Owners Steven Rosenthal and Björn Kock have Arboleda, a  Mediterranean inspired restaurant located in the Scottsdale Quarter. (David Minton/Progress Staff Photographer) 

Restaurateur Björn Kock had always wanted to own a restaurant in the Grand Canyon State, particularly in the “West’s Most Western Town.” 

However, it wasn’t until half a decade ago that the San Francisco restaurateur got serious about expanding into the desert. 

“We really started focusing on Scottsdale about five years ago as an expansion to the restaurants that we already operate in San Francisco,” Kock recalled. 

However, it wasn’t until 2020 that he began cooking up a plan to venture into Scottsdale and another three years before he and brothers Mitchell and Steven Rosenthal would open the latest concept “Arboleda,” an upscale Mediterranean concept that derives its name from the Spanish word for “grove of trees.”

“We really looked everywhere and that took us a while,” Kock said. 

He also felt that he had to comfortably understand the dining scene in a city that spans 31 miles and shares boundaries with other cities and communities. 

“Coming from a city like San Francisco that is more dense, compact and easy to understand, to a place like Scottsdale where it's very big, we wanted to understand where different locations are (that we looked at), what they signify and who the target audiences in all of those different areas are,” Kock said. “That took us a little while to navigate and for us to feel comfortable with.”

It wasn’t until Kock discovered a complex that offered that same walkable landscape and compact feeling he felt in San Francisco that he felt ready to pursue the Scottsdale market. 

“Coming from San Francisco which has all the historic buildings that have housed all the restaurants that we operated, it was really refreshing for us to see the Scottsdale Quarter because it has a really unique character because it has that living and working environment with that urban character,” Kock said.

“And you have you really have traffic here – not just traffic from tourists or people just wanting to go in and quickly shopping spree. 

“You have that perfect combination of people that are working in the quarter in its office spaces around us, plus all of the residential that we have here. So, it made it a really attractive location for us.” 

The cherry on top was when he discovered the former home of Kona Grill located on the northeast corner of the mixed-use complex, which offered a skeleton for him to decorate and transform into a space he felt could provide the experience he wanted to offer. 

“We wanted the space to have that organic feel and sense of space; playful but beautifully refined,” Kock said. “We want people to be engrossed in the whole experience, not just what is on their plate.”

Because of this, he partnered with designer Mark Zeff, who gave the space an open feel by adding sliding glass doors to provide an entrance and a barrier between the outside patio and the indoor seating.

The furniture arrangement ensures that each table had a distinct feel.

And Zeff knocked down the wall behind the bar, added glass windows for more natural light and planted a 14-foot tall olive tree as the centerpiece of the space. 

With the space uniquely decorated came the easy part for Kock: crafting a menu that would work for any occasion. 

“The menu itself really gives people a range of things to choose to do and how to utilize the space and how to utilize the menu,” Kock said.

“You can come in here with a loose gathering of friends and enjoy a bunch of small plates and tacos, some cocktails and maybe a jug of sangria and make that an event or you could have a traditional meal with family or friends. 

“It could definitely be a date night or a special occasion place but we want to be serving everybody and that includes corporate lunches and corporate dinners. There's great versatility that we can utilize in this space.” 

Arboleda also offers a selection of specialty dishes like gambas pil pil – a garlic and chili shrimp dish – and pluma – a specialty cut of pork that Kock calls the “wagyu of pork.”

The priciest item on the menu is a 32 oz. 28-day aged rib-eye nicknamed “el Jorge.” Priced at $195, it serves two.

Of course, diners still need something to wash it all down, which is why Arboleda offers a selection of wines from the Mediterranean coast as well as vineyards from California that Kock believes “offers a good range of selections for different palates.”

Arboleda opened in Scottsdale Quarter April 4 and Kock plans to maintain this as its only location worldwide. 

Arboleda is located at 15345 N Scottsdale Road



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