Hearth ’61 – A View Forward and Back

by Mike Hunter

The Valley’s celebrated Chef Charles Wiley has brought his creative touch to Hearth ’61 at the newly reopened Mountain Shadows resort. The Paradise Valley property first welcomed guests in the mid-1950s, and retains its boutique nature. Guests entering from the valet station to the lobby make a quick left to reach the restaurant just past the bar. But it’s worth a short detour right to first take in the art gallery — all original art chosen for exhibition due to having some connection to Arizona, rotating artists every 60 days.

Chef Wiley’s influence can be appreciated even before perusing the menu: He designed the wide-open exhibition kitchen, open for view and aromas behind a stretch of three long, open windows that lays extra emphasis on “wide” and gives new meaning to “open” but with a special ventilation system that keeps all smoke in the kitchen. The namesake hearth stands prominently at one end, and dishes roasted in it go straight from oven to table in the same vessel, retaining the signature char and smokiness of the preparation.

Local, organic and seasonal are key to the menu. The current spring menu includes chilled jumbo shrimp served in a spicy cucumber gazpacho that would be a great choice on its own (if only it were offered that way). Take it light with the H ’61 Vegetable Chop Salad, a mix of Napa cabbage, spinach, farro, roasted butternut squash, red grapes and Crow’s Dairy feta with parsley and lemon hazelnut vinaigrette. The Prime Rib French Dip is one of the more robust choices.

With a raised pool as centerpiece in a comfortably modern décor, the dining room is bookended by mountain views, including the iconic Camelback Mountain that rises on the south of the property.

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