our story

Our Story

imageAs a quality beer and food enthusiast, it has always been a dream of mine to open my own gastropub concept in which the fare is as exceptional as – and complementary to – the beer selection.

The idea for Central Kitchen really started to take shape as I worked with The Phoenix Ale Brewery while I was the CEO of NYPD Pizza. I always wanted to create a beer that paired with one of the signature pies, but I didn’t want to simply white label another product.Knowing that it needed to be brewed from scratch, I approached Greg Fretz and George Hancock from The Phoenix Ale Brewery because I always enjoyed their beer and I believe that supporting local businesses is important. From there, things took off quickly and after numerous R&D sessions, NYPD Uptown Amber Ale was born. That small taste of success let me know that a true gastropub concept would be enjoyed by all in the Phoenix market.

Central Kitchen Brewery TeamBecause of our mutual respect, it was clear that a partnership with the late George Hancock from The Phoenix Ale Brewery to bring their brand to a hospitality setting was too good to pass up. George’s contributions to the Arizona craft beer industry cannot be measured.

Over the past four years, I had the great pleasure of working closely with him; George as the craft beer expert and myself as the craft food expert. It began in 2012 when we sought to pair the best local beer with the best local New York-style pizza. What started as a business relationship evolved into a true friendship. Without George’s encouragement and enthusiasm, opening Central Kitchen would not be a reality. His passion for creating craft beer complemented my passion for craft food. Thus the idea for The Phoenix Ale Brewery Central Kitchen was born.

At a time when beer drinkers are becoming more and more sophisticated, the Central Kitchen is committed to providing a culinary experience that rivals this expectation. Between Phoenix Ale’s terrific brews and our one-of-a-kind dishes, we are truly celebrating craft beer and food.

I can’t wait for you to experience it for yourself.


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Rich Stark