I knew when I walked into this brand new restaurant I was in for a unique experience from the creative way it was decorated. Co-owners Frank and Candy Yaconis, Nicholas Schaus and Bethanne Crawford, who purchased the Casavino Winery in Fountain Hills last August, carried the wine theme into their new restaurant: Twisted Rose Winery & Eatery.
When you enter, next to the hostess stand there is a wall of wine, a wine cellar and a bar that stretches across large wine barrels. The wonderfully decorated atmosphere was created by Candy Yaconis. It’s spacious, with three dining areas, the bar with a large flat-screen TV, the dining room and the outdoor patio.
Frank Yaconis, who has been successful in the auto industry most of his life, also opened Discover Autos Online, right next door.
“We are a used car dealership by day but on weekends the space is transformed into a social venue, Bella Rosa Event Center,” says Yaconis. This is a wonderful large space where dreams come true for weddings and social functions, all catered by Twisted Rose.
Executive Chef Nicholas Schaus, a graduate of Arizona Culinary Institute, loves to cook. A former carpenter who created the fantastic wine barrel bar, Schaus likes taking traditional dishes and putting his own creative twist to it. I must admit his little “twist” makes it even better, as everything is made with wine.
“I am always experimenting,” says Chef Nicholas, “so look for new things to appear weekly on the menu.”
Wonderful Selection of Twisted Food
I started my evening sampling the Stuffed Apple appetizer. It is pulled pork mixed with their delicious signature red wine barbecue sauce and stuffed inside a mini baked apple. It was tender and very tasty. Next I sampled the house salad which consists of fresh spinach greens, avocado, bacon and roasted tomatoes, then tossed with a fantastic merlot dressing. The chef has created five dressings, all with a twist, to choose from: honey mustard, honey lime, sun-dried tomato, sweet garlic and the house signature merlot vinaigrette.
For an entrée, I had the center cut pork steak served with carrots, sweet potatoes and zucchini then drizzled on top with an incredible brandy apple wine sauce. The presentation was too pretty to cut into, but I managed, and wow it was very moist and flavorful. Be sure to save room for dessert as you haven’t had bread pudding until you tried Chef Nicholas’ raspberry and brandied cranberry bread pudding sprinkled with a reduced red wine. It was delicious!
I highly recommend the stuffed mushrooms, which are only served at Happy Hour. You might want to order two as you won’t want to share them. Indescribably delicious! Then try the popular grilled artichokes dusted with parmesan cheese, lemon, rosemary, white wine or the Twisted Bites which come in a variety of interesting bruchettas. Twisted Rose is also kid friendly with mac & cheese, burgers, grilled cheese sandwiches and bruchettas on the menu.
And, of course, you will want to pair your meal with some of the tasty wines they make at their winery and right in the restaurant’s wine cellar. The waiter was very helpful in making suggestions and describing the wines. I sipped a couple and they were very smooth, light and enjoyable. They can be purchased by the glass or bottle.
The lunch menu has a great selection of sandwiches that come with a choice of sides dishes. You can pick from their Ocean Spray award winning cole slaw with fresh diced apples and cranberries; mac & cheese with six different cheeses and applewood bacon; and feta bow tie pasta in a white sauce, all with Chef Nicholas signature “twist.” Whether you try out their daily $5 lunch specials or go to the Happy Hour and try either the Twisted Winetini’s or Twisted Martini’s, you are definitely in for a wonderful experience.
Where Memories Are Made
Crawford, explains, “It’s not just dining, it’s an experience, and taking care of the customer is our number one priority!” This is evident in the little details they include with your meal like warm bread with melted butter, parmesan and garlic that comes with each entrée and the complimentary glass of Dry Rosa. It’s their way of saying “thank you for choosing to dine with us.”
“We want to be the restaurant where memories are made,” says Crawford. “Our slogan, ’Creating memories with every sip of our wines’ is on the back of every Casa- vino’s wine bottle. And, that carries over to every bite of the delicious food served at Twisted Rose.”
The Final Twist
All the owners originated in Chicago, have different passions yet 30 years later life brings them together to fulfill their dream. Yes, a twisted bit of fate.
Happy Hour is from 4–7 p.m. and a wine Happy Hour from 1–7 p.m. with $5 wine specials.
Hours: Monday–Thursday 11 a.m.–9 p.m. | Friday–Saturday 11 a.m.–10 p.m. | Sunday 3 p.m.–9 p.m.