Delicious and Dark Delights at Raven Gastropub
Writer Shoshana Leon
Photography by Sydney Nicole Photography
Brian Vogel has been working in restaurants since he was 18 years old. He was planning to take a break from the restaurant industry to travel when an amazing opportunity helped him fulfill a lifelong dream.
“I had just left my job and was excited to have time off to travel with my wife when I saw an available space in the La Mirada shopping center in North Scottsdale,” Vogel recalls. “I knew the space would be perfect for a restaurant, and we opened three and a half months later.”
Vogel and his wife Adele Donovan purchased the rights to the space from the owners of Lamp Pizzeria, now their neighbors at La Mirada.
“I always wanted to open my own restaurant and this was the first place I looked at,” Vogel says. “The owners of Lamp made the process easy. They have been really helpful and we’ve built a great relationship with them and many of the other businesses at La Mirada.”
Raven Gastropub opened in July 2018. Vogel means bird in German which is where the restaurant’s name comes from.
“I’ve always liked that ravens are dark and mysterious,” Vogel explains. “This dark elegance influences the restaurant’s food, drinks and décor.”
Vogel has learned the business in a variety of roles in restaurants in Wisconsin, Minnesota and Chicago, including working as a cook, server, bartender and manager. To complement his extensive restaurant experience, Vogel has a lifelong passion for cooking inspired by his mother.
Vogel met Donovan when they were both working at Rock Bottom Brewery in Chicago, and they married in 2003. The couple moved to Scottsdale in 2014, leaving the frigid Midwest winters behind to be close to family. Vogel worked at the IPIC Theaters at Scottsdale Quarter as senior general manager before opening Raven Gastropub.
More than a year after opening the restaurant, Vogel and Donovan are living in Cave Creek and running Raven Gastropub together. He cooks and runs the kitchen, and she manages operations and social media. Owning a restaurant is a new experience for Vogel who has always worked in a corporate environment.
“We learned a lot the first year, getting to know the clientele, creating the menu and developing recipes with our staff,” he notes. “I’m enjoying the opportunity to be creative and collaborative.”
Vogel and Donovan have developed a culture of family at Raven Gastropub.
“Our business is about people,” Vogel says. “Guests and staff like the family atmosphere. We talk to our guests and listen to their suggestions. That is very important to me.”
The quality of the food is also very important to Vogel and he uses the freshest ingredients and local suppliers whenever possible including Capistrano’s Bakery, The City Creamery and Roastery of Cave Creek.
Vogel wants to ensure that the restaurant’s menu has options to fit a variety of tastes and preferences.
“We want to have something for everyone and make sure everything is as fresh as possible,” he says. “We roast our meats in-house, which allows us to control the quality.”
Burgers and sandwiches are the most popular items on Raven Gastropub’s menu. One of the top sellers is the Raven Burger, charbroiled Certified Angus Beef topped with a house-made bourbon glaze, crumbled blue cheese, fried pickles, candied bacon and crispy fried onions. Guests also rave about the Reuben.
Vegetarian menu items include a house-made veggie burger, a roasted vegetable pita with kale, squash, cremini mushrooms and hummus, and a variety of fresh salads including quinoa and kale salad, and spinach and pear salad.
Raven Gastropub’s most popular entrée is beer-battered fish and chips served with blue cheese bacon apple slaw. The most popular appetizer is the blackened fish tacos with roasted corn salsa.
Signature cocktails include the refreshing Black Raven, featuring cherry vodka and lemonade with activated charcoal which gives the drink a mysterious look and is known to have detoxifying benefits. The Nevermore combines blueberry vodka, elderflower liquor and muddled mint garnished with blueberry boba pearls. Raven Gastropub’s slushed brandy recipe comes from Vogel’s mother.
The restaurant also offers a selection of beer, wine and champagne.
Vogel is excited about the future of Raven Gastropub and looks forward to getting more involved in the community.
“As we continue to grow, we want to participate in local events and build partnerships,” he says. “We are thrilled to be a part of this community.”
Raven Gastropub is open daily from 11 a.m. until 9 p.m. Happy hour is Monday through Saturday from 2 until 7 p.m. and all day Sunday with discounted pricing on alcoholic beverages and appetizers.
8900 E. Pinnacle Peak Road, Scottsdale