Liberty Station – American Tavern and Smokehouse
If you haven’t already discovered the new restaurant in North Scottsdale, it’s easy to find. All you have to do is follow the tantalizing aroma of premium meats being smoked as they cook for hours at the Liberty Station – American Tavern and Smokehouse. Located on the southwest corner of North Scottsdale Road and the Carefree Highway, this is the third restaurant for the Keeler Hospitality Group. The first, Spencer’s for Steaks and Chops, is a popular steakhouse in Omaha, Nebraska and the second, Market Street Kitchen, is just down Pima Road at D.C. Ranch.
Dark reclaimed wood and artist photos create a modern, Old West atmosphere. The front patio and oversized bar are perfect for happy hour and socializing. Community tables and booths add to the warm, relaxing ambiance throughout the restaurant.
Owner Paul Keeler has been in the hospitality industry for a number of years and definitely took good notes on what it takes to have a successful establishment.
“We don’t want to be mediocre; we want to strive to be the best,” Keeler says.
Keeler and his son, Matt, director of operations, have included all the key ingredients to create an atmosphere that serves delicious food and a wide selection of spirits. They have created a venue that accommodates friends for lunch, guys meeting to watch a game, a happy hour gathering after work or family and friends coming in for a bite. Only open a few months, Keeler and his landlord, Whitestone REIT, have successfully collaborated on two restaurants now. Hopefully, there are more to come!
Executive chef Michael Hunn, from Market Street, and chef de cuisine Dan Watts, who was transplanted from Spencer’s, have created some wonderful American comfort foods with a Southwest flair and sprinkles of Boston favorites, in honor of Keeler’s roots. Watts also is the pitmaster overseeing the operations of the custom-made 500-gallon Camelback Smoker that uses both oak and pecan wood. The smoker is in full view, off the secluded west patio.
The lunch and dinner menus offer up many wonderful choices. For the Easterners there is New England clam chowder, Boston baked beans and authentic lobster rolls served on buttered split rolls. If you are a seafood lover, the lobster rolls are a must. And, every man will want to belly up to the bar or table and enjoy some mouthwatering entrees. Selections from the smoker include Texas brisket, which cooks for eight-plus hours and rests another eight; Carolina pork shoulder served with Carolina barbecue sauce that’s mild to complement the meat and not mask the flavor; and a slab of St. Louis spare ribs. Each dish comes with a choice of two side selections: honey butter cornbread, coleslaw, house salad, macaroni and cheese, Boston baked beans, sweet potato fries or barbecue-dusted house chips. Also from the smoker are the honey nut squash “ribs” with a barbecue seasoning rub.
I recommend the Tavern BBQ Platter that comes with Texas brisket, Carolina pork shoulder and St. Louis spare ribs. I thoroughly enjoyed these and haven’t stopped talking about how tender, moist and delicious they were. It is definitely enough to share, and it will be difficult to decide which you enjoyed more.
The lunch menu selections also include a variety of sandwiches, burgers, soups and salads. Shareables include fish tacos, pulled pork tacos, green chili pork stew, firecracker shrimp, smoked chicken wings and drunken PEI mussels. For dinner, entrée selections include seafood dishes, plus chicken, meatloaf, pork chops, short ribs, filet, New York strip and pasta primavera. If you have room left for desserts, you won’t want to pass up their signature dessert, Pati’s rum cake. Other desserts include rye bread pudding, double chocolate cake, apple crumble cheesecake and assorted gelato flavors.
Your children will love the $6 Lil’ Kids menu with choices of buttered noodles with parmesan cheese, big kid cheeseburger with fries, a grilled cheese sandwich with fries and chicken tenders with ranch dressing and fries.
Liberty Station definitely is a fun neighborhood social house for any occasion. There’s a number of enticing upscale craft cocktails, local craft beers and an assortment of popular wines, that round off the bar selections and add to your dining enjoyment.
Don’t forget to make your reservations early so you can treat dad to a Father’s Day meal he won’t forget!
34522 N. Scottsdale Road, Suite 180
Scottsdale, AZ 85266