Beginner’s Luck: A New Ingredient-Driven Restaurant in Old Town Scottsdale

Bernie Kantak, the chef and owner of The Gladly and Citizen Public House, has partnered with Andrew Fritz to open Beginner’s Luck, an ingredient-driven comfort food spot in the heart of Scottsdale.

Beginners Luck is James Beard semifinalist Kantak’s take on a more casual concept, creating a new dining experience from his other two restaurants. This concept is the only one of the three that serves breakfast, lunch and dinner. Located in Main Street’s Frontier Town in Old Town Scottsdale, Beginners Luck opened on February 15. We recently visited Beginners Luck for brunch, and the menu did not disappoint.

“A lot of the stuff on the menu pays homage to friends, family,” says Kantak. Some dishes hold significant meaning and memory, creating a one-of-a-kind experience for guests. The craft menu mixed with the homage sets the scene for a unique concept that you don’t come across every day. 

“When I was little, we would go out for breakfast every Thanksgiving day. My uncle was an early riser and so was I, so when everyone was sleeping we’d go out for breakfast. One morning he was like, ‘Let’s make French toast for everyone!’” Kantak shared when asked about the My Rich Uncle’s French Toast dish. 

“So we went to the store and got a bunch of stuff to make french toast, he taught me how to make it, I was like, 5 years old. Every time I make French toast, I think of him.”

My Rich Uncle’s French Toast includes a coconut-pecan streusel, salted butterscotch syrup and stiffened cream, allowing guests to indulge in their wildest French toast dreams. The toast itself is a thick loaf, making it a perfect shared plate for your Sunday brunch. 

Another stand-out dish is the Lucky 7 Cereal Bowl, inspired by someone at a Sedona resort who gives Kantak the “best hugs ever.” Kantak shared that he partakes in retreats to center himself and meditate in Sedona. One particular place he enjoys visiting is like a little resort, offering guests breakfast, lunch and dinner. 

“For breakfast, they always have chia pudding and everyone goes bananas for it and whenever we would have it we’d have it with oatmeal,” says Kantak. “There’s this one guy at this resort who gives the best hugs ever. You know when some people hug you and it is just the best?”  

The pastries made by Chef Benjamin Graham were a delightful surprise of sweet, savory and a hint of spicy. The Mesquite Date Nut Bread paired beautifully with the cream cheese, making it a lovely addition to the Sweet Kolache, a breaded pastry with raspberry filling in the center. A must-try for all guests is the Monster Kolache, the pork-stuffed jalapeno bread that is the ideal appetizer for any meal.  

The Eggplant Shakshouka was a favorite at our table and a new dish that many of us had not tried before. The flavorful tomato and eggplant topped with the savory chermoula and farmers’ cheese perfectly complemented the fried egg when served on the Levain toast. 

If you’re looking for a more traditional option, try the Sausage, Egg & Cheese Sandwich or the Good ‘Ol Bacon & Eggs Plate for a contemporary spin on your at-home breakfast. The Avocado Toast was a refreshing plate, a perfect pair for their famous Original Chopped Salad. Whether you’re dining at The Gladly, Citizen Public House or Beginners Luck, The Original Chopped Salad is a must for all guests. 

The beautiful salad plating, with each ingredient perfectly aligned next to each other, makes this dish all the better. Mix up your bowl and get the perfect bite with the smoked salmon, couscous, arugula and more in one forkful. 

Take a mental trip to New England when you try a bite of the Crab & Shrimp Roll. Experience the butter-toasted bun stuffed with perfectly seasoned fish right here in the Valley.  Other dishes that are highly recommended and loved are the Lucky Burger and either of the 12-Hour Niman Ranch Port plates. 

With an expansive and inclusive brunch menu, and an impressive dinner selection, this new hot spot also serves rich coffee and a range of creative cocktails. 

For more information on Beginners Luck and to view the menu, visit here.

Photos courtesy Beginner’s Luck

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