“I didn’t even know they were having them,” he says. “I probably wouldn’t have done it if I knew.”

Boso’s Fair-inspired line-up also includes deep-fried peaches and cream, a bacon-wrapped deep-fried hot dog, a deep-fried slider and – at the Roanoke location only – green chile cotton candy.

“It’s pretty weird to taste spice through sugar,” Boso says. “It’s more of an interest thing. People try it and say ‘what the hell?’ I don’t think anyone wants to eat the whole thing.”

While the deep-fried foods will be retired when the fair ends, Boso plans to keep experimenting with cotton candy; vanilla latte cotton candy’s on next month’s menu. But the treat will remain a Roanoke-only special.

“It’s the only store where I have room for the cotton candy maker,” he explains.

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