After three and a half years running their Mediterranean restaurant, Cedar 65, in Colorado, Sandy and Larry Shore moved back to Arizona to be closer to family.
But instead of retiring and enjoying the fruits of their labor, the Shores are bringing Cedar 65 across state lines, renaming the restaurant Twist Bistro and Gallery.
Twist is slated to open mid-March at The Summit at Scottsdale in northern Scottsdale.
“I wouldn’t know what to do with myself if I wasn’t cooking,” Larry said.
Located off North Scottsdale Road at Asher Hills Drive, Twist will open in the 1,976-square-foot space formerly home to The Bourbon Cellar steakhouse and Teatro Pizzeria.
Twist Bistro and Gallery will offer Mediterranean cuisine – much like Cedar 65 – but with a modern American bistro twist.
“People can enjoy these unique and big aromatic flavors and do it in a contemporary way. It’s more exciting and more fun and more innovative,” said Larry, who has been a chef for more than 30 years and spent a better part of his career cooking Mediterranean cuisine.
Described as “chef-driven,” “scratch-made,” and “using local ingredients whenever possible,” Twist’s menu has a wide variety of tapas, soups and salads, sandwiches, and grilled flatbread pizzas, as well as a crostini board.
The menu also boasts unique dishes, like the lamb belly bacon gyro with homemade thick-cut lamb bacon, tomato, minted cucumber, hummus, lettuce, feta cheese, and garlic yogurt sauce piled onto homemade flatbread.
The dish is described by Larry as a gyro-BLT crossover.
“We’re also taking it the concept of chicken and dumplings but completely reinventing it. I’m telling the servers, ‘Make sure the customer knows this is not a pot of stew with dumplings and shredded chicken.’ It’s not trying to be,” Larry said.
Twist’s chicken and dumplings dish has roast chicken breast, house-made gnocchi, white wine goat cheese sauce, blackberry mostarda and braised greens.
“It is chicken and dumplings, technically, but it’s very twisted and very different from what anybody would think of chicken and dumplings,” Larry said.
Twist will also offer rotating farm-to-table salads featuring local seasonal vegetables and chef-inspired vinaigrettes and accompaniments.
“We [will] constantly bring in the most seasonal, high-quality produce from the local guys that we can,” Larry said.
Dishes range in price from $6 for the imported olives tapas to $30 for the filet mignon Provençal entree.
“We’re bridging the gap between a high-end approach toward food and creation, but still a cozy, comfortable, affordable place,” Larry said.
The concept of Twist is similar to Cedar 65; both were inspired by Larry’s past experience working under Michelin 4-Star Executive Chef Serge Backes at Serge Provencal Cuisine.
“The one thing about the Mediterranean, so many dishes are very similar from country to country. There’s a couple of ingredients here or there that change, but they’re very, very similar,” Larry said, adding, “I always wanted to open a version of what Serge did, but I wanted to do it in a much more approachable way.”
When Backes promoted Larry, he handed him eight books about Mediterranean cuisine and said, “If you can do this cuisine, you can be the next executive chef.”
“I ran home and dove deep into all the books I could on the Mediterranean,” Larry said. “I really loved the culture and the history of how the food marches across the world.”
In addition to local purveyors, Twist will also showcase and sell local art.
Artwork is rotated every three months with submissions accepted following a specific theme.
The gallery’s first theme is “New Beginnings,” and Sandy said they plan to feature anywhere from 15 to 20 artists.
“At Cedar 65, we sold over 170 pieces in three and a half years,” Sandy said.
Artists who would like to submit artwork can email Sandy at email@example.com. They’re accepting submissions through March 1.
What separates Twist’s in-restaurant gallery from others, Larry said, is Sandy’s background as an art gallery curator.
“She knows very well to hang paintings like a gallery does to complement the colors and the layout so they don’t get confusing. A lot of restaurants just kind of end up with a hodgepodge of paintings,” Larry said.
“We’re also putting up a gallery lights to allow the paintings to glow and show up a little better. It does make a difference in the flow of what you’re looking at on the wall,” he added.
Sandy is a graphic designer and artist who works in acrylic, watercolor, and marquetry.
She is also a juried member of the Sonoran Artists League and the Scottsdale Artists League; and she’s had her work on display in several Arizona galleries.
“I’m always painting, and I’ve got all these pieces I’m wanting to put a piece up in the restaurant,” Sandy said.
Sandy describes the Twist environment as “warm and inviting.”
“The wall just explodes with color into the room. Having the whole length of the dining room wall loaded with art really gives you this beautiful kind of visual; and the rest of the surroundings will be really natural, earthy and warm,” Larry added.
They also describe Twist as “romantic and intimate.”
“We’re trying to be the kind of restaurant where you take your wife for a date, or you go out to meet somebody,” Larry said. “We envision people coming in for happy hour and sharing small plates, sharing a flatbread pizza, having a couple of cocktails.”
Larry calls Twist’s happy hour is an impressive one, offering 25 percent off the entire menu — wine, beer and cocktails included.
“It’s probably the best happy hour I’ve ever heard of,” Larry said.
They will also host brunch Saturdays and Sundays from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.