In 15 years, CK’s Tavern & Grill has become a village favorite known for their tasty food offerings, seven-day-a-week happy hour, 35 HDTVs featuring sports and Trivia and live entertainment each weekend.
But there’s more that has kept the restaurant/bar on the receiving end of innumerable and annual Best of Ahwatukee Awards.
It is the family behind it all - from parents “Papa Jim” and Joanne Flaum to their two children, Chad Flaum and Kendra Flaum Pieratt.
Patrons typically are greeted tableside by one or more when they’re in the house.
Even Kendra’s son Gavin, 11, and stepdaughter Campbell, 10, wear welcoming smiles when their mother brings them to lend a hand at CK’s. And her husband Kyle has also been known to pitch in when the place is bustling.
Earlier this month, CK’s marked their 15 years of starting their Ahwatukee business.
To celebrate, the family is inviting the community to join an All-Day 15th anniversary celebration, Saturday, Aug. 10, to help commemorate the milestone.
“We’ll have tons of food and drink specials and just for being a customer, everyone gets a raffle ticket for a chance to win a 50” LG TV or a mini camp grill,” said Kendra.
The 15th Anniversary Celebration day concludes with the Signal 15 Band rocking it beginning at 9:30 p.m. The band has proved a popular draw at CK’s.
It was 2004 when the family purchased the former Bar Nun at 4142 E. Chandler Blvd.
Six months and a covered patio later, CK’s Tavern & Grill was born; the initials stand for the Flaum children Chad and Kendra.
“I call myself the Big C, but Kendra is the important K,” laughed Chad Flaum. “We recruited Kendra out of Intel to be part of the family restaurant project and that, obviously, was a very smart move.”
Chad Flaum, who runs the family’s Old Town Tortilla Factory in historic downtown Scottsdale, continues to work “on the business side of things” with Kendra and his parents at CK’s.
“Our whole family stays involved with CK’s but Kendra is the face of CK’s. I call her the mayor of Ahwatukee,” the proud elder brother proclaimed.
Jim Flaum, now concentrating his energies on ranching near San Tan Valley, said the family as a whole has long been involved in the hospitality industry, and now focus their joint experiences on CK’s Tavern & Grill, and Old Town Tortilla Factory.
“Even before we owned the restaurants, Chad and Kendra were both involved with customer service in restaurant jobs, retail jobs and corporate business, and had their own personal success. We all four have the desire to be the best at what we do and always try to step up the level on food, service and community involvement,” said Flaum who retired from the McDonald’s Corporation in 2000.
“Joanne and I have all the faith in both of them to continue the family reputation and success of our business. I personally feel so confident that I know Chad and Kendra have the standards and vision that I helped set from day one (that) it’s like I’m there all the time,” he continued, adding:
“Kendra and Chad have grown the business successfully and been able to compete in today’s world through their education, business acumen, youth and competing in 2019. We’re both very proud of them.”
Both siblings were involved in food service in college. Chad was a server at Houston’s and P.F. Chang while earning his bachelors and masters degrees in business.
While matriculating at ASU, where she earned a degree in supply chain management from the W.P. Carey School of Business, Kendra was a hostess at El Paso Barbeque Company, advancing to serving and bartending.
“I thought I learned all about restaurants until we purchased Bar Nun/CK’s. It was a big reality check. My family has had experience running two other restaurant concepts. We’ve owned the Old Town Tortilla Factory since 2001, and owned a Teakwood’s location for about six years,” she said.
She calls Ahwatukee “an amazing community”.
“It’s an honor to have made it 15 years in Ahwatukee. It hasn’t been easy dealing with costs, labor, competition and everything else that restaurant owners, well all business owners, have to deal with. Our customers are extraordinary and have made CK’s what it is today,” said Pieratt.
“We never dreamed that we’d have such loyal customers and friends! Customer feedback and recommendations have dictated a lot of the business decisions that we have made and we will continue to make improvements based on them,” she added.
Pieratt said the cornerstone for the past and future success of CK’s is customer service, and continuing to make the restaurant a gathering place for all the community.
“We’ve grown sales by focusing on food and service quality and striving for repeat business,” she said. “Looking forward, we see CK’s still being the neighborhood place for customers to enjoy their favorite sporting event, bring the family for a meal, listen to their favorite band, enjoy Happy Hour or daily food and drink specials.”
“We’re always looking to meet new people who like the ‘Cheers’ feeling of CK’s,” she smiled. “I like to say there are no strangers at CK’s, only friends we haven’t met yet.”
Among the many Best of Ahwatukee awards received by CK’s, the Best Place to Watch the Game has been an annual one. The tavern/grill was also voted Business of the Year in 2014 and 2018. It’s also won Best Happy Hour, Best Sports Bar in Ahwatukee, Best Wings, Best Burger and Best Restaurant.
CK’s Tavern & Grill’s owners also are well-appreciated for their community support – both those known about, and countless other quieter donations.
“We focus on giving back to the community whenever we can, including participating in school dinner nights, hosting an Angel Wish tree over the holidays for more than 100 children, hosting Charity Golf tournaments, advertising in high school sports programs, holding private fundraisers, and consistently donating gift cards to other events and fundraisers,” said Pieratt.
The family is also quick to praise their staff, several of whom are long-term employees – including CK’s Chef Reynaldo Gomez who has been with them the entire 15 years.
“We are one big family; we take care of each other even though at times we may fight like a family,” laughed Pieratt. “I truly love my staff and I hope they know that.”
“I consider we are lucky owners to have such a talented group of managers, kitchen staff and front-of-the-house employees,” said Chad Flaum. “I truly believe that’s been the key to our 15-year success in Tukee.”
August is a special anniversary for Pieratt for yet another reason.
“August 7 will be one year since by double mastectomy,” she stated.
“It’s been a long road, but a lucky road. I’m feeling healthy and strong and have new found passion for supporting the Breast Cancer Research Foundation,” she continued, adding:
“The FIGHT shirts we made last year were a huge success along with our most recent golf tournament supporting the cause. I just love seeing people out in Ahwatukee wearing the CK’s FIGHT shirts!”
The shirts sold by CK’s for last October’s Breast Cancer Awareness Month – artistically designed in back, white and pink with the CK’s logo in pink on a field of stars with the boldly printed word “FIGHT” – are still sold at the restaurant.
As with the first, net proceeds from this second printing benefit the Breast Cancer Research Fund.