After a four-month delay, James Beard Award-winning chef Alex Stratta’s new Mediterranean restaurant will finally open its doors in August.
Located in the McCormick Ranch area and originally slated to open mid-April, Stratta Kitchen serves the Michelin-starred chef’s approachable twist on flavorful Mediterranean fare.
In addition to having a renowned chef at the helm, what sets Stratta Kitchen apart from other Mediterranean restaurants are three things:
“We’re accessible, we’re healthy, and we’re fast,” Stratta said.
Opening Aug. 3, Stratta Lifestyle Kitchen is described as a “fast-casual healthy whole food dining” spot with a vibrant menu boasting natural and fresh ingredients.
Stratta Kitchen’s menu boasts dairy-free, gluten-free and vegetarian options.
Broken down into four sections – To Share or Not to Share, Greens, Grains, and the Goods – the customizable menu allows guests to mix and match the proteins and sauces in their grain- or greens-based dishes to best fit their diet and preferred tastes.
“The Mediterranean approach to cooking is sunny, inherently healthy, light and full of flavor focusing on fresh, seasonal and optimum quality ingredients,” Stratta explained.
For example, starters include vegetable and potato frittata, whipped ricotta cheese and walnut romesco, and baked artichoke, spinach and goat cheese dip.
Other signature dishes include mistral with Moroccan-spiced eggplant, Tuscan kale, Turkish apricots, Marcona almonds, spicy chickpeas and pickled red onion; and the Cali Coast featuring toasted quinoa, rainbow cauliflower, avocado, and medjool dates; among others.
The menu very much so reflects the very diet Stratta follows — one that helped him not only lose more than 100 pounds but also overcome colon cancer.
“I feel better than I ever have at 55 years old. I feel healthier than when I was 35,” Stratta said. “I take care of myself, and I think a lot of people my generation are looking for that.”
Considered his most personal feat to date, Stratta isn’t nervous one bit to open Stratta Kitchen amid a pandemic.
“Maybe I’m delusional,” he said with a laugh, “but I’m super excited. I’m hopeful.”
Since conception, Stratta Kitchen has embraced a concept that’s currently thriving amid the COVID-19 crisis: to-go meals.
“I wouldn’t say I had a crystal ball or anything,” Stratta said, “but I was planning on this being substantially to-go – this new normal where you see a lot of people doing Uber Eats and Grubhub. So, I said, ‘Let’s design a restaurant that caters to that.’”
The restaurant – which is two-thirds kitchen and one-third dining room – boasts a counter-service atmosphere within a vibrant, art-filled space.
Most dishes are priced at less than $12.
While Stratta didn’t have to make any major adjustments to the restaurant in response to the pandemic – though, he wishes he had the forethought of adding a drive-up window – he is faced with one major challenge: marketing.
“That’s been a big question: How are you going to get exposure? Our business is going to be determined on how we get in front of people,” Stratta explained.
Third-party delivery apps, like Postmates and the aforementioned Uber Eats and Grubhub, are one effective way for restaurants to gain exposure – but at a cost.
As the middleman, the apps “usually take about 27 percent,” Stratta said. “You’re lucky to make a little bit of money.”
“It looks good and it keeps people employed, but the business itself is just dishing out the money to these third parties,” he continued.
In the end, though, Stratta can’t wait to introduce his healthy, fast, well-priced Mediterranean concept to the Scottsdale area.
So is Stratta’s partner Genuine Concepts, the neighborhood-focused restaurant group behind the Vig, the Little Woody, the Womack, Ladera Taverna y Cocina, and the McMillan.
“We’re beyond excited and proud to work with a world-class chef, like Alex Stratta, and Stratta Kitchen is the perfect fit for our family of hyper-local, community-driven restaurants and bars,” said Genuine Concepts Co-Founder Tucker Woodbury.
“We’re getting great feedback from the people that are either peering in the window or calling me or texting me or [messaging me] on Instagram,” Stratta added, saying his new restaurant “couldn’t be more relevant.”
Located near Hayden Road and Via de Ventura, Stratta Kitchen replaces the Melting Pot’s Scottsdale location, which closed after 22 years last September.
Starting Aug. 3, Stratta Kitchen will be open daily for lunch and dinner, available for dine-in, takeout or delivery via convenient online ordering.
8260 N. Hayden Road