/ The Phoenix Traveler
Phoenix — By Heather Wright Schlichting on January 25, 2010 at 6:08 am
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Review: The Compound Grill – A Rock-n-Roll Café

Live music and Southwestern cuisine come together at the new Compound Grill in North Phoenix. Founded by the producers of the McDowell Mountain Music Festival,  The Compound Grill is a live music venue that offers fresh food selections, with the majority of ingredients coming from local, organic farms.

Situated in the Scottsdale/101 shopping area, The Compound Grill recently opened last November. I’ve been reading great things about the venue and I’m so happy that I finally tried it for lunch.

A recently renovated 8,000 square-foot space, the Compound has a great bar with large flat screen televisions showing videos of rock concerts. During our lunch, we were mesmerized by a recent Rolling Stones concert with Mick Jagger parading onstage for our entertainment.

The interior is warm with earth tone colors on the walls, soft lighting and a large stone fireplace with cushy furniture for relaxing. The space is open with the bar flowing into the main dining room. The main stage for musical acts is situated at the far end of the restaurant. There is also an outdoor patio with plenty of seating options. To keep in touch with the musical theme, photos and abstracts of Bob Marley, John Lennon, Jerry Garcia and other musical legends cover the walls.

Guacamole and homemade chips

The menu items include an array of Southwest “fresh” selections from street tacos and burritos to organic sandwiches, wraps and hearty pastas. Healthy options like fruit smoothies, an organic chicken burro and green room hummus round out the menu. I also noticed a southern bent to the menu selection with fried green tomatoes, Southern iced tea with Peach Schnapps and their take on the famous Hurricane punch from Pat O’Briens in New Orleans. Sure enough I later found out that one of the owner’s is from Louisiana.

We started off with fresh guacamole and hot, homemade chips. The guacamole was not very spicy and actually a little sweet. You could tell that the chips were fresh and right out of the oven, just how I like them.

My husband is a big fan of street tacos, so for his main course he ordered pulled pork, organic chicken and Mahi Mahi tacos. They come with your choice of corn or flour tortillas and paired with a fresh vegetable slaw of julienne carrots, zucchini and homemade salsa. He described them as authentic which for someone who grew up in Latin America is saying something.

Street tacos

Always on the quest for the perfect cheeseburger, their version features cheddar and Monterey jack cheese with a choice of griddle mash, sweet potato fries, French fries, and several types of vegetables. The top part of my bun was branded with a smiley face. What a cute touch.

A large selection of beer is on tap like Flying Dog Pale Ale, Moosedrool, Guinness, Smithwick’s and Green Lakes Organic Ale brewed in Bend, Oregon. They even have bottles and cans of Kirin, Sam Adams and Shiner Bock, to name a few. A large variety of tequilas including Don Julio, Patron and organic options Partida and 3 Amigos are available on their own and a main ingredient in their better margaritas and other specialty drinks.

Beignets with raspberry sauce

Another touch of Southern charm, we gobbled up the warm beignet bites for dessert. A New Orleans staple, beignets from the famed Café du Monde are a square piece of dough, fried and covered in powdered sugar. The Compound makes small, bite size beignets served with raspberry and dulce de leche sauces. Amazing!

According to John Largay, the owner of The Compound Grill and founder of the McDowell Mountain Music Festival he wanted to create a public venue that brings the elements of community, food and music together just like his music festival that this year is scheduled April 23-25 at an outdoor stage at the restaurant.

The Compound welcomes a variety of local and national musical acts including bluegrass, reggae, jazz and rock that perform five nights a week. I’m excited to return and hear a live band, a rarity in this part of town. For more information and to see a listing of upcoming musical performances, visit their site

Their goal is to provide a venue that merges great food, music and culture. By the look of the menu, the location and the line-up of bands, I think that the restaurant attracts an older crowd not as interested in a raucous atmosphere like the other late-night bars in nearby Scottsdale. The vibe is cool, yet relaxed with all the right ingredients to attract like-minded souls interested in good food and music.

The Compound Grill
7000 E. Mayo Blvd., Phoenix
Price range: $16-$25

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