Craft 64 brings mixes pizza with local brews SanTan Sun News

Craft 64 brings mixes pizza with local brews

Craft 64 brings mixes pizza with local brews
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By COLLEEN SPARKS
Managing Editor

People no longer have to travel to Scottsdale to indulge in artisan, wood-fired pizza made with house-made mozzarella cheese and Arizona vegetables, along with an eclectic variety of local craft beers.

That’s because Craft 64 is now operating at 68 W. Buffalo St., five years after it opened its Scottsdale location at 6922 E. Main St.

Owners James Swann, Josh Ivey, Roger Carpenter and Scott Hagan keep the menu small but focused on quality and providing local brews and made-from-scratch pizzas, sandwiches, salads and bruschetta with most vegetables coming from McClendon’s Select, a farm in Peoria.

Craft 64 in Chandler offers 30 local beers on tap, all made in Arizona, from popular brewers including OHSO Distillery, Grand Canyon Distillery, SanTan Distilling and by Craft 64 itself.

About half the spirits are locally made and Craft 64 makes its own pinot noir.

SanTan Brewing Company, which is just down the street, makes special bitters for Craft 64. Swann had previously worked as general manager there for several years. Carpenter used to own the now-closed DownUnder Wine Bar at the Chandler Fashion Center.

The menu at the Chandler restaurant is basically the same as the one in Scottsdale, but slightly expanded. Also, unlike the Scottsdale Craft 64, which has one wood-fired oven, the Chandler Craft 64 has two.

Craft 64 took over the space previously occupied by La Stalla Rustica Cucina, across the street from San Marcos Resort. The building got a major overhaul with new fixtures, including lots of wood accents and two patios.

The owners have long been familiar with Chandler as two of them, Hagan and Ivey, live there, while Swann and Carpenter live in Tempe.

“We all knew the area well,” Swann said. “We have a lot of friends down here. Our local focus is something I’m hoping people will embrace; beer and spirits and what we do in the kitchen. We like to offer a few things and do them well.”

Craft 64 has no microwaves and no freezers. One oven cooks focaccia bread at 500 degrees while the other heats pizza at 700 to 750 degrees.

The restaurant’s pizzas are 12 inches, thin crust with many traditional toppings including pepperoni, fennel sausage and smoked sausage, along with some unusual twists such as eggs. The cured pepperoni and other meats come from a small business in Italy.

One of Craft 64’s popular pizzas, the Margarita for $15, comes with mozzarella, Parmigiano Reggiano, tomato sauce and basil.

The crusts on all the restaurant’s pizzas are made in the “Neapolitan-style,” though not with the same type of flour used for that type of crust.

One of our trademarks is that we use a little more char and a little more chew,” to the pizza dough, Swann said.

Swann said his favorite pizza on the menu is Aji, at $19. Fresh Arizona jalapenos are emulsified with lemon juice, olive oil, cracked peppers and sea salt to create a spicy Aji jalapeno sauce for the pizza. The Aji also has fennel sausage, sautéed onions, ricotta, spinach, mozzarella and Parmigiano Reggiano.

“It’s got some kick because it’s got some fresh Arizona jalapenos,” Swann said.

The Smokehouse has mozzarella, Parmigiano Reggiano, house-smoked sausage and house-smoked onions, at $19.

Customers also love Uovo, a pizza with mozzarella, Parmigiano Reggiano, ricotta, spinach, cherrywood-smoked bacon and two over-medium fried eggs.

The savory Combinazioni, at $18, combines mozzarella, Parmigiano Reggiano, roasted red pepper, sautéed onions, Cremini mushrooms, oregano and basil.

Those who prefer a white sauce on their pizza can try the Blanco, at $16, which has mozzarella, Parmigiano Reggiano, ricotta, spinach and garlic.

Vegans can satisfy their dietary needs with Craft 64’s Senza Formaggio, for $12, which has tomato sauce, basil, oregano and rosemary.

Craft 64 also aims to satisfy customers’ cravings for sandwiches with its Caprese, Italian and BLT sammys made on wood-fired, focaccia bread.

The BLT sandwich has house-made mozzarella, tomatoes, caramelized onions, basil, extra virgin olive oil and cherrywood-smoked bacon, Swann said.

Mozzarella, tomatoes, basil, extra virgin olive oil and caramelized onions are also on the Caprese sandwich. The Italian sandwich blends tomatoes, mozzarella, caramelized onions, basil, pepperoni, salami and extra virgin olive oil.

The Chandler restaurant also strives to make customers salivate over its salads. Its Caprese salad, which is $10, mixes sliced tomatoes, mozzarella, basil, extra virgin olive oil, cracked pepper and sea salt.

Bacon lovers can enjoy the hearty, Bistro Bacon salad for $13, filled with frisée, spinach, olives, sizzling cherrywood-smoked bacon, an oven-roasted egg and classic Dijon Vinaigrette.

For dessert, there’s Nutella Indulgence, made with pizza dough drizzled with sugar and stuffed with Nutella, bananas, hazelnuts and Arizona honey for dessert. The classic Italian dessert tiramisu, which is rich ladyfingers with mascarpone, Marsala, dark rum and Espresso, is also on the menu.

To wash down the rich pizzas, sandwiches, salads and bruschetta, Craft 64 offers a little something for everyone when it comes to beers, wines and cocktails.

Craft 64 brews many beers at SunUp Brewing Company in Phoenix and customers can order the diverse beverages with fun names at the Chandler and Scottsdale restaurants.

Some examples include Craft 64’s Rocky Point Blonde, an American Light lager and a Wake Me Up Before You Mango, a shandy Swann described as “very refreshing.” Rocky Point Blonde is available in the summer while in the winter, starting around October, Craft 64 will offer its Sweet Lovin’ brew, a heavier, chocolate coffee porter.

“Variety is the spice of life when it comes to beer,” Swann said.

Hazy Hoperator and Grapefruit Haze are IPAs Craft 64 makes.

Craft 64 now is selling SanTan Mountain Berry HARD Seltzer, O.H.S.O. Chocolate Milk Stout, Huss’ Papago Orange Blossom and many other beers but the line-up changes constantly.

The wines at Craft 64 change with the seasons. Its Craft 64 Pinot Noir concocted by owner Ivey has dark cherry, mulberry and a long finish sourced with grapes from Oregon. It carries wines from all over the world including Australia, Italy, France, Oregon and California.

Swann has first-level certification through Cicerone, online training on beer service and styles, and all employees at Craft 64 must complete that same coursework within 30 days of starting work there.

Craft 64 also quenches customers’ thirst with its signature mules including the Cucumber Goddess, which is Arcadia Cucumber Vodka from Arcadia Spirits, the brand owned by OHSO Distillery, and Bitters with Meyer Lemon (from Arcadia Vodkas owned by OHSO Distillery).

Guests also love The “64,” a mule with Arcadia Grapefruit (also from OHSO Distillery) and lemon vodkas and lemon. Some of the mules feature Roger Clyne’s Mexican Moonshine Tequila including The Peacemaker and The Revolver.

Those who prefer non-alcoholic drinks can try another local favorite, iced tea from Passport Coffee & Tea, a Scottsdale business, at Craft 64.

Happy hour is every day from 3 to 6 p.m., during which time customers can get $1 off all draft beers and order five different wines for $6 each. For $8, customers can order several foods — the Caprese salad, olive bowl, charcuterie board or garlic cheese bread.

People are eating up the food and service at Craft 64 in Chandler.

“First time @ Craft 64 and we will definitely be returning!”  Yesenia Quinones George  posted on the Craft 64 Chandler Facebook page. “Amazing food, friendly staff, and great drink selection!”

Gina Accurso-Donnelly also savored her experience at Craft 64 in Chandler.

“Just tried the new location in downtown Chandler,” Accurso-Donnelly posted on the Craft 64 Chandler Facebook page. “EXCELLENT pizza. I am a pizza snob and I highly recommend this place. We will be back for sure!”

Craft 64 in Chandler is open from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Mondays through Fridays and 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays. Information: craft64.com

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