X-Tapa Joe’s is back!!
North Scottsdale residents in the Scottsdale Road and Pinnacle Peak were surprised in February of this year when they headed out to dinner at one of their favorite neighborhood restaurants, X-Tapa Joe’s, and found the doors locked and the building dark. No one could explain why or where – it was just gone.
Last weekend, I drove by and saw a big sign saying “Grand Opening.” Needless to say, I was excited to see the restaurant back up and running. I returned to the area around 5:30PM and thought about stopping, when I realized the parking lot was filled and had extended into parking spaces for the other businesses in the complex. Rather than brave the crowds, I waited until Sunday night to go in for some of my favorite Mexican food.
What I found upon entering were familiar faces and a warm, sincere greeting. The hostess was overwhelmed with phone calls for reservations and yet gave me a welcoming smile. I was happy to be back.
As I sat eating my dinner in the bar area, I was amazed at all of the people coming in who warmly embraced the new hostess, servers and bartenders. My server, Steve, who was here when we started coming two years ago, tried to fill me in on the history and background of the closure. He invited Joe, the new General Manager to come over and sit down with me for a moment.
It seems the new General Manager, Joe Itule, and his wife, Linda, the hostess, was the original owners who opened X-Tapa Joe’s. Thus the “Joe”. They opened in 2002 and sold the restaurant 3 years ago to the previous owner. He and Linda were in semi-retirement when the owner of the space contacted them and asked if they would consider coming back to run the restaurant. I think it was a very good decision as word got out and on Opening Night folks happily waited 1 -2 hours to get a table. I didn’t know Joe and Linda from before, but they have added a new zing to the place that is palpable.
The menu is very similar to the previous one, with some new dishes added, and the cooks in the kitchen are mostly the same people Joe hired 7 years ago. My chicken enchilada entrée was delicious and I really enjoyed the “new” rice dish that accompanied my meal.
Even if you don’t live in the area, I’d strongly recommend you stop in for happy hour, or a full meal. There’s a large bar area and they specialize in margaritas – even “skinny” margaritas. All are made with the finest tequilas, of course. Their chips and salsa (complimentary) are so good you have to be careful you don’t fill up on them before your meal comes.
They are still refining the menu and looking to add more specials this fall and they are open for both lunch and dinner.
X-Tapa Joe’s Upscale Mexican Food
7500 E Pinnacle Peak Rd.
Scottsdale, AZ 85255
– On Pinnacle Peak Road between Miller and Scottsdale