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Today is the grand opening of the newest restaurant at Harrah’s Ak-Chin Casino.

Chop Block & Brew has dining and a lounge. The design was influenced by an art and design committee appointed by Ak-Chin Chairman Robert Miguel.

submitted photo

“The Community’s history and culture is depicted in the architecture, artwork and colors throughout the restaurant,” said Robert Livingston, general manager and regional president of Harrah’s Ak-Chin Casino.

The restaurant serves lunch and dinner, with gourmet burgers, steaks, prime rib and seafood. The full bar has more than 30 draft and bottled craft beers, cocktails and premium whiskey and scotch.

Livingston said the restaurant “offers the perfect blend of an upscale dining experience with the first-class customer service our valued guests have come to expect here at Harrah’s Ak-Chin.”

One of its signatures is a wood-burning mesquite grill.

Harrah’s Ak-Chin is part of Caesar’s Entertainment. The casino continues its multimillion-dollar expansion. That expansion has already included the opening of a parking garage, Oak & Fork restaurant and a pedestrian bridge to UltraStar Multi-tainment Center. It will soon include a spa and conference center and 200 more hotel rooms.

“We take pride in offering our guests a comfortable and inviting entertainment experience,” Livingston said.

At 3,454 square feet, Chop Block & Brew has seating for 159. It features Native American-inspired artwork and design elements that highlight the culture and traditions of the Ak-Chin Indian Community.

Chop Block & Brew service schedule:

Restaurant Hours:
Lunch
Thursday through Sunday: Noon-3 p.m.

Dinner
Sunday through Thursday: 4-9 p.m.
Friday and Saturday: 4-10 p.m.

Lounge Hours:
Sunday through Thursday: 11 a.m. – 10 p.m.
Friday and Saturday: 11 a.m. – midnight

Gyro Grill co-owner Dalal Pettroza welcomed guests to the opening. Photo by Michelle Chance

A new Greek restaurant opened in Maricopa Friday morning. Gyro Grill is co-owned by Dalal Pettroza, an 11-year resident in the city.

“I love Maricopa. We wanted to do something different in Maricopa,” Pettroza said.

Gyro Grill is one of Maricopa’s first Mediterranean restaurants featuring signature dishes in a casual setting. The eatery is open Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Sundays from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Gyro Grill is located at 20987 N. John Wayne Parkway, Suite B102, north of Fry’s Marketplace.

For more information call 520-815-2500 or visit their website.

 



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Maricopa Subway received a technical knock from the health department last month.

Of the 15 Maricopa-area eateries inspected by Pinal County health department Oct. 16-Nov. 15, all but received top grades of “excellent.” Subway received a technical tick as the inspector had to provide hand-washing stickers and a fecal/vomit cleanup policy.

Excellent [No violations found]
Barro’s Pizza
Bashas’ – Bakery
Bashas’ – Deli
Bashas’ – Starbucks
The Duke at Rancho El Dorado
Helen’s Kitchen
Honeycutt Coffee
Jersey Mike’s Subs
Raceway Bar & Grill
Rob’s Convenience
Shamrock Farms
Sonic Drive-In
Taco Bell
Water and Ice

Satisfactory [Violations corrected during inspection]
Subway

Needs Improvement [Critical items noted during inspection cannot be corrected immediately requiring follow-up inspection]
None

Unacceptable [Gross, unsanitary conditions necessitating the discontinuation of service]
None


This item appears in the December issue of InMaricopa.

Two out of 18 Maricopa eateries inspected Sept. 16-Oct. 17 by Pinal County health inspectors did not get excellent scores.

Cilantro’s had to review cooling methods, though all hot-holding and cold-holding units worked properly, and review a handout on fecal/vomit cleanup policy. That resulted in an S score for satisfactory.

The new diner Francisco’s also received an S after the inspector found the freezer holding food at 28 degrees instead of 0. Staff had to review proper thawing methods and cooling methods. They were required to obtain food manager cards within 30 days. According to the report, “when asked, staff member stated no one was in charge.”

