Local Fave:  FEZ

District: Midtown

Owners:  Tom Jetland, Mark Howard, and Mark Dillon

Opened:   2006

What Is It?:  FEZ delivers on its straightforward “food, drinks, music” mantra. This midtown destination is open seven days a week with happy hour every day, daily drink and food specials, a weekend brunch, a late night menu, First Friday celebrations, and much more.  They also offer specials for big parties (seven or more), including those of you on your way to a concert or special event, and a free appetizer for the table.  With so much going on, you’ve got to visit their website for the most current specials and activities.  No wonder they have received a laundry list of local awards since opening.

A Pleasant Surprise:  Sometimes, when a concept is too busy, the basic components of a solid restaurant suffer. At FEZ this is definitely not the case. The restaurant and bar are kept very clean, which spotlights the sleek, urban décor; guests are greeted with a friendly smile followed by great service; and, even with the variety of specials offered, the serving staff take time to make sure everyone understands what they need to know to make a delicious decision.

The Eats:  From Iowa, Executive Chef Nathan Arguello has perfected the chic bar food scene. Staple items on their menu are the burgers, fries, flatbreads, and finger food appetizers.  But read closely, this isn’t your typical pub fare.  The bleu cheese and balsamic burger has all the right elements, including ciabatta bread, a sweet balsamic glaze, fresh and tangy Danish bleu cheese, crunchy red onion with soft spinach, and a house made aioli.  What’s better with a burger than some spicy harissa, or garlic and rosemary fries?  Another bleu cheese dark horse is the casa azul wedge salad.  If you love a good wedge salad, the Fez version is the best downtown has to offer.  Basic components of bleu cheese, red onion and tomatoes sing when they are drizzled in the bleu champagne vinaigrette (try not to drink the dressing). Brunch won’t disappoint either.  The FEZ Benedict is elevated with French bread, manchego cheese, oven-dried tomatoes, and ham, covered in delicious hollandaise sauce.

The Drinks:  Fez has a breathtaking range of spirits available for all tastes, including rocks specialty drinks, specialty martinis, an array of delicious flavored margaritas, and a strong list of wines and beers.  One drink that owner Mark Howard is especially proud of is the g-spot.  Fresh muddled grapefruit and grapefruit juice accompanies ruby red grapefruit vodka and is balanced with soda water and a splash of sweet pomegranate juice.  The g-spot is a refreshing way to enhance your brunch or liven up your late night munchies.

What They Say:  “It was my first time in and I noticed right away the cool vibe to the place.  Definitely some of the best Benedict I’ve ever had!  I will absolutely go back to try a burger next time,” says first-time diner Rebecca Moreno.

Report:  This downtown hot spot has got it all.  FEZ has a fun atmosphere, good staff, and great food.  It’s a wonderful spot in busy central Phoenix for any urbanite to enjoy.