New grill brings beaches to Foothills - Ahwatukee Foothills News: Arts & Life

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New grill brings beaches to Foothills

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Posted: Thursday, September 17, 2009 11:00 pm

While the desert climate of Arizona is pleasant most months out of the year some people would agree that it could be even better with a few beaches nearby, and with the opening of the new Sandbar Mexican Grill sandy beaches will be just over Interstate 10 from Ahwatukee Foothills.

Sandbar Mexican Grill, which opened on Thursday, Sept. 17, features a sand-lined patio with outdoor cabanas and colorful Mexican-style décor. There are two other Sandbar locations, one in Scottsdale and the other in Peoria.

General Manager Bill Hovey, who managed the Z’Tejas directly across the street from Sandbar for almost 10 years, believes the new location is ideal.

“The location is phenomenal, and after being in this area for so many years, I know that Ahwatukee is ready for this,” Hovey said. “We have a couple of good sports bars in town, but this is different.”

Sandbar will feature Mexican food, tropical drinks and beer, but another draw will likely be its 36 flat-screen TVs. On weekends during football season Sandbar will open at 9 a.m. for a Bloody Mary bar with Skyy Vodka.

Hovey is also confident that people will enjoy the food offered at Sandbar. The executive chef is from Germany and the sous-chef is Hispanic, which according to Hovey has already made for great creativity and flair in Sandbar’s menu.

“We have a scratch concept kitchen, so everything is made from scratch,” Hovey said. “We’ll be making traditional Mexican dishes with a different spin.”

People of all ages are welcome to Sandbar, although when the kitchen stops serving food everyone under 21 will have to leave.

“We’re kid friendly, and it’s going to be a draw for the entire community,” Hovey said. “I’m in my 50’s and a lot of the patrons around here aren’t that age, but everyone will want to be here.”

Hovey believes that Sandbar will succeed despite the economy and resulting slow restaurant business in general. One hundred new employees were hired to open Sandbar.

“You feel like you’re on vacation the second you step through the doors,” he said. “People want to get away and relax, and when you get off of work you’re going to want to take your tie off and walk in with flip-flops on.”

According to Hovey, an evening at Sandbar will even offer picturesque views.

“The patio alone is elevated 4 feet off the ground, and the cabanas are another 3 feet,” he said. “We have a great view of the mountains and it’s a place to be seen and to do people watching.”

Open daily, Sandbar Mexican Grill is located at 7200 W. Ray Road. For more information, call (480) 961-1700 or visit


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