The Craftsman Cocktails and Kitchen: Built on (of course) Craftsmanship

The pandemic couldn’t squelch the spirit(s)

by Steven Morin

Roughly one year ago, The Craftsman Cocktails and Kitchen was in the works. With the COVID-19 crisis not yet in sight, business ventures were going as planned, and smoothly at that. When the pandemic took the world by storm, however, the owners and investors decided it was best to slow things down and push plans back. The Craftsman finally set an opening date for several months down the line, and unlocked its doors during mid-October 2020. Despite not being able to host the grand opening events like they had imagined, The Craftsman was still able to see major success amid the COVID-19 crisis. 

Opening during the pandemic was a major challenge for companies of all sorts, but especially for those in the restaurant industry. To comply with COVID-19 health and safety guidelines, The Craftsman has had to pivot, but believes these adjustments have, ultimately, improved overall business. For social distancing purposes, the restaurant props its large garage-style doors open for more space and better air circulation. Additionally, it has had to implement more takeout dining options than had been anticipated, which, at first, took some getting used to; now, The Craftsman is a well-oiled machine and has even partnered with the “TakeIn” app to make ordering online easier. On top of that, it is now offering to-go cocktail kits that recreate the same Craftsman-style drinks at home, complete with a bottle of its house-made spirits. Another obstacle for The Craftsman was getting the word out about it, and COVID-19 didn’t make that an easy feat. The restaurant has had to be strategic and creative with social media and marketing efforts to gain an online presence, which, in turn, has led to loyal customers. 

The owners and executive chef Chris Nicosia believe the best dishes are simple at heart, and the setting and company are what truly matter most when it comes to any dining experience. With that in mind, The Craftsman aims to serve as the Valley’s go-to neighborhood joint, a place welcome to friends and family in a comfortable atmosphere. The ambiance is best embodied by simply “coming as you are” and leaving worries at the door. 

Chef Nicosia, an Arizona Culinary Hall of Fame inductee, created an innovative yet classic menu. Customers can select from a variety of conventional American dishes that aim to taste familiar but are never predictable. A few menu highlights include the wood-oven-roasted desert branzino, beet caprese salad with farro, volcano pork, and more. The Craftsman also infuses certain dishes and desserts with its house-made distilled spirits and craft beers. Small-batch liquors made in our onsite distillery include classic tastes like vodka, gin, rum, barrel-aged amaro, bourbon and coffee liqueur. (These spirits are the same ones featured in The Craftsman’s to-go cocktail kits!) With every menu item from starters to entrées prepared from scratch daily, The Craftsman includes as many locally sourced ingredients as possible, which has allowed the menu to pair quality with creativity. Customers can enjoy craftsman-style dining for brunch, lunch and dinner. There are also a variety of dishes that can be customized to fit dietary restrictions, like vegan or vegetarian. 

The Craftsman Cocktails and Kitchen was inspired by a simple, hardworking farmer and grandfather who loved his family, the land, woodworking and working with his hands. His tombstone reads, “A Craftsman.” Today, his traditions and the spirit of American craftsmanship live on.   

The Craftsman Cocktails and Kitchen
20469 N. Hayden Rd., Scottsdale
(480) 401-1102

Volcano Pork

Bone-in shank braised in hatch green chile jus served with jalapeno slaw, cilantro lime queso and warm tortillas

Journeyman Flatbread

House-lamb belly sausage, local goat cheese, roasted red peppers, pickled onions and harissa tomato sauce

Lollipop Wings

Large red bird drumsticks, barrel-aged hot sauce and blue cheese slaw
$10 for 3; $18 for 6

Steven Morin is managing partner of The Craftsman.

Photos courtesy of Fusion Studio/The Craftsman Cocktails and Kitchen

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