Writer Amanda Christmann
Photos by Brandon Tigertt

[dropcap]I[/dropcap]f you’ve been looking for something that stands out among the long list of Valley culinary choices, you may just find your newest favorite in The Bourbon Cellar.

Stepping through the doors of The Bourbon Cellar, located in an unassuming corner of The Summit shopping center at 32409 N. Scottsdale Rd. in Scottsdale, diners are transported to the upscale galley-style neighborhood taverns of Chicago or Boston—only with a decidedly Arizona air.

Warmly masculine with deep tones, brick walls and a honey-gold oak bar that boasts, among other spirits, over 250 labels of the finest American whiskeys, the ambiance is welcoming. Yet it’s the farm-to-table selections that keep locals and visitors coming back for more.

Diners expecting lesser-quality, pre-packaged and frozen chain restaurant food are sure to be pleasantly surprised by the vivid flavors and textures of a locavore approach of this formal-as-you’d-like eatery.

Owner/Chef Doug Smith does not use vendors; he prefers to source his ingredients directly. It’s a strategy that may cost more, but he is not willing to settle for less than the best.

“There is no fresher product than that,” he explained.

From lump blue crab and artichoke dip with chunks of mouthwatering crab fresh from the Atlantic coast, to hand-selected, in-house-ground fillet burgers with lusciously juicy natural flavors, to its revered US prime-cut, dry-aged, bone-in cowboy ribeyes and more, The Bourbon Cellar has something special to savor, no matter your predilection.

Seafood is flown in fresh from the nets every other day, and every piece beef, pork, bison, elk and venison is sliced, diced and chopped to order by Chef Doug. Every vegetable is sourced fresh and locally. Seasonal desserts are never a disappointment, and neither are the great selection of signature dishes and sides.

For Chef Doug, food is an expression of creativity, skill and hospitality. It is nearly an obsession.

“This is like my big house,” he says, “Just like when you have friends over for dinner, you make sure your house is all cleaned up and you prepare really cool food—that’s what I do every day.”

“What we do here—the food is absolutely amazing,” he said. “I’m not saying that because I’m the chef and owner, but because I take so much time and have so much pride in what we’re doing.”

The proof is in the pudding, or in this case, the pulled pork—and the rest of the delectable menu.

Most recently, Chef Doug opened the restaurant for lunch, making his gourmet burgers and sandwiches, soups and salads available seven days a week, beginning at 11 a.m.

The word is beginning to spread about this best-kept secret in Scottsdale.

“All it takes is one time,” Chef Doug grins. “Once they’ve eaten here one time, customers tell me it’s tough to go out to eat somewhere else.”


The Bourbon Cellar

Sunday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Friday and Saturday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.

32409 N. Scottsdale Rd.