Local Business Spotlight: Casual Dining

We at Pinal NOW! love our local businesses. They are our friends and the backbone of our community.

Our Business Spotlight sections will cover a different sector of our growing economy each month, highlighting the diversity of services they offer. These are businesses we know and trust to give all customers the VIP treatment, no matter who they are or who they know.

For April, we are celebrating our restaurateurs, who pour their hearts and creativity into stellar dishes for a hungry, adventurous community. Food is such a personal, yet universal, experience that they are the local businesses many of us are most attached to.

Their eateries set the tone and are the gathering spaces for our community, whether we’re out for a special occasion or a quick bite to eat. They have pivoted to providing more takeout and delivery options so they can continue to serve us in times when we aren’t able to eat out as much as we want.

Pinal County’s local restaurants, many of which serve locally sourced food, are some of the most accessible local businesses we have and offer amazing cuisine and customer service, so visit or carry out from one of them today!

Culvers – Casa Grande

Sometimes, you just have to trust in God for the details, that’s what Joe Wood, owner of Culver’s, says he did when he moved to Arizona with his wife Jaime in 2011. Originally from Wisconsin, Wood was unemployed when he applied to the Culver’s in Casa Grande but after years of dedication, non-stop effort, the Wood family purchased the franchise in 2019. Wood says he couldn’t have done it without his wife’s support.

“As a team, our hard work and sacrifice has allowed us to do the unimaginable,” Wood says.

When it comes to the restaurant, Wood says Culver’s fresh, frozen custard is still one of their most popular items, made on site throughout the day. Of course, also known for their burgers, Wood highly recommends the Bacon Double Deluxe or Double Mushroom & Swiss with cheese curds.

“Our team works to give every guest the very best experience,” says Wood. “From greeting our guests with a warm smile, to preparing a fresh, made-to-order meal or dessert, their commitment to quality shines through and makes us just a little different.”

2453 E. Florence Blvd,
Casa Grande, AZ 85194
(520) 426-4225
www.culvers.com/restaurants/casa-grande

Cook-E-Jar Bakery & Café

Located in the heart of historic downtown Casa Grande, the Cook-E-Jar Bakery and Café has been a multi-generational affair for the community since 1988. Owner Mary Ann Versluis says she has been baking since she was a kid using a Betty Crocker Cookie cookbook as her guide. Versluis since has added and tweaked recipes to make the shop successful over the years.

Not just a bakery though, the Cook-E-Jar is also a sit down diner, serving food from scratch: breakfast, Mexican food, burgers, homemade soups, and even salads!

While much is changing in the world, Versluis says the vibe is very much family-oriented and has a community feel.

“We still have great customers from all over and from all ages,” says Versluis, “We are just a super friendly place to go. You definitely can come in alone and make friends!”

100 W. 2nd St.
Casa Grande, AZ 85122
(520) 836-9294
www.cook-e-jar.com/

Honeycutt Coffee and Wine Bar

Tanya Powers is the fourth owner of Honeycutt Coffee since it was established a decade ago. Independent coffee shops have a tough time competing with the drive-thru franchises, but Powers believed with her experience, she could not only make you a great cup of coffee, she could create a place the entire community could enjoy. What she didn’t bank on for the first two years was major roadway construction in front of the shop limiting access, followed by a worldwide pandemic that nearly wiped her out!

Powers persevered, pushing specials, creating a food menu, and obtaining an alcohol license. The work has paid off as Honeycutt Coffee has also become a wine bar. It’s a popular spot for your morning caffeine fix and an after-work place to relax on the secret back patio. As springtime hits, more events are planned with trivia on Friday nights, monthly vendor showcases, and even Saturday night dancing!

44400 Honeycutt Rd. #109,
Maricopa, AZ 85138
(520) 510-4468
www.honeycuttcoffeecafe.com/

SVGK Food Truck

As a kid growing up in Vietnam, Miller Dao became curious about cooking by watching his mom. Every day, she made unforgettable seafood dishes and other traditional recipes. Not only did she pass on recipes to her son, but a sense of respect for the cooking and for those eating it.

AKA “that yellow food truck,” SGVK (Street Vibes Gourmet Kitchen) has attracted a cult-like following for its Vietnamese-Mexican infused menu. Traditional pho and ramen sell it out quickly when Dao makes it, so be quick with your order.

You can usually find him in Maricopa on Wednesday and Friday at the Walmart parking lot. On Thursdays, Dao rolls to Arizona City and parks at the Tumbleweed Plaza from 5pm-8pm. Saturdays he leaves open as the wild card spot—you’ll have to follow SVGK on Facebook to see if he is rolling to a neighborhood near you.

44515 W. Edison Rd.
Maricopa, AZ 85138
(520) 483-4007
www.facebook.com/StreetVibesGourmetKitchen/

A Latte Vino

Diann Prechel is a true native of Pinal County, born in Florence, raised in Coolidge and living on the outskirts of Casa Grande. Owner of A Latte Vino, she brought to life a concept that had been missing from the region—an upscale coffee house during the day and a cozy wine bistro in the evening.

“Rustic elegance” is what Prechel refers to it as. It’s a place you can go to in your work boots or get dressed up for date night.

Baked brie, pot pie, lasagna, short rib roast, and corned beef Reubens are some of the specialties Prechel says one should try first. To enjoy with the meal, A Latte Vino carries an extensive wine list and 12 beers on draft.

On the weekends, A Latte Vino has live music and the “Champagne Room” is available for private parties. Follow all the upcoming events on their Facebook page!

958 E. Rodeo Drive
Casa Grande, AZ 85122
(520) 788-6677
www.alattevino.com

Pita Patio Grill

Originally from Greektown in Toronto, owner Nick Tsalikis has created a restaurant that not only serves authentic food, but a place for local entertainment with a family-friendly atmosphere.

Now is the best time of year to be outside, and the patio is the spot to be! Enjoy your meal with live music Friday and Saturday nights. Karaoke fans can come out on Thursday night and show off their crooning skills or just for fun.

The restaurant has made a big splash since opening in Coolidge just over a year ago. Previously, Tsalikis owned the Greek Islands Grill in San Tan Valley for 11 years.

If you’re looking to try it for the first time, Tsalikis says, “Everything is great!”

The most popular menu items are the pita sandwiches, Philly cheesesteaks, and their hamburgers. And if you are just thirsty, the outdoor bar will have something for you.

235 W. Coolidge Ave
Coolidge, AZ 85128
(520) 635-5576
www.facebook.com/coolidgerocks/