Superstition Downtown: Uniquely Pairing Mead and Food

A delicious concept rises from the ashes of 2020

by Jeff Herbert

Superstition Downtown is the world’s first mead-and-food-pairing restaurant, a collaboration forged between chefs and mead makers, and we are so excited to offer a truly one-of-a-kind experience. 

Opening a restaurant in 2020 was filled with challenges from the international pandemic and corresponding government shutdowns disproportionately targeting the service industry. In spite of these obstacles, we continued to develop exciting new releases, ran dramatic promotions, and communicated in new ways via social media, ultimately establishing more than 50 new jobs in the past nine months.

Phoenix is the fastest-growing city in the country, diverse mixed-use structures are going up as I write these words and, according to developers and city officials, Washington and Van Buren heading east from 7th Street is the next district of Phoenix highlighted for revitalization. Even today, from Bianco’s to Tratto’s to El Gallo Blanco, and now Superstition Downtown, the area offers easy access to some fantastic establishments. 

What makes a city really shine is authentic cultural experiences, destinations that define moments in our life. Times with friends and family that we look back on in the years ahead and remember fondly, nostalgia framed by beautiful design — and, in our case, preserving a slice of Arizona’s past.

Superstition Downtown is on the National Historic Registry and originated as the first Chinese market in Phoenix. There is a story behind everything we do at Superstition and, from the custom tile entryway to our best-selling menu item, pork belly bao buns, we have created subtle homages to the origins of the space. 

In many ways converting the shell of a historic structure is more challenging than a fresh build, and we couldn’t have made this successful without working with the great people in the City of Phoenix’s Adaptive Reuse Program. Mike Melero and his team worked very hard as our insiders at city hall, and together we bested many challenges facing our project. 

Few things are more important to the Superstition brand than authenticity, so choosing the perfect building was paramount in our search. My wife and I built our space in Prescott with our own hands, renovating a cellar space that dates to 1901, and we wanted to bring a slice of hygge (the Danish concept of coziness) to Phoenix that defines the Prescott Tasting Room. However, like a yin and yang to Prescott, Superstition Downtown is full of natural light with a beautiful spacious patio for outdoor dining. 

What makes our place so unique is that we are pairing elevated comfort food inspired by our international travels with world-class craft beverages that we make in Arizona, from Arizona honey, often aged in unique barrels that once held a range of spirits or even craft beer. There is no wider range of flavors to be found anywhere on earth, and when our guests complement or contrast the characteristics of a dish with a glass of mead or cider or wine that we make, the result is a culinary experience greater than the sum of its parts.   

Superstition Meadery – Downtown Phoenix

1110 E. Washington St., Phoenix
(602) 368-3257

Roasted Golden Beet Nigiri 

Almond-wood-fire-roasted thinly sliced golden beets delicately laid over sushi rice; the three nigiri are topped with sesame gomashio and a micro green mix gently tossed in truffle oil, then drizzled with a decadent balsamic maple glaze 

$8

Pair with Lagrimas De Oro and experience the oak of the bourbon barrel mixing with the wood fire roast on the beets.

Pork Belly Bao Buns 

House-made spongy soft bao buns stuffed with a chile honey and mead-glazed pork belly grilled over almond wood fire until caramelized; the two bao are topped with a colorful slaw made with pickled carrots, shaved daikon and radish with a cilantro garnish 

$10

Pair with Furiis Midday, a dry and complex orange wine made by fermenting white wine grapes on the skins for several months.

Coffee-Crusted Dry-Aged Ribeye 

Decadent melt-in-your-mouth coffee-crusted dry-aged ribeye grilled over almond wood served on top of a savory chocolate sauce with a side of rich creole mashed potatoes alongside marinated and charred radicchio garnished with smoking rosemary 

$55

Pair with Amante, a bold and spicy Belgian dark strong mead that complements the rich chocolate and spice notes of the dish. 

Did You Know: Mead, traditionally made of honey, is the world’s oldest fermented beverage; honey was discovered by the University of Pennsylvania biomolecular archaeologist Pat McGovern as being a key ingredient in ceramic pots holding alcohol, made in China 9,000 years ago. 

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