Excellent [No violations found]
Aliberto’s
Brooklyn Boys Italian Restaurant
Butterfield Elementary School
Culver’s of Maricopa
Fry’s Marketplace
Fry’s Marketplace – Bakery
Fry’s Marketplace – Deli
Fry’s Marketplace – Starbuck’s
Fry’s Marketplace – Sushi
Maricopa Elementary School
Maricopa Head Start
Maricopa High School
Maricopa Wells Middle School
Pima Butte Elementary
Plaza Bonita
Santa Rosa Elementary

Satisfactory [Violations corrected during inspection]
Cilantro’s Mexican Cocina
Francisco’s Mexican Food

Needs Improvement [Critical items noted during inspection cannot be corrected immediately requiring follow-up inspection]
None

Unacceptable [Gross, unsanitary conditions necessitating the discontinuation of service]
None

File photo

Out of 19 Maricopa eateries reviewed by Pinal County health inspectors, two received less-than-perfect scores Aug. 16-Sept. 20.

At True Grit Tavern, the inspector did not observe hot holding control. And though food items were property date-marked, some items were past the date.

Saddleback Elementary had several mini-sub sandwiches in which the meat was measured at higher than the 41-degree maximum. The inspector reviewed a better plan for making and storing sandwiches. Items in the salad bar were also at inconsistent temperatures, and the person in charges was requested to obtain other salad bar container units that would allow ice at the bottom and sides.

Both True Grit and Saddleback received satisfactory scores.

Excellent [No violations found]
Arby’s
Central Arizona College – Café
Central Arizona College – Culinary
Desert Wind Middle School
Domino’s Pizza
Good Donuts Leading Edge Academy
Little Caesar’s Pizza
Panda Express
Papa John’s Pizza
Papa Murphy’s Pizza
Pizza Hut
Santa Cruz Elementary
Sequoia Pathway Academy – K-6
Sequoia Pathway Academy – Secondary
Sonic Drive-In
Tacos ‘N’ More

Satisfactory [Violations corrected during inspection]
Saddleback Elementary
True Grit Tavern

Needs Improvement [Critical items noted during inspection cannot be corrected immediately requiring follow-up inspection]
None
Unacceptable [Gross, unsanitary conditions necessitating the discontinuation of service]
None


This item appears in the October issue of InMaricopa.

Aliberto's Mexican Food was among four eateries to corrected issues last month to get satisfactory marks from the county inspector. Photo by William Lange

Of 23 eateries inspected in Maricopa from Dec. 16 to Jan. 15, all received marks of “Excellent” except four. Those four fixed violations on the spot for “Satisfactory” marks.

At Aliberto’s Mexican Restaurant, a cook was observed rolling a burrito with bare hands, items in the prep table were over the required cold-holding temperature of 41 degrees, and there were no date markings on several items in a walk-in refrigerator.

Helen’s Kitchen had a plate of raw, uncovered chicken on top of an uncovered container of beef patties, and some food in the fridge had no date markings.

Maricopa High School had hot dogs being thawed improperly and improper cold-holding for milk containers.

True Grit Tavern had sauce spilled in the walk-in refrigerator, bread next to a puddle of chicken blood, macaroni and cheese at 65 degrees instead of the required hot-holding temperature of 135, unlabeled food items in the fridge, items past their date marking still in the fridge and condensation build-up on containers in freezer.

Excellent [No violations found]
Bashas’
Bashas’ – Bakery
Bashas’ – Deli
Bashas’ – Starbuck’s
Carl’s Jr.
Children’s Learning Adventure Childcare Centers
Chipotle Mexican Grill
The Duke at Rancho El Dorado
Fry’s Marketplace
Fry’s Marketplace – Bakery
Fry’s Marketplace – Starbuck’s
Fry’s Marketplace – Sushi
Honeycutt Coffee
Maricopa Head Start
Penascos Mexican Restaurant
Wal-Mart
Wal-Mart – Bakery
Wal-Mart – Deli
Yogurt Jungle

Satisfactory [Violations corrected during inspection]
Aliberto’s Mexican Food
True Grit Tavern
Helen’s Kitchen
Maricopa High School

Needs Improvement [Critical items noted during inspection cannot be corrected immediately, requiring follow-up inspection]
None

Unacceptable [Gross, unsanitary conditions necessitating the discontinuation of operation]
None


This article appears in the February issue of InMaricopa.

Photo by William Lange

Five Maricopa food establishments received ticks from Pinal County Environmental Health Oct. 16-Nov. 15. Eleven others got clean reports.

At Dairy Queen, a hand-washing sink did not have water hot enough, and frozen raw hamburger was uncovered next to chicken patties, with fries/onion rings strewn about the freezer basket. Freddy’s had M&M candies spilled into moldy lemons, and staff was told to clean storage area to remove old droppings from a previous mouse problem. JB Farmer’s Convenience Store was nicked for having beef and chicken from an unapproved source. The New HQ had items in the cold prep table that were above the allowable temperature of 41 degrees. At Subway, one cold-holding unit was also above 41 degrees.

Excellent [No violations found]
Circle K (21212 N. John Wayne Parkway)
Leading Edge Academy
Li’s Garden
McDonald’s (Maricopa-Casa Grande Highway)
Penascos Mexican Restaurant
QuikTrip
Raceway Bar & Grill
Rob’s Convenience
Shell Food Mart
Sonic Drive-In
Water and Ice

Satisfactory [Violations corrected during inspection]
Dairy Queen
Freddy’s Frozen Custard & Steakburgers
JB Farmer’s Convenience Store
The New HQ
Subway

Needs Improvement [Critical item noted during inspection cannot be corrected immediately, requiring follow-up inspection]
None

Unacceptable [Gross, unsanitary conditions necessitating the discontinuation of operation]
None


This article appears in the December issue of InMaricopa.

Li's Garden has replaced Great Wall Chinese Restaurant.

All but one of the Maricopa eateries examined by inspectors from the Pinal County Health Department between Aug. 15 and Sept. 15 received scores of excellent.

Li’s Garden, newly opened to replace Great Wall Chinese Restaurant, was marked down to “S” for satisfactory for having cooked and raw foods uncovered in the refrigerators and freezer, improper cold holding temperature, unmarked foods in a refrigerator, lack of written procedures for items using time as a control and a prep table that was not working.

Excellent [No violations found]
Aliberto’s Mexican Food
Arby’s Roast Beef Restaurant
Butterfield Elementary School
CAC-Maricopa Café
CAC-Maricopa Culinary
Copa Craze
Crate Enterprises
Helen’s Kitchen
Honeycutt Coffee
Jersey Mike’s Subs
Legacy Traditional School
Maricopa Head Start
Maricopa High School
Maricopa Wells Middle School
McDonald’s, 20700 N. John Wayne Parkway
Saddleback Elementary
Santa Rosa Elementary School
Sequoia Pathway Academy – K-6
Sequoia Pathway Academy – secondary
Starbucks, Maricopa Station
True Grit Tavern
Walgreens
Yogurt Jungle
Zoyo Yogurt

Satisfactory [Violations corrected during inspection]
Li’s Garden

Needs Improvement [Critical item noted during inspection cannot be corrected immediately, requiring follow-up inspection]
None

Unacceptable [Gross, unsanitary conditions necessitating the discontinuation of operations]
None


This article appears in the October issue of InMaricopa.

True Grit Tavern made a quick correction during an inspection. Photo by William Lange

The Pinal County Department of Environmental Health made several inspections of Maricopa food establishments between May 16 and June 15 and found two out of 26 to be short of “excellent” in food safety.

Both Good Donuts and True Grit Tavern made corrections during inspections to receive “satisfactory” marks. Good Donuts was marked down for having items in the hand-washing sink, leaving a frosting mix uncovered, having milk and half-and-half without date markings, unlabeled water spray bottle and bulk bins, and empty boxes and milk crates used as shelving. True Grit received ticks for having a prep table and walk-in refrigerator with food temperatures above 41 degrees.

EXCELLENT [No violations found]
Arby’s
Barro’s Pizza
Carl’s Jr.
Circle K
Copa Craze
Crate Coffee
CVS Pharmacy
Domino’s Pizza
F.O.R. Maricopa
The Green Zone Nutrition
Honeycutt Coffee
Little Caesar’s Pizza
McDonald’s (John Wayne Parkway)
McDonald’s (Maricopa-Casa Grande Highway)
Papa John’s Pizza
Pizza Hut
QuikTrip
QuikTrip – Kitchen
Rob’s Convenience
Shell – Dairy Queen
Starbucks (Maricopa Station)
Subway
Taco Bell
Yogurt Jungle

SATISFACTORY [Violations corrected during inspection]
Good Donuts
True Grit Tavern

NEEDS IMPROVEMENT [Critical item noted during inspection cannot be corrected immediately, requiring follow-up inspection]
None

UNACCEPTABLE [Gross, unsanitary conditions necessitating the discontinuation of operations]
None


This item appeared in the July issue of InMaricopa.