By Judi King Claybaugh
Faye Stone and Dean Baumstark would pretty much do anything for family. So, when Stone’s nephew underwent a heart transplant and chose to eschew most eateries because of a medication-induced suppressed immune system, the duo opened IncogNitos Restaurant and Bar, “a sports bar with a fresh twist.”
“There is no way to tell how clean and safe restaurant food and kitchens are, and being exposed to bacteria would be seriously detrimental to him,” said Stone, whose background is in restaurant management.
“Dean and I had often discussed opening our own restaurant and this was the incentive we needed. We wanted to open a place where customers can be assured that everything is immaculate.”
IncogNitos, which celebrated its grand opening on Oct. 4 in the space formerly occupied by Gallagher’s Sports Bar, is a game-lover’s paradise. It boasts 16 televisions and a projector screen, all of which air major sporting events. There are also pool tables and free Texas hold-‘em and team trivia cash-prize games on rotating nights.
Stone said that when they took over the former Gallagher’s building, they completely renovated it.
“It took us three months to do the kitchen, alone,” she said. “We totally gutted it and started over. It was a lot of work. We are meticulous about everything. You have to think about every detail, including bacteria in the soda fountain spigots that can build up; we sanitize them every day. All of our food is prepared in house daily so we have complete quality control.”
A master chef helms the kitchen, specifically Anthony Crozenzi, whose resume includes stints at The Venue Scottsdale and Iron Oaks Country Club in Sun Lakes. As executive chef, he created the menu at IncogNitos with an innovative twist on bar fare. Stone said that this is what makes IncogNitos stand apart.
The menu is still evolving, but the mainstay is the selection of burgers and sandwiches, along with a few regional twists. All the food is locally sourced except for the cheese curd which is flown in from a dairy farm in Baumstark’s home state of Wisconsin, and Hatch green chiles from Stone’s native New Mexico.
The Hatch chiles can be requested on anything, but the best presentation is the NM Hatch chile dip consisting of Hatch and poblano peppers, red and black beans, cream cheese, mild cheddar and sweet corn, served with fried pita and tortilla chips. The Wisconsin curds are beer battered, fried and served with buttermilk ranch dressing. Both are favorites on the appetizer menu for $7.49.
All the delectable burgers are prepared with a half-pound of house-blended beef ($8.99 to $9.99). They include the Arizonan, which is made with local ale melted beer-cheese topped with beer-battered onion rings on a pretzel roll, and the Nitos, which comes with Applewood smoked bacon, provolone, roasted Hatch green chiles and a bourbon molasses glaze on a split-top bun. The creation is a customized burger that comes with three toppings of your choice (49 cents for each after that) with a selection of five cheeses including a spicy ghost pepper, caramelized onions, poblano or Hatch chiles, avocado, sautéed mushrooms and bacon. For a novel experience, patrons can try the Frenchman, a beef patty charred in sangria wine, served with bleu cheese, caramelized onion and sautéed mushrooms on a pretzel roll.
Crozenzi’s inventive fare also features unique versions of pulled-pork and ham, pulled-chicken, panko-crusted chicken breast and ribeye sandwiches. Taco choices include an amazingly tasty grilled Mahi-mahi, and grilled chicken or steak. The meals range from $8.99 to $9.99 and include a handmade side such as the giant, battered onion rings, salads or one of the crispy French fry choices.
IncogNitos Restaurant and Bar
2050 N. Alma School Rd